RONNIE, WE CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE
Ronnie, you made it known that you wanted your memorial to be a party. You wanted everyone to have a good time and not sit around being sad. You wanted the time to be happy and uplifting. You wanted your memorial to be informal and fun. So we’ll try to follow your wishes and celebrate your life on the light side.
First of all, we celebrate you as a SON. You were a good son — quiet, respectful, thoughtful of others, and a heart of gold, but there were times when you could be ornery too. Real ornery, but since we’re celebrating your life, we won’t go into the “ornery” part. You loved to play games, especially baseball with neighbors and cousins, or kick-the-can, or hide ‘n seek. You especially loved to ride your bike, maybe because it gave you a sense of freedom. You whizzed up and down the Bloomdale road like a speed demon, in your own world. You pedaled so hard you almost melted the rubber on your pedals. You went so fast! And then in high school when you ran track you whizzed around the track almost as fast as you whizzed on your bicycle. Coach Ramsey said you were fast, really fast! And when nieces and nephews started coming along you were in your glory. You loved every one of them. You loved to hold them and talk to them and you never stopped caring for them, even as an adult. There were some tough times for you as a child, but through it all you were able to smile and keep plugging along. You showed grit and determination. You defined the word “happy.” And somehow you have always kept that happy little child in you alive, never letting go of it. We celebrate that accomplishment and we celebrate you as a SON.
We celebrate you as a SOLDIER, a proud MARINE. Barely out of high school, you joined the Marines and were soon proudly serving your country in Vietnam. The grit and determination you had as a child, you had as a Marine. You never complained. You never looked back. You served with honor and you defended your country, the American flag and the freedom for which it stands. The kid with the smile that whizzed up and down the Bloomdale road on his bicycle, is the same kid as a Marine who whizzed up and down the roads in Vietnam. And we were grateful that you came back. We celebrate you as a proud MARINE and honor you for the service you gave to your country.
We celebrate you as a HUSBAND. Family has always meant so much to you and you were excited to get married and start your own family. You married Sharon and together you brought forth four beautiful children. Even with the best of intentions, relationships don’t always work, and after your marriage with Sharon ended, you married Judy and together enjoyed 45 years as husband and wife. That marriage brought forth three more beautiful daughters. You enjoyed your role as a husband and it worked well for you, maybe in part because you kept the child inside you alive and never let life get too serious. We celebrate you as a HUSBAND.
We celebrate you as a DAD. We can look back on the days when you would smile as you held your nieces and nephews in your arms, maybe dreaming about the day you would be holding your own children. We doubt though that you ever dreamed about having seven children to love and hold and experience the joy of being a dad. But you indeed, became a dad to seven wonderful children: Kimberly, William, Kenneth, Kevin, Ginger, Tammy, and Gypsy. Now it was your turn to buy them bicycles so they could whiz up and down the road like speed demons. Did it make you just a little bit nervous? The same pride we saw in you as a Marine is the same pride we saw in you as a dad. And we celebrate you as a DAD.
We celebrate you as a BROTHER. You were the youngest of the family, number 11 of the children, 8 of which grew to adulthood. Brothers and sisters are always excited to have a new brother, but one sister did say when you were born, “Oh, no, now we have another child to keep his finger out of the homemade bread while it raises.” And another sister insisted on picking out your name. In case you didn’t know it, that’s how you got the middle name of Vernon. We hope you liked it……we never heard you say one way or the other. You enjoyed having older brothers and sisters and you liked being able to stay overnight with the ones who were married when you were growing up. We celebrate your life as the good BROTHER that you were.
And, of course, we’re convinced that you got a jump on us and are already celebrating in heaven and having one big party. We just have one question…Do they have bicycles in heaven for you to whiz around on? If they do, pedal your heart out and enjoy the ride.