KU great Loneski dies

Monday, August 4, 2014


Photo courtesy of Kansas University Spencer Research Library

Kansas players, from left, Maurice King, Gene Elstun, Wilt Chamberlain, John Parker and Ron Loneski stand at attention during the national anthem prior to the start of the 1957 national championship game.

Former Kansas University basketball player Ron Loneski died Friday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital at the age of 77. Arrangements are pending and will be announced by Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.

Loneski, who was a roommate of Wilt Chamberlain at KU and starter on KU’s 1957 NCAA runner-up team, was first-team all-league for three seasons and honorable mention All-American.

According to the Northwest Times of Indiana, he was the first player from Illinois (Calumet City) to play in the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Game in 1955. He was also selected to play in the East/West Shrine Game in 1959.

During college, Loneski was involved in ROTC and upon graduation took commission.

He remained in the service for 21 years, earning the rank of colonel.

Loneski, according to the paper, served in Germany for 51⁄2 years and had two terms in Vietnam. His military distinctions include the Bronze Star for Valor, Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and the Purple Heart. Loneski became a teacher in 1980. He taught special education English at Lincoln High in San Diego for 20 years and was the basketball coach for the first 10 years. Loneski retired in 2000 has lived in Lawrence the past several years.