Ron was born in 1939 in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was orphaned as a baby and was taken in by his mother’s grandparents. The first 3 years of his life were spent at Waterways and Fort Smith. He was taken in and raised by Florence Whitelock at Czar Alberta. Florence passed away when Ron was fourteen years of age. He then went to Irma Alberta completing his schooling and, and working on Harry Long’s Herford ranch until he was seventeen.
At the age of seventeen, Ron went to work on the oil rigs, becoming involved in an industry that would become his life’s work. During his first few years in the oil patch the majority of the activity was in the winter. During the summer months Ron worked on road construction, operating crawler tractors and earth moving buggies building roads or driving trucks to move rigs. In his words “I was never without a job. When the rigs were operating, I was on one. When they were shut down, I would get a job doing whatever was available.”
Ron worked his way through the ranks with numerous drilling contractors; while working for Cascade Drilling in Fort St. John in 1963 Ron was hired by Security Rock Bit a division of Dresser Industries. which would be the start of his drill bit career. After working long hours for little return for 10 years, he started his own company in 1973 – J & L Supply Co.
Philanthropy isn’t always about cash in hand. Sometimes, with dedication, passion and plain old hard work, a person can make a meaningful difference. That’s a good way to describe Ron Carey. He’s a proud financial supporter of organizations like STARS air ambulance, Alberta Children’s Hospital and a myriad of community sporting associations and conservation initiatives, but it’s his long-time passion for automotive, oil and gas memorabilia that gives Albertans a unique and lasting legacy.
Carey’s generous donations of collectibles have made the Gasoline Alley museums at Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village and Irricana’s Pioneer Acres possible. The Carey collection at Heritage Park alone is valued at more than $5 million. Even more significantly, these are old cars, trucks, gas pumps, signs and other items sourced from farms, auctions and elsewhere that Carey has restored and preserved with his own hands with support from many others.
One of Carey’s other passions in life is the pursuit of wild sheep and accordingly, Ron has a trophy room that is reputed to be one of the very best and largest sheep collections the world over. Ron has over 36 species of sheep alone which represents a sheep from every country in the world that have wild sheep as well as 24 from the Capra (goat) family. With over 100 mounts and a mountain as a feature wall, Ron’s trophy room is one for the record books.
Ron and J&L Supplies have been supporters of all conservation efforts here in Calgary for decades, being a prominent sponsor of Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited. Ron’s connection to conservation however, ended on top of the mountain – south of the Border.
Ron has been a leader in the sheep world for many years. He spent 9 years as a national board member of the Wild Sheep Foundation – the leading conservation organization focussing on the conservation of wild mountain sheep around the world. During his tenure Ron became a Summit Life member and a member of the Marco Polo Society. Now, more in an advisory/mentor role Ron focuses his energy with the society on recruiting new folks to the sport.
Ron was and is a lot of things including a prominent businessman, however, above all he is a family man first. Ron and his wife Billi enjoy time with family and friends here in Calgary and in Phoenix. Ron can be found most days down in his shop– puttering away on another project – probably a gas pump.
Mark Your Calendar
26th Annual Dinner & Auction, Wednesday, May 1 st, 2019 BMO Centre