I knew Ron to some degree due to teaching his children and grandchildren in the same school he attended (1967 Hauser graduate) and through his wife, Debbie. We never had the opportunity to talk that much, but I always respected the way he carried and handled himself. The last time I saw him was at a restaurant where the family was celebrating an important event together.

While reading Ron's obituary, I was reminded how he served the Hope community in a variety of positions with the total years adding up to many: a bus driver for Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corporation (32 years), a trustee for Hawcreek Township (32 years), a volunteer for the Hope Fire Department (12 years), a member of the Hope Town Council (4 years), and the Hauser scoreboard operator for many years, even Hauser freshman basketball coach for one year. With each of these positions comes much responsibility and decision making which says a lot about Ron.

Debbie fondly remembers how “Ron enjoyed getting to know people and consequently spent a lot of time chatting” and having a booth at Heritage Days for 13 years and “eating their way around the square.”

Ron fought a courageous battle with cancer. Many people uplifted Ron in their thoughts and prayers as well as Debbie, his wife, and the family. Like others from our community, I attended Ron's inspiring service within the wonderful worship center of the Sanctuary Church, a church which Ron was an important part of the men's prayer group.

I chose a place in the back and watched the video tribute to Ron. As I looked at the pictures, I realized even more how Ron felt about God, family, friends, and sports. And, I found out that Ron's sense of humor was a key while going through the ups and downs of life. His laughter at the very end of the video was quite appropriate.

I also thought about how I was not much younger than Ron. Life is fragile. I was reminded once again how we never know how long we have on this earth.

The first speaker, Rob Langley, was emotional as he shared from his heart about being introduced to Ron and how their friendship started immediately and continued. He stressed how Ron was always there, always willing to give of himself, whatever piece he had to offer. Then, he read something he wrote as a tribute to Ron. Below, you will find just a few lines from “Pieces:”

"Pieces” (c) 2020 by Rob Langley

“... I began to think about all the pieces of you that you shared with me
The laughter, the tears, the always ready to help me with whatever adventure it might be
Then, I thought about all the pieces of you that you shared with everyone that ever met you
Your willingness to share your wisdom, your knowledge, your insight, but mostly your heart
You were a friend and a mentor to so many more than just me
That's why it's so easy to see pieces of you in your friends and your family ...”

The second speaker, Bishop Dan Mitchell, mentioned the importance of Ron's sense of humor and followed it up with the comment of not being surprised if Ron had hired a clown to attend and interrupt the service at some point. It never happened, but the thought brought a lot of smiles as Ron brought to others in his daily life.

He then shared some remarks from the family: how Ron started pulling a family car and then traveled several miles before realizing it was not there, how his special character was always evident in family gatherings, how he could fix anything with duct tape and baling wire (referred to as Captain Duct Tape), how he never missed an event involving his children and grandchildren, how he always won in the game Aggravation with his family eventually finding out that he had added dots to his dice, how 46 years of marriage brought so many precious memories to a couple so different but so very alike.

Bishop Mitchell concluded with stressing Ron's loyalty, faithfulness, and sense of humor and how others needed to carry on pieces of Ron's mission, to write our wonderful story in our book like Ron. While he spoke, I felt a need to look less seriously at life and to think of Ron while smiling and laughing more often.

I doubt if Ron ever received enough thanks. Then again, I doubt if he really expected it from “the town and the people he loved” as Debbie so well put it. Undoubtedly, Ron's legacy will continue through the many lives he touched.

Ron, thank you!