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Old 03-30-2009, 08:38 AM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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Capt Ronald Byron Luther USMC (ret), 76, Newport Beach, CA

Ronald Byron Luther, a medical device inventor and retired U.S. Marine pilot, died Monday, at his home in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 76 and had been in declining health for some time. Mr. Luther was a native of Brookfield, Missouri. After graduating from the University of Missouri, he joined the Marine Corps and went through pilot training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida. Capt. Luther flew photographic reconnaissance missions over Cuba and helped gather intelligence about Russian military actions on the Caribbean Island in advance of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was discharged from the Marines due to injuries he received in a crash of his F-8 Crusader jet during a night landing on the U.S.S. Independence on March 2, 1962. After leaving the military, Luther returned to Brookfield and became Vice President of the Lucky Tiger medical products company. He spent five years in that position and then moved to Milledgeville, Ga., as general manager of the McGraw division of American Hospital Supply Corp. In 1971, he moved to Mexico City for three years as American Hospital's vice president there. He was transferred to London and return to the United States in 1975. He moved to Newport Beach and began his career of owning and starting companies based on his inventions. His first company was based on his design of blood oxygenators for open-heart surgery. But his biggest contribution came later when he invented his first "break-away catheter," contributing to a revolution in the catheter industry and patient comfort. In 1979, he founded Luther Medical productions, which produced and distributed a line of unique catheters which he invented and patented. During the next 30 years, Mr. Luther patented more than 120 inventions, most of which were related to catheters. Mr. Luther was an avid golfer and was a long-time member of the Mission Viejo Country Club. He was also a member for the Grand Masonic Lodge of Brookfield, Missouri. He was an active hunter, who returned regularly to Missouri for an annual goose hunting trip. He also continued to fly privately and owned and flew a number of airplanes. He was a competitive aerobatics pilot and a member of the Confederate Air Force. He was also a member of the Santa Ana Hangar of the Quiet Birdmen. Ron held the North American goat-roping championship for north-slope goats and was also an amateur bullfighter. In addition, he was active in Republican causes and had run for the state legislature in Missouri. Survivors include three daughters and four grand-children. His daughter, Bridgett Luther, and her husband, Tim Ahern, live in San Francisco. Cynthia Luther lives in Aurora, Colorado, with her partner, Kathy Doiel. His youngest daughter, Amy Thurston, and her husband, Ray Thurston, live in Paradise Valley, Arizona. His grandchildren are Kalle Thompson, of Ensenada, Mexico; Trevor Thompson, of Charlotte, N.C.; Wyatt and Matthew Thurston, of Paradise Valley, Arizona. Barbara Luther, Mr. Luther's wife of 47 years, died in January, 2003. A service will be held on Friday, April 24th at Fort Rosecrans Military Cemetery in San Diego, with a reception to follow at the family home in Newport Beach. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the National Naval Air Museum, 1750 Radford Blvd., Ste C, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., 32508, or the Brookfield Historical Society, c/o of Dr. Wade Watts, 16 Glenhaven Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, 63122.

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