Ronald L. Hartman

Ronald L. Hartman, 73, of Laramie, died, Saturday, June 30, 2018 at Hospice of Laramie. He was born February 11, 1945 in LaPorte, Indiana to Rudolph and Helen Tate Hartman.  Ron grew up in Warsaw, Illinois, along the Mississippi River and he and his brother, David, built and manned a “Tom Sawyer raft of logs” to float the Mississippi before he graduated high school.  Ron and David also spent summers on the family farm near Akron, Ohio, with their cousins. Ron was fortunate to travel with his family to every state in the union before he turned 18. Ron was an active Eagle Scout and spent his summers between college leading the Boy Scouts treks at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Ron was also active with his son, Jakota, in Cub Scouts and Laramie Boy Scout Troop #137.

Ron’s first two years of college were spent at Sterling College in Kansas, then he transferred to Western Illinois University, graduating with his Bachelors of Science. He returned to Laramie to complete his MS in Botany with C.L. Porter from the University of Wyoming. He earned his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas, Austin, and his postdoctoral fellow from Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

Ron spent 38 years as Curator of Rocky Mountain Herbarium and Professor of Botany at the University of Wyoming, having 52 graduate students over his career. Botany and his colleagues were always his first love. He has been honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Native Plant Society (2010), the certificate of Dedication of the “Ronald L. Hartman Excellence in Wyoming Botany” by the Wyoming Native Plant Society (2015), the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (2016), and the Wyoming Biodiversity Science Award (2017) for his lifetime of work.  Ron also earned Emeritus Professor status upon his retirement from the University of Wyoming and continued volunteering his time in the Rocky Mountain Herbarium daily. During his years as a botanist, he authored and co-authored many plant taxonomy publications and contributed several treatments to the Flora of North America volumes, the Intermountain Flora, and the Jepson manual, with 2 genus (Elaphandra and Hartmaniella) and 2 species (Hartmaniella sierra and Hartmaniella oxyphylla) named for him.

He is preceded in death by his parents, aunts, uncles, and some cousins.  He is survived by his wife of 30 years, T.J. Poll of Laramie; his son, Jakota Hartman of Laramie; his brother, David Hartman (Judyann) of Thornton, Colorado; his nephew, Michael Hartman (Linda) of Broomfield, Colorado, and their children, Aiden and Mia; his niece Jennifer Wojniak (Joe) of Longmont, Colorado and their children, Katelyn, Grayce, and Abigayl.

Ron was donated to Science to further the research of Pancreatic Cancer and Parkinson’s Disease (PD).  He challenged the (PD) diagnosis 3 ½ years ago by continuing his power walking all over Laramie and fought the progression of the disease by participating in the Rock Steady Boxing Program at the Eppson Center. He was then diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer 2 ½ months ago which took his life.

A private family service will be held later this summer.

Memorial contributions may be made in Ronald L. Hartman’s name to the Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies at www.parkinsonrockies.orgs

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Condolences (15)

  • Richard Michel

    TJ and Jackota, So sorry to hear of Ron's passing. I know how much he loved you both. Thinking of you both. -Dick Michel

  • Jeanne Van Heule

    Dearest TJ and family, We are so very sorry for your loss. We are holding you in prayer. In Christ's love, Jeanne and John Van Heule

  • Janet Bala

    Dear T.J. and Family: Please accept our sincere condolences on your loss; from Rick Williams and Janet Bala at the Ray J Davis herbarium, Idaho Museum of Natural History, Pocatello, Idaho. Ron was a great colleague and a great Botanist and he will be missed in the taxonomy world. He made so many great contributions to the flora of the west and many in Idaho.

  • Loraine Yeatts

    It is sad to realize that another botanical giant is is no longer with us. Ron's contributions to the documentation of the regional flora and plant ranges is immeasurable. I had the pleasure knowing him through workshops he presented for the Colorado Native Plant society. He was a skilled and inspiring teacher who mentored many students and amateur botanists, like myself, and a tough physical specimen who always appeared at our winter workshops in shorts. His presence lives on in all those he inspired. Thanks, Ron and may the flowers be with you!

  • Michael Kirkpatrick

    Just before I started my floristics project, I informed Ron of two things that I feared might disqualify me from the program: I had some color deficiency, which could have posed challenges to plant surveys and identification, and I had about a 5o/50 chance of finishing the program in consecutive years due to family medical issues. Ron hardly blinked an eye at these concerns and enrolled me in what would be one of the great formative experiences of my life and career. In Ron's way of seeing, if a person had the motivation to learn and contribute, they deserved a chance. After I finished the program, Ron was a critical reference for what would be my first career botany job, and while supportive, he refused to pick sides among the two (!) of his recent graduates who were in the running. Again, he was fair. He remained a friend and inspiration for years to come, encouraging and sharp-witted, even throughout his later struggles. His loss reverberates throughout the scientific and academic communities. My deepest condolences to TJ, Jakota (Jack), and David for the loss of such an estimable scholar and man. He was one of a kind.

  • Hollis Marriott

    I've known Ron since 1978, when I contacted him about a milkweed not previously reported for Wyoming. I became his grad student in 1982 and then a colleague, but the most important thing to me during all those years was our friendship. I'm pretty sure that when I think about Ron in the future, what will come to mind won't be the running, rock climbing and crazy parties of our youth, or even botany, but rather his extraordinary determination in the face of Parkinson's, manifested in exercise and herbarium projects. What a great role model!

  • David G. Anderson

    Ron was such a generous and helpful person. He always welcomed me and our staff when we visited the Herbarium to glean information from the wonderful collection he curated. His efforts to discover the flora of our state and of other places around the West has been a great contribution to science and to conservation. What incredible energy he brought to discovery and to documenting our botanical wonders! He led an incredible life and leaves a remarkable legacy. I feel so lucky to have known him.

  • Arnold Willems

    What a great running companion during the good old days! Did many 20 mile training runs together and competed in races. What a great friend!

  • Wyoming Public Radio/Media

    July 9, 2019: The Staff of Wyoming Public Radio send you and your family condolences in the death of Ron Hartman. We are certain he will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched. His support of WPR is is much appreciated. Cindy Elrod Broadcast Assistant

  • Neil Snow

    Dear T.J. and Family: My condolences on your loss; your grief is shared among the many botanists that knew Ron as well. Ron was a great mentor for my MS degree at U of WY and made so many important contributions to North American botany. I carry many fun memories doing fieldwork with him in WY and NM. He'll be sorely missed.

  • John Connors

    When I heard the news of Ron’s death, the vision of this gentle smile, krept into my mind. I knew Ron in the 80’s when the winters were particularly cold. Ron enjoyed running when it was soocold, ones eye lashes would be covered with thick frost. Ruddy cheeks , firm fast snow, hoping to find a jack rabbit to chase! In the 80’s they had what was called the Pilot Hill Run.( a gentle affair from Laramie to Pilot Hill and a exciting return to town . As I recall we passed one another countless times. And to this day, I’m not sure who was ahead at the finish. I remember the smiles and cold beer at the end. Someday I want to return Laramie and slowly run up to Pilot Hill and try and recall all those memories. Ron lead a remarkable life. John Connors

    • Anonymous

      Hello John, I am currently working on preparing to ask friends and colleagues of Ron's to donate to the Pilot Hill Project in his honor. I am not sure if you live here in Laramie or not, but if not, the Pilot Hill Project is an attempt by Albany County to purchase Pilot Hill along with 5,500 acres of land for public access and recreation. I would love to include some stories from the Pilot Hill runs, if you have any. TJ told me that when they first met at The Cowboy, Ron told her he had to run that race on Saturday, but would love to meet up and talk more with her afterwards. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Ron while he was still at the Medical Center of the Rockies. I am working on the Pilot Hill Project and Ron was wondering how it was going. When I told him the good news that it looks like a land swap will cover the bulk of the purchase price, his face contorted with emotion. I cried.

  • Deb Formento

    TJ, I am so sorry for your loss. May your memories and faith get you through this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Thomas M Zennie

    Ron was such a nice sweet gentle soul sorry to see him go I always knew him as a smart and intelligent researcher good ideas. I was a graduate student before he became the director of herbarium and we knew that they are very much in good hands when he came. RIP Ron

  • Mike and Marie McClure

    Ron was such a pleasant and inspiring person. His power walking even in the most unpleasant weather was to be admired. He always had a smile and pleasant jester for everyone. Ron you will be missed by all and I was privileged to know you and your family.