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THE PASSING OF A LEGEND
BY TONY POLLARD
Ron Pollard was a fixture in the community of Mt. Shasta and Siskiyou County since he moved here in 1982. As the owner and operator of the Black Butte Store and The Dugout bar, his enthusiasm for community spirit became quickly known. He always had the store open a half day on holidays in case someone needed a can of cranberry sauce or a gallon of milk. That's the kind of guy he was. Throughout all his activities and participation in our community, particularly with youth, his was a spirit of giving and sharing, never passing judgement on or giving up on a child. When he taught Hunter Safety Education Classes, he made sure that everyone passed, no matter how long it took, or how much of his time he had to spend to make sure that all the kids understood the material. This was a challenge at times for some kids with learning disabilities, but he worked with them until they got it. He taught Hunter Safety for over thirty years and never charged a dime to anyone. He gave his time, his energy and his vast knowledge to helping others his entire life. He started coaching Little League when he was a teenager himself, going on to become District Administrator for District 37 Little League in southern California. When I called the man who has that position now, he told me that Ron had coached him when he was in Little League. Even to this day, so many years after Ron left L.A., people still ask about him, wondering how he's doing. Everywhere he went, he made friends, he touched people's lives with his generosity of spirit and kind nature. If we could gather all the people whose lives he influenced, and the people who those people touched, on down the line, we'd probably filll the Coliseum in Los Angeles. That's the kind of guy he was.
Among his belongings are files filled with certificates of appreciation and awards of commondation from The County of Los Angeles, Little League Headquarters, and numerous civic organizations, for his work with youth, some of them dating back to the 1950's. Among his "kids" are numerous law enforcement officers, military personnell, civic leaders, and professional baseball and football players. HIs presence on earth contributed to making this world a better place. His motto on his old business card reads "Every time a boy goes bad, a good man dies." He dedicated his life to making sure there were more good men and women to carry on the traditions of courtesy, common sense and decency. Not one single award was framed and hanging on his walls, as many do. He did his work quietly and effectiviely, never drawing attention to himself, never blowing his own horn. He just walked the walk. That's the kind of guy he was.
He didn't go unrecognized, however. The aforementioned awards speak to that, as do the many times he was honored at various banquets, receptions and civic organization meetings, as well as at Dodger stadium, where he was presented an award for his work with youth, in front of a full stadium crowd, and where he threw the first ball to start the game on more than one occassion. But the things he did hang on his walls and put on his shelves were photos of the teams he coached and was the trainer for, coffee mugs and ribbons given to him by the kids with such sayings as #1 Coach, Best Teacher, and the like, and baseballs and footballs signed by his teams.
He also loved music. He used to hang out at The Lighthouse jazz club in Hermosa Beach, back in the days of Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and the like. One of his favorite moments was when he met Pete Fountain. He had a great love affair with Dixieland, and also loved Creedence Clearwater, as well as Country & Western. His tastes were eclectic. He loved to fish, and was the best shot I ever personally saw. He hunted for many years, but spent the last few seasons just teaching others how to be ethical, responsible hunters.
Since his passing, literally everywhere I go, people stop me to give their condolences and express their own grief. They always say the same thing - he was always happy, had a smile on his face, was never in a bad mood, and always waved hello as he was driving his truck or the hospital van. And he always took the time to visit with folks. Ron was an integral part of our community, our lives, and our hearts. A symbol of decency, courage, compassion and unselfishness, his wisdom and his great, brave, loving heart will be missed by all who knew him. HIs life made the world a little better, lighter place. His passing makes the world a little sadder and diminished, and leaves a big hole in a whole lot of lives. That's the kind of guy he was.
The celebration of Ron's life will be May 10th at the Sisson Elementary School gym, at 1 O'clock. Anyone who wants to speak at this memorial should RSVP to Tony Pollard.