A family’s tribute to a son’s struggle with depression

While reading the obituary today of Lucas David Ronnei of Victoria, Minn., we realized where the young man got the courage in his struggle against depression and addiction. It was in his DNA, inherited from a family that wrote one of the most powerful obituaries we’ve ever read.

ronnei “It is not in our goodness or strength that God comes to us, but out of our weakness.” We are utterly heartbroken and saddened by the passing of our beautiful soul, Lucas David Ronnei, on January 7, 2016.

Luke had a million dollar smile and vibrant presence and could change the mood in any room simply by walking in. It would be a surprise to many to know that Luke struggled with anxiety and depression his whole life, it was one of the reasons he continuously worked to surround himself with joy, laughter, and solid friends. He said it was a perfect distraction, and that “When I’m with people I love and care about, wherever I am, I know someone has my back.” He always tried to make others feel the same way.

Luke’s attempts to quell his fears or lift his spirits led to an additional struggle with addiction that ultimately ended his life 30 days shy of his 21st Birthday.

Luke is predeceased by his grandparents Percy & Frances Ronnei, Howard & Lorraine Wagner and his Uncle Jeffrey Wagner. He is survived by his loving parents David & Colleen Ronnei, his admired and devoted brother and “First Best Bro” Nicholas, and his four-legged “pile of love” Fynn. Luke had amazing relationships with so many people who cared about him including wonderful aunts, uncles and cousins from his large extended family. He was grateful for the love he shared with his Godfather and Uncle Stephen “Goose” Wagner, Madi Berg (“She’s a keeper, Mom!”), his “Lake Family” the Porter’s, his hunting family (you know who you are!), Dr. V and Heather (his dream team), and countless supportive friends.

Luke was blessed to have spent the last three joy filled weeks of his life with incredible friends Claudio, Chase and Jimmy having the best adventure of his life touring Australia. It is this time, and his zest for a huge happy future upon his return, that will sustain us in the coming months. Finally, Luke would insist on a BIG shout out to his Brothers at Kappa Alpha at ASU who were his family, his strength and his “Brotherhood” in Arizona.

Luke was passionate about hunting (an exceptional shot), fishing (he could catch anything), pond hockey in the backyard, days at “the cabin” and sunshine! He could talk to anyone and made friends everywhere he went. He announced upon his return Wednesday night that the Brazilian girls in Australia were amazing cooks and he fully expected to return to study abroad.

To honor Luke and his memory, if on your own travels thru life, you cross paths with someone who is suffering in any way, reach out, be compassionate and non-judgmental, because as he recently told us, “everyone deserves to be loved.”

A Celebration of Life will be held for Luke at 11:00 am on Tuesday, January 12 at St. Victoria’s Catholic Church, 8228 Victoria Dr., Victoria, MN 55386. Visitation one hour prior to the service with a luncheon following. Private internment. In lieu of flowers, we ask that memorials be made to The Ronnei Memorial Fund in Memory of Luke at Beacon Bank to support causes that Luke was passionate about.

Finally, we want to express our deep gratitude to all the First Responders for their valiant efforts to keep our beautiful boy here with us on Earth. Their compassion and care for Luke was both heroic and heartbreaking.