The Passing of a Friend, Ron Carleton
If Ron Carleton taught me anything, it was to enjoy life, don't wait for it to come to you, and do what makes you happy. I will miss my friend.
I'm suddenly hungry for a 'Big Roost Beef Lunch'... let me explain.
Tuesday I received word that our colleague and friend Ron Carleton passed away. Ron had recently joined our Townsquare Media Waterloo family. A long time veteran of the radio game in the Cedar Valley, he quickly jumped in head first and started doing what he loved, telling stories.
He did such a great job, that it was only a week or so before he became the permanent host from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM on K-98.5. (KOEL-FM). His favorite segment was the famed "90's at Noon". Man did he love that feature!
His baritone voice was also heard from time-to-time on "The Classic Rock Station" 97.7 KCRR, and he even helped produce things for Q92.3. He will be missed, and I don't just mean as an employee. I can't speak for everyone else here at Townsquare Media Waterloo, but I doubt they would disagree. He had an energy about him. It was a refreshing zest for life.
Ron & I worked side-by-side in the late 1990's when 98.5 FM was located on Main Street in Cedar Falls. It was a satellite location at that time, so it was just him and I rocking it at 'The Hog', what K-98.5 used to be called at that time, together for 5 hours a day... just the two of us. We became great friends because of that. Man, I have some great memories of our time together. My favorite memory, the 'Big Roost Beef Lunch'.
I would be on the air, and he would pop his head into the studio to let me know he was going to grab a big roost beef sandwich, curly fries, and a drink. I couldn't pass that up, so I had him order one for me as well. We'd sit in the studio sharing stories, sharing hopes & dreams, and... Well you get the idea. Believe me, those will always be cherished memories for me.
As the radio business tends to go, Ron ended up leaving the company. We always stayed in contact. Even though I enjoyed talking to my friend from time-to-time, it just wasn't the same. No more 'Big Roost Beef Lunch'. No sharing of stories. There were only a few words about the latest news about each others families.
During those casual conversations, Ron still had that happy smile, but I could see a hint of stress in his face. He battled some health issues. He also had a large immediate family. I think he could field his own baseball team, with a full bullpen, between all of the kids and grand kids. Okay, that might be me 'story telling', but it was still a large family. Both situations can definitely add stress to one's life.
I thought we lost my friend on August 12, 2016. Ron was clinically dead for six minutes, even more stress added. If not for some heroic efforts by emergency room personnel, we would have lost him. They stayed after it, and as he posted on his Facebook page, "I remain a resident of Earth. My mission has not been completed, it was not the appointed time. How can I serve you, O God?"
As I mentioned earlier, we had an opening this past Spring at K-98.5, and Ron ended up filling that position. He had a different look about him. I didn't see that hint of stress in his face. He was just enjoying life, and he was so excited to join the Townsquare Media Waterloo family. Basically, he loved being on the air and telling stories. It was what he was meant to do.
I was so happy to provide him that avenue to once again tell his stories and find his moment of zen. That will be the my memory of him whenever I think of Ron. That opportunity to once again share his stories.
I remain a resident of Earth. My mission has not been completed, it was not the appointed time. How can I serve you, O God? - Ron Carleton
In fact, I was so excited to have my friend back on the air, that I didn't even realize the lesson he was teaching me. Enjoy life, and if you're not, change the things that are bringing you down. If you remember his post I shared, his 'service' was to teach me, and so many others, that it's okay to be happy, and if you are not, it's up to you to change it.
The sad news about all of this is that I found a "GoFundMe' page to help pay for his funeral expenses. His daughter Cheyenne, started the account with only this line in the description, "My father passed away and we have no way to pay for the funeral." Hopefully the good people that were touched by Ron Carleton can help (click here to help).
I will miss your stories, but luckily I have have plenty of my own stored up. Godspeed, my friend. You mission is now complete. Rest and be proud as you look down upon us. You were a good man, a good father, and a good husband. That being said, you will be missed.
I think it's time for a 'Big Roost Beef Lunch' in your honor. Whose in?