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Dr. Ronald L. Markwood

May 2, 1934 ~ March 16, 2018 (age 83)

Ronald Lee Markwood 83, of 215 South Juliana Street, Bedford, went on to be with his Lord, Savior and Ultimate Healer on Friday, March 16, 2018.  Following a lengthy illness, he passed on to his Heavenly reward in his beloved home.  Ron was born on May 2, 1934 in Akron, Ohio. He was the youngest son of the late Glenn and Floribel (Gray) Markwood.  On June 28, 1958 at the Bedford United Methodist Church, he married his high school sweetheart, Betty Ann Barnhart who preceded him in death on December 19, 2009. His parents, a brother, Robert, and sister, Norma, also preceded him in death. He is survived by two daughters: Elyse Ann Murphy and husband Dennis, of Bedford, Angela Lynn Huey and husband Don, of Indiana, Pa.; four grandchildren: Heather (Murphy) Thomas and husband Elliot of New Cumberland, PA, Aubrie (Murphy) Weaver and husband, Luke of Mechanicsburg, PA; Brittany (Logsdon) Constant and husband John of Roanoke, TX, Luke Logsdon and wife, Cristina of Fort Myers, FL; three great grandchildren, Gianna, Harvey, and Arabella Constant; a sister-in-law, Carolyn Barnhart; brother-in-law, Jack Single; his devoted office and then house manager to the very end, Jill Growden; very special friend, Lee Griffiths; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. 

In his final years, Ron and his entire family were very blessed with wonderful caregivers and Grane Hospice workers including Dana, Darla, Darlene, Jill, Julie, Melanie, Michelle, Mindy, Sheila, Shelly, and Wanda. They were each like precious family members to him, faithful to the very end. Dr. Markwood was a 1952 graduate of Bedford High School, a 1954 graduate of Penn State’s Pre-Professional Degree Program and a 1958 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. In the summer of 1958, Ron was asked by the Fort Bedford Commission to draw plans for a blockhouse style museum for the Fort’s Bicentennial Celebration.  Dr. Markwood then supervised the museum’s construction and built a 12-foot by 12-foot central display model replica of the original 1758 fort. Over the years, his model building included a touring exhibit of the Bedford Springs, which was taken to travel shows around the country and an architectural model of the proposed over-the-city bridge for the city of Cumberland, Md.   That model proved instrumental in gaining public acceptance of the project. Dr. Markwood’s final model was of a proposed streetscape for D.B.I. to beautify the Richard Street entrance to Bedford.  It had miniature replicas of Pitt Street storefronts and was designed to show where the original Fort Bedford wall would be located in relation to the current business locations. That model is currently housed in the Bedford County Historical Society. In September 1958, he received his commission as an Optometric Officer in the Medical Service Corp, stationed at the Army hospital at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina.  While there, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was placed in charge of the largest Eye Clinic in the US Army, examining the eyes of countless future Vietnam soldiers.  During his first year in the Army, Ron invented and patented a series of ophthalmic instruments, which he sold to Shuron Optical Company, a division of Testron.  At that time, he became the Director of Instrument Design and Research for Shuron. The revolutionary design of the instruments so obsoleted the equipment being produced at that time that the entire ophthalmic industry was forced to redesign to meet the competition. After a three-year tour in the Army, he returned to Bedford in 1961 and purchased the old Juliana Lodge, also known as the Solomon Filler mansion, a 140-year-old landmark. He personally redesigned and supervised the restoration to hold his new office, home and two apartments. The office that he designed incorporated his own optometric equipment inventions and was considered one of the most unique in the country, drawing doctors from all over the U.S. to see it. In 1961, the Juliana Street private optometric practice was officially opened.  Ron practiced Optometry in Bedford for fifty-three years until his stroke in March of 2014. Dr. Markwood spent many happy hours in various creative and inventive pursuits. In the early 1970’s, Ron was the chairman of the Bedford Development Council’s Restoration Committee, organized to redesign the storefronts in downtown Bedford.  He helped in the design work, planning and initiation phase.  Much of Bedford’s downtown streetscape today is still based on his original vision. Mechanical engineering was also a big fascination to Ron. He patented a vertiplane, built a six wheel all terrain vehicle, built his own four-seat airplane. That BD-4 homebuilt kit plane won many trophies at air shows across the country, due, in part, to his own adaptations and redesign elements to the plane. Prior to his stroke, Ron was in the process of completing his own flying car invention.  Through the years, Dr. Markwood served on numerous community boards including the Bedford County Airport Authority Board, the Historical Society, The Old Bedford Village Board, Downtown Bedford Inc’s Board and was on the Fort Bedford Museum Committee. While on the D.B.I. Board, he helped to organize the archaeological search for the original Fort Bedford site. Dr. Markwood supervised all five digs and his research was utilized in the actual finding of the fort. He then organized the creation of a sixty-foot picket wall replica and served as a frequent speaker at Fort Bedford. Beginning in 1971, Dr. Markwood was a faithful 43-year member of the Bedford Area School District School. Serving on the board was one of his greatest life joys. He tied for the third longest serving board member in the state of Pennsylvania. He served as a Pennsylvania School Boards Association representative on the Regional Cabinet for 18 years. Since its inception in 1982, Ron also served on the Bedford County Technical Center’s Joint Operating Committee.  Dr. Markwood was a member of the Bedford United Methodist church for over sixty years.  He served on every church committee at least once, was Lay Leader for twelve years and led an interdenominational bible study and Sunday School for over thirty years.  For the Central Pennsylvania United Methodist Conference, he served as a certified Lay Speaker for over twenty-five years.  Of all that he was able to accomplish, Ron’s greatest life achievement came on November 17, 1971 when he dedicated his life to the Lord. His teachings on “the love walk,” “the sufferings of Christ” and “the power of the Holy Spirit” opened up many speaking invitations in churches all around Bedford County. In his final days, his Spirit filled life made him the most kind and gracious of patients, consistently saying thank you and please, even in the most painful and disorienting times.   Dr. Markwood will be remembered fondly as a devout Christian, devoted husband, loving father, caring grandfather, who was loved and respected by many.  He will be dearly missed.

Friends will be received at the Timothy A. Berkebile Funeral Home in Bedford on Sunday, March 18, 2018 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. The Funeral Service will be held on Monday, March 19, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Bedford United Methodist Church with Rev. Jeffrey Welsch officiating.  On Monday morning, friends may also visit with the family one-hour prior to the service at the church.  The online guest book is available at www.berkebilefuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bedford United Methodist Church, 132 East John Street, Bedford, PA or to The Bedford Heritage Trust, earmarked for the Fort Bedford Museum, P.O. Box 240, Bedford, PA.

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