Ronald McKey

Ronald G. McKey

1943 - 2024

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Obituary of Ronald G. McKey

Ron was born in San Francisco, California to Lloyd Mitchel Mckey of Tetta Haute, Indiana and Laura Gilman McKey of Medford, Oregon.


Ron grew up with one older step brother, Rodney who passed away a few years ago and is survived by a younger brother, Dan as well as a step brother, John Engeli and step sister, Debby Engeli Little


In Medford, Oregon Ron attended Crater Highschool, loved theater & drama, graduated with good grades in 1961, and then for one year attended Southern Oregon College in Ashland, Oregon.  His major was Business Administration – which would not surprise anyone who knows him.  Ron liked to be in charge!  But he also had a wanderlust.


So, Ron joined the Airforce in September of 1962 and spent 4 years as a Radio Repair Man with

time also spent in Viet Nam where, according to Ron, he was exposed to “Agent Orange”.  After an Honorable Discharge Ron resumed his studies at Southern Oregon College and graduated

with a BA in Business Administration in 1969.


Although sometimes Ron talked fondly of boyhood memories in the apple orchards of Oregon, he wanted new vistas and relocated to Miami, Florida where he became very successful as a retailer of bedding materials.  Not much detail is known about this period of the 70s in Ron’s life, except as Ron has bragged about his exploits and adventures, including his love of picking up girls in his ’59 Chevy convertible. There was also a brief stint in Reno, Nevada at the same business skill with the same type of products – and the same adventuresome, fun-loving Ron.


Now to Denver, where Ron moved in 1980 with his sheets, pillow cases and mattresses, connecting with Cliff Friend & Raintree Furniture.  They, together, maintained a factory on north Blake Street in Denver.  A while afterward, Ron bought-out Cliff Friend. Ron first registered his new company as “Colorado Resort Furniture”.


There he specialized in wood case goods until he got a contract with Fitzgerald Hotel and casino

in Blackhawk, Colorado. While doing that, he was asked to also make some beds. That got him back close to his roots in bedding and lead him to eventually close Colorado Resort Furniture and form FlyingBeds, which specialized in Wall Beds (Murphy Beds). He would then run that company for another twenty years, starting in 2001, moving to the 4800 location on North Garfield Street in Denver.


Ron wanted to aggressively market FlyingBeds and the internet had not yet become what it is now, so he based his marketing on a book titled “Guerilla Marketing”—how to inexpensively  market a company. It wasn’t long before he realized that the internet was the future of marketing and he studied how to succeed online. He had a website created and a few years later he upgraded and expanded it.


Ron encountered a serious health problem around 2005 which may have been as a result of Agent Orange from his Vietnam tour. He was told that he would not survive it but pursued alternative medicines, and later stated that he was the only person to have ever survived a fungus in the lungs. Some years later he once again suffered some heart and lung problems which would then plague him until his death.



Ron, himself, took much pride in the design of “Flying Beds” spending a great deal of personal time making elaborate drawings to empress customers and guide factory workers. “Flying Beds” became the real love of Ron’s life.  It was his reason for living.  He had finally found why, in his mind, he was born.  If he had lived before for wining, dining and pleasure, it was now, near the end, to continue Flying Beds!


So, if you want to understand the final Ron McKey. You have to understand that when Ron could no longer walk nor live without assistance in daily functioning, and that Flying Beds was gone, though his mind was not in the least impaired, in all, Ron only wanted to die.


Like each of us, Ron McKey was a complex human being.  Many of us found it hard to get along with Ron.  He could be generous and miserly.  He could explode at the most inopportune times and leave one confused.  He is known, for example, to give a $100 bill to the corner vagrant but fail to meet many small and some large important obligations.


With most of us our complexity is hidden in consistency. We act the way in which people expect us to act. Ron was different.  He prided himself in often keeping his associates hidden to his thoughts and motives. This often made it hard to regard Ron as a friend.  Perhaps Ron really didn’t want friends. Yet, he was gregarious as well, and seemed to enjoy company.


We’ll end here. Many of us, including in his family, feel that Ron has not chosen to share his life experiences with them. This seemed to be by his own design.  Ron McKey, for whatever reason, wished to remain a mystery.  Hence, all we may do is to be content that Ron lived among us, and we commend his soul back to the Universe.