Pandemic helps Kansas City father, son return to hobby 50 years later

Senior Star at Villa Ventura, Senior Living hobby, father and son.

Pandemic helps Kansas City father, son return to hobby 50 years later
by: Dave D’Marko – Posted: Jun 16, 2023 / 10:23 PM CDT
To enjoy the live interview click here.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ron Monaghan, 86, lives at Senior Star. The pandemic could be a lonely time for many seniors, but model airplanes brought a father and son closer together.
Monaghan has always had an affection for aircraft.

“It’s a hobby, it’s an addiction is what it is,” he said.

His dad was a pilot and Ron was in the U.S. Air Force. After his oldest son Mike was born they started building model airplanes. Back in the 1970s they were made of balsa wood, sanded and hand painted.

“We used to make them and hang them on the ceiling in his bedroom at the objections of his mother,” Monaghan said.

“And they’d be in different poses of flying and so it was like a war going on my ceiling every time I looked up,” his son Mike laughed.

Of course kids grow up and life happens. Monaghan hadn’t picked up a model airplane for probably 40 years. Then came the pandemic.
“He knew I was bored to death, called me up and asked me.”

“I was like Dad you kind of remember when you used to build model airplanes?”

Three years later those model airplanes have started to take over Monaghan’s apartment.

“It takes about a month for me to build them. If you look closely you can see the canopy hand-painted,” Ron said.

The senior living community built him shelves to display his work and created a rotating display in the lobby.

“I can tell you the story of the Memphis Belle. I can tell you the story of almost all these airplanes in here,” Ron said.

While he enjoys sharing those stories with residents, there’s no one he’d rather spend time with building than his kids.

“This was designed to go special depths under the water and they got special radar for that same purpose,” Ron showed Mike the S-3 Viking he’s working on now.

At age 86 some of the intricate work of 200 piece models can be a little difficult. But he’s not alone.
“What we really have in this world is time. Spending with him I’m so proud of him. If he needs me to help him with his models we’re there for him,” Mike said.

“My kids are my life and I don’t know what I’d do without them,” the father of four, grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather of three said.

After retiring from the Air Force Monaghan took up sailing around area lakes with the family. He also built a two foot model 1806 Schooner on display at Senior Star