Ronald Joseph Liechti

1964 – 2023

Ronald Liechti was born in the summer of 1964 to Stewart and Dolores Liechti in a suburb of Chicago. Stew was a school principal and trumpet player and Dolores was a nurse. Growing up, Ron played drums, a lifelong passion. After attending Northern Illinois University and earning a CPA, he moved with first wife Barbara to California where their son was born.  After that union dissolved, he remained an active and engaged father.  He embraced the California lifestyle, yet kept his strong midwestern values.

Dashing and jovial, he met Danae at an improv dance group. He visited her boutique across from the Courthouse. Sometimes they put on music and danced in the shop.  Walking on the beach he revealed his poetic mind and soulful spirit. Later he introduced her to Lincoln, his young boy from the previous marriage. Danae invited Ron to a sunrise ceremony on the ocean bluff where he first met her parents. The couple went biking and hiked to hot springs, watched sunsets and shooting stars, explored Topanga Canyon, and enjoyed Italian cuisine. 

Ron and Danae were married May 15, 2004 at the Unitarian Church in a solemn and joyous wedding officiated by Rev. Susan McIntire. A year later their daughter Kaila Rae was born, joining her brother Lincoln in the family. They took trips to Montana de Oro, the redwoods, Oregon, Arizona, and Illinois.  

Ron became Business Manager of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, entrusted with the budget, acquiring equipment, and reporting to the City Council. He was elected president of AFSS, a statewide fire association, and later ran for City College Trustee. He was a public servant for 25 years.

Ron was a drummer in the Spirit Pulse Praise Band, and played the cajon in Down Mountain Lights, Larry and the Groove, and Fiddlin’ Dave’s Band. He drummed with the ukelele group at the harbor and played at Stowe House and Cold Spring Tavern. He was a longtime member of a men’s group. Ron liked grilling, camping, disk golf, and spontaneous day trips.

Ron’s death came after a long, hardfought battle with cancer. Danae cared for him at home with great devotion. Near the end, friends brought food, flowers, and music. The ukelele group serenaded Ron on the patio and others played the guitar and violin. Soon Ron’s parents, sisters, and brothers arrived.

Ron’s last week was at Serenity House, overlooking the city he served for so many years. Family from near and far gathered to say good-bye and there was laughter along with tears.  In the evening of July 6, 2023, Ron died peacefully in his sleep with Danae, Lincoln and Kaila at his bedside, giving him comfort.

 On July 18, 2023, the City Council formally adjourned in “honor and fond memory” of Ron and his “longstanding, dedicated service as a respected member of the Fire Department.” 

Ron is survived by his loving wife Danae Michele Liechti, son Lincoln (Maddie) and daughter Kaila “Koi” Liechti. He is also remembered with love by his mother Dolores Kral Schark, his father and stepmother, Stew and Sue Liechti, siblings Steve and Fred Liechti, Beth Johnson, Nancy McDonal and their spouses, step-brother Mark Schark, step-sister Karen Eberhardt, in-laws Anna Campbell, Heather Campbell-Unterman and Bernard Unterman, and many more family and friends.

Ron will be dearly missed. His memorial will be at Goleta Presbyterian Church, 6067 Shirrel Way, Saturday, Sept. 16, at 11:00, led by Rev. Jim Pazan with Rev. Susan McIntire, followed by a potluck and music.       



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