In today’s world we work, we go home and we stay inside. We often never even meet our neighbors and as a result, we never know what we may be missing. Fortunately for Melissa and me, we met Ron under unique circumstances which are beyond the scope of this post. I don’t have a big brother, and Ron didn’t really become one, but he was close. Nonetheless, as we got to know Ron, we learned many things about him. First of all, he was a luxury used car buyer/seller. He bought them at auctions and sold them wholesale. So, the first fun part of knowing Ron was checking out some cool cars – the latest models, used, but often very lightly. And, as we got to know Ron the car dealer, we learned it didn’t stop there. If he saw an opportunity to make a deal, he would. He bought oriental carpets at auctions and sold them. Then, he started buying, upgrading, and selling computers. He was smart, clever, and always hustling, in a good way. One of the most surprising deals he did was to go to Macy’s and wheeled and dealed himself into a 2 for 1 cash discount for dress shirts! I’ve never been good at haggling, but the lesson was that it doesn’t hurt to ask. And, the other lesson, be willing to walk away, as he told them, take it or leave it. His self taught knowledge of computers and networks was invaluable as we started Magnus in the early 1990s. Personal computers were new, they were changing fast from stand alone machines with 386, then 486, then Pentium and beyond. As a small business owner, trying to figure out all of this, and how to connect shared printers, etc., was well beyond my level of expertise and Ron helped me do this, of course, on computers I bought from him. He often got them from Office Depot, discounted floor models, then upgraded them. What was obvious was that he knew more about the computers he was buying than the Office Depot folks did about the computers they were selling – in other words, he got good deals, because he knew the values. Next lesson, if you are going to make deals, you have to know the values. And, Ron taught me other lessons – he always “had a guy” who could do whatever needed to be done. He was resourceful and the importance of networking and knowing who could do what is something I learned from him. In fact, that is one of the points of this post – we often meet people in life and learning from them, knowing who to turn to when you need guidance, makes life easier, and better. The last lessons learned from Ron is how well he handled some, ultimately fatal, health issues. Using every resource he had, mostly internet research, when he had heart issues, and later cancer, he researched everything and knew almost everything there was to be known to be an informed patient. His knowledge and vigilance ensured he got the best advice and treatment possible; in one case, it kept him from harm when he knew the wrong IV was almost administered by a well meaning, but inexperienced, nurse. Knowing what he was supposed to get saved him. This example of managing health issues is one that is good for everyone to know. Of course, we have seen many examples of medical malpractice in our trial consulting work, but seeing something so close to home makes it much more real. As his cancers took hold and did their hideous damage, Ron approached the end of life with great dignity. There were things he wanted to do and we were able to make one of those bucket list items happen. This series of posts is in a couple of instances, tributes to friends gone from us. And I think remembering lessons from Ron is one of the best ways to pay tribute to him.
Our dear friend and long time neighbor, Ron, was an amazing person David and I will never forget. He was smart, resourceful, a curmudgeon, often silly, and a very private person who led a “double life” in many ways, that, as David said, are beyond the scope of this blog. Ron lived next door to David and me for many years, including when he was married to a distant cousin of mine (who became even more distant after their divorce!). When he began having health problems, leading him to move to a condo, we continued our friendship and this friendship lasted until his untimely death from cancer. Ron and I shared a love of boxing and David and I attended many parties at Ron’s house during boxing matches, along with Ron’s friends, all of whom led “double lives” in one way or another. Ron and I enjoyed a special relationship. Although he was 20 years older than me, he and I loved to play jokes and pranks on each other, including ringing the doorbell, then running away, calling each other on the phone and pushing the numbers to force each other to hear the annoying sound of the buttons, and participating in crazy wasabi eating contests in sushi restaurants. Ron loved cats as much as I love cats and we were each other’s cat sitter during times when our cats were home alone. For as long as I knew Ron, he said his one wish was to go to Lake Tahoe. When it was apparent his death was imminent, David and I fulfilled Ron’s wish by taking him on a fun filled trip to Lake Tahoe. Ron being Ron, always the snappy dresser, complained about the snow ruining his fancy leather shoes! Alas, when Ron passed away, David and I adopted a crazy, curmudgeonly cat and guess what we named him? Thanks for the memories, Ron!