Ronald Alan Hitchcock
Dec 22, 1942 - Jan 17, 2019
Well known Autopilot specialist and founder of Executive AutoPilots, Inc., Ronald A. Hitchcock passed away at age 76 on January 17, 2019 at his home in Sacramento, California.
He was born in 1942 in San Antonio, Texas, during a stop-over on his way to Alaska. His father was Paul Vernon Hitchcock, and his mother was Virginia Branson. He lived in Alaska and attended Anchorage High School. He continued in school and learned electronics and avionics. He set up the first Avionics Shop in Anchorage with the help of the FAA inspector.
He married Sharon Jean Rohn. They had two daughters, Dawn and Tamara. They divorced in 1968.
In 1964, after the great Good Friday Alaskan Earthquake, he moved to San Francisco where he continued his career at Tower Aviation at Oakland International airport until 1990.
He then married Caroline Elaine Newell in Sacramento. They had two sons, Jason and Brian Hitchcock. Elaine passed away in 1989.
He then married Carolyn Wilde Baldwin in 1990 in Pleasanton, California. They moved back to Sacramento where he worked at Patterson Aviation for 5 years. He also worked at The Gyro House in Auburn for a brief time.
In 1995, Ron and Carolyn started their own company and called it Executive AutoPilots, Inc. They built a new hangar at Executive Airport in 2003, and ran a successful business for over 20 years. He not only repaired legacy autopilots, but his team of technicians installed the latest in avionics and “glass cockpit” technology in general aviation aircraft. His most famous project was a complete upgrade to all Garmin avionics in an Alpha Jet.
Ron was a member of the Aircraft Electronics Association from 1996 to 2015. They attended all the regional and national conventions during that time.
Ron was also a devout sailor. He owned many Catalina sail boats including Journeys Start (25’), and Slow Dancer (25’). He also owned one Catalina 30 and three Catalina 22’s. Ron and Carolyn were active in the Catalina 22 Fleet 4 Yacht Club at Folsom Lake where they held all the club offices over the years. They charted sailboats for trips to Belize and The British Virgin Islands with the club.
After retirement, he enjoyed touring in his 5th Wheel and later in his motor home. They took the 5th Wheel to Alaska to see his daughters. They took the motor home across country to Bar Harbor, Main, visiting Gettysburg and all point in between. It took 70 days.
He is survived by his wife Carolyn Hitchcock, his sister Valorie Guilleland, and his brothers Paul Vernon and Dana; and, his two sons Jason (Erin) Hitchcock and Brian (Missi) Hitchcock and his two daughters Dawn Heys and Tamara Vaught.
Ron loved his grandchildren Christian, and Madison, Sonya and Olivia in Sacramento, as well as his grandchildren in Alaska, Samantha, Tabatha, Jeremy, Jessica, Jennifer, Joseph; Ashley, Amber, Aidan, Alexis. He has 7 great grandchildren.
Interment will be at East Lawn, 4300 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, CA. See his profile at www.eastlawn.com.
A Celebration of Life will be held February 23, 2019 at Ron’s hanger Executive AutoPilots at 5839 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95822, from 11 am
to 3 pm.
Contributions to the American Diabetes Association or the American Cancer Society would be appreciated.