Milestones: Ron Verblauw, 1933-2009

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By D.R. Richards

Good Friend and Mountain Man, Ron Verblauw

Unexpected friends come into one’s life, sometimes for a brief time, but leave an indelible mark. Ron Verblauw was one of those people in my life. He and his wife, Carol, moved to Sunapee, New Hampshire, USA from New Jersey because of Ron’s love of the country and skiing. He had served as a director on the National Ski Patrol’s Eastern Division, ran a trucking company in New Jersey for 40 years, served in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean conflict and was a district governor of Rotary International.

I must admit, I was prepared not to be fond of Ron at first, because of his pro-development stance regarding our local Mt. Sunapee Ski Area and his “proactive aire” about getting things done in, what used to be, our little sleepy community, which can often rub the locals the wrong way. I later saw this as a wonderful attribute, and I quickly realized Ron was an amazing person for many reasons.

His love of the mountains and nature was apparent in his attidue towards the trees around his home at Oakledge in Sunapee.  He thought is was crazy to clearcut the land simply for the lakeview, and opted to leave the forest mostly standing, stating, “I don’t agree with what  people are doing to the ridgelines around here” , adding, “they’re thinking only of themselves by hurting the ridgeline views for others.”

Honesty is the first word that comes to mind when I remember Ron. He was not just forthright, but he wasn’t afraid to speak up and call it like he saw it, in a compassionate and respectful way, but without compromise. That’s a trait of which we could use more lately. His “take no prisoners” attitude about being direct instantly earned my respect.

Ron also had the capacity bridge gaps between wide stances in the community, although after a number of years serving as President of the Sunapee Harbor Riverway, he decided to step down because he felt we wasn’t able to acheive results in that respect. Don’t worry Ron, if you couldn’t do it, I’m not sure who could.

I had stopped by Ron’s house a few times before I’d left for New Zealand. Maybe at first it was to pick up a photo or document, but the later visits were simply to say hello and learn from this interesting man. When he died suddenly in August, the planet, the community and his wife Carol, lost a good man unexpectedly.  Ron sure made a difference in my life. I’ll remember to be more forthright, honest, get things done, save some trees, and bridge gaps between different opinons when I can. We miss you Ron.

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