Germany 2

Ronald Gilbert Brelsford

February 11, 1936 ~ June 8, 2021 (age 85)

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Ronald Brelsford, 85, of Columbia passed peacefully at home on June 8, 2021.

The first-born to Charles and Lura Brelsford, Ron arrived during a snowstorm in the winter of 1936. Ever the protective big brother, he doted on his two younger sisters, Kathleen and Barbara. He spent his formative years in Ohio and graduated from Springfield High School.

He received an undergraduate degree in History from The College of Wooster where he was a member of Delta Phi Alpha, the National German Honorary Society, and later earned his Master of Arts in German from the University of Iowa. Ronald enlisted in the U.S. Army as both active duty and a reservist, and fondly recounted his many adventures during his service including a cross-country drive in his tiny Volkswagen Beetle to attend the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. His passport was stamped for the first time when he was stationed in Germany; there, he observed construction of the Berlin Wall and his wanderlust was sparked.

After graduate school and the Army Reserve, Ron worked at the National Security Agency for over 30 years. Marrying his language and people skills with his love of travel, a position in international diplomacy was the perfect fit, and his government career took him, along with his family, around the globe. After retirement from the civil service, he returned to the workforce for another decade as a contractor at SAIC. He is well-remembered for his diverse hobbies such as genealogy, clock collecting, and photography.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Lura, and sister Kathleen. He is survived by his wife of 43 years Carolyn, sister Barbara, five children: Heidi, Jonathan, Megan, Rachel, and Katie, and eight grandchildren: Emma, Joshua, Colin, Owen, Hannah, Claudia, Dylan, and Logan.

In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Ronald with a memorial contribution to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, ATTN: Gift Processing, 6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis, MD 21403, with “in memory of Ronald Brelsford” noted in the memo field. Donations are also accepted over the phone at 443.482.2189, or online at

For planning purposes, if you will be present at the memorial service please email with the names and number of attendees. 

To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ronald Gilbert Brelsford, please visit our tribute store.


Memorial Service
June 26, 2021

1:00 PM
St. John s Episcopal Church (Ellicott City)


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