Colonel Ronald “Ron” W. Brass

August 18, 1937 - January 17, 2023
Colonel Ronald “Ron” W. Brass

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Colonel Ronald “Ron” William Brass passed away peacefully at his home with his wife by his side in Flat Rock, North Carolina on Tuesday morning, January 17, 2023.

Col. Brass was born August 18, 1937, in Manhattan, New York to the late William and Renee (Stailing). He graduated from Mineola High School in 1955 as class valedictorian and went on to attend The United States Military Academy, West Point where he graduated in 1959. Subsequently, he served as aviation officer in Germany before returning to the states to complete his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1966. In Belton, Tx on November 22, 1972, he married his loving wife of 50 years, the former Opal Ann Farmer.

Col. Brass continued to serve as an Army officer for 26 years. Included in those years of service were a tour in Vietnam, two tours in Korea, an assistant professor role at West Point in the Civil Engineering department and advisory roles within the Army providing guidance and leadership on a myriad of engineering projects. Col. Brass retired from active duty in 1984 and proceeded to further utilize his extensive engineering knowledge in the civilian arena. He started an engineering management consultation business which was contracted to develop a Master’s engineering program for State University of New York (SUNY-Buffalo) and the engineering programs for Mercer University and Asheville/Buncombe Technical College.  In addition, he served as a professor for many of the classes he developed at Asheville/Buncombe Technical College until his retirement in 2004. In retirement, his attention shifted towards his children, grandchildren, traveling, hiking, and golfing. He was a former member of Skyland United Methodist Church and an active member of the West Point Society of western North Carolina and the Hendersonville University Club. He supported numerous charities over the years that were dear to him.

His family remembers him fondly for his love of food, his generous nature, endless war stories, boisterous presence, and most importantly, his curious nature. Col. Brass was always thirsty for knowledge and actively expanded his horizons. From archeology to genealogy to any other obscure area of interest, he committed his time and energy to expanding his knowledge and skillsets to be the best version of himself. He served as an example to his many friends and family of the rewards life bestows upon you when you dedicate yourself to your craft and self-improvement.

Col. Brass leaves behind to cherish his memory his loving wife, Opal Ann Brass; his devoted children, Patricia Anne Bohn and her husband, Robert of Atlanta, GA, Steven Lynn Goodwin and his wife, Sandy of Scroggins, Tx, Cynthia Diane Alexander and her husband, Ronnie of Shreveport, LA and Kathryn Brass Doki of Scottsdale, Az; his grandchildren, Jessica Banner, Mallory Taylor and her husband, Zachary, Elizabeth Christopherson, Kyle Bohn and his wife, Ilana, Michael Bohn, and his wife, Sarah, Alison Soeder and her husband, Jeremy, Ashleigh Udick and her husband, Eric, Weston Steelhammer and his wife, Katelynn, and Reid Goodwin; and 9 great-grandchildren. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his twin brother, Donald W. Brass.

A service to celebrate Col. Brass’s life will be two o’clock Saturday afternoon, January 21, 2023 in the Shuler Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Brent Thomas officiating.  The family will receive guests from 1:00 to 1:45 pm EST in the funeral home chapel.

Memorial contributions may be offered on behalf of Col. Brass to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Ron or “The Colonel” as he was affectionately known will forever be missed by his loving and devoted wife, Opal, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many close friends.

May God Grant Him Eternal Rest.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 21, 2023
2:00 PM

Kirby Memorial Chapel of Shuler Funeral Home - Directions
125 Orrs Camp Road
Hendersonville, NC 28792

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  • March 31, 2023
    Ellen Englander Bartick says:
    Ron and I met at Mineola High School when we were 15 years old and remained good friends ever since. Our parents became good friends as well Spent many weekends at West Point and also attended graduation ceremony with his parents. He will be missed by all who loved him.

  • March 25, 2023
    drains says:

  • March 15, 2023
    B T says:
    I was so sad to hear the good Colonel passed away. He was a truly remarkable man - I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend around him, even though it was relatively brief. He was always generous and welcoming, and had a million great stories. Truly, a life well lived. My best wishes to Opal, Katy, and the rest of his family.

  • January 23, 2023
    Mark Crawford says:
    From all that I have known and learned, Ron Brass was a true gentleman, excellent Army Officer, wonderful husband and father, and in my personal context, a solid friend. This is harder still to write and share, since I did not learn of his passing until two days after the memorial service, so I've missed out on being able to even be present to honor him there. For so many years, as the West Point Society of Western North Carolina would hold its various events, I would always look forward to seeing and catching up with Ron and Opal. Unfortunately, I was often not as active as I might otherwise have been, and therefore missed out on many more activities to renew the friendship. Ron will very much be missed from among us. As for the remaining family, I wish for you, GOD's peace, which passes all understanding, during this time of loss. GOD bless!!!! - (Former) Representative Mark Crawford

  • January 23, 2023
    Mark Crawford says:
    I know that the Brass family has, indeed, lost a special friend, father, husband and gentleman, and I am so sorry in his passing. For so many years, I could always count on seeing him and Opal at the West Point Society of WNC Founder's Day Activities, and periodically at various other events. On all those occasions, he was always very welcoming, and it was simply a joy to once again catch up and renew our acquaintanceship. Although I was far less active in the Society than I might have been, thus limiting occasions to be together, I always looked forward to seeing him and Opal. I am so sorry to learn of his passing, but wish for his family all of GOD's peace, which passes all understanding, during this time of loss. He will be missed! - (Former) Representative Mark Crawford