AUBURN — Ronald D. Hemingway of Canton, formerly of Dixfield, passed away on Thursday, April 13, at the Hospice House after a very courageous battle with a very cruel disease, mesothelioma.
He was born on July 22, 1955, in Rumford to Richard and Freda (Saunders) Hemingway. He attended schools in Rumford, graduating in 1973 from Rumford High School. Ron attended the University of Maine in Orono for a year before marrying Yvonne Ames on Aug. 10, 1974. Ronnie, the ultimate jokester, liked to quip, “we had three wonderful years.”
In 1976, they welcomed their sons, Rodney and Richard. Ron and Yvonne spent many happy and proud years following them through high school and college. He can rest easy knowing he did his job well, raising two wonderful and loving sons.
Ron was hired at Boise Cascade on the same day the company took ownership of the mill in Rumford, on July 1, 1976. Four years later, he began his career in instrumentation. He rose to the top of the Engineering & Installation Dept. in 2000. He “retired” due to his illness in 2016.
Ron’s favorite role was his job for the union, a passion he shared with his brother, Gary. Beginning in 1980, he represented hourly workers in the mill for United Paperworkers Union. The name later changed to PACE, then USW. He was elected president of the union, serving from 1991 to 1993. He then returned to work in the mill so he could benefit from a five-year training program as an instrumentation/electrical specialist.
During these years, Ron was again elected to various union positions. In 2012, he was re-elected as union president and served four and a half years. Ron also served on the state AFL-CIO executive board and worked on several organizing drives. He was on the executive board of Maine Fair Trade Campaign and held various positions including president of the Maine Labor Council. He also served as president of the Region 1 Labor Council, which included much of New England. Ron was very proud of his union service; he met many fine brothers and sisters. During this last year, he truly missed his time spent fighting for workers’ rights. He was an extremely dedicated lifetime member of USW Local 900.
Though he was unable to indulge this past year, he had many great years of hunting. Trophies that grace the walls of his and Yvonne’s retirement home on Canton Lake attest to this fact. Ron enjoyed teaching his sons to hunt and fish. He took Rod on a successful moose hunt in 1989 with the help of his friend, Dick Day. However, in 2012, he and Yvonne were not so lucky on that hunt, but they spent the week together making memories. He was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of hunting caribou in Canada with his brother, Randy. His best friends, Steve Ames, Steve Soubble and Dick Day, accompanied him and Randy on many of his excursions. He spent many nights at the Ponderosa, his beloved hunting camp. In his early years, Ron hunted snowshoe hares with his beagles, his favorite being Bunny. He got many weird looks when he was calling, “Here, Bunny” as he was chasing rabbits. Maisy, a Brittany spaniel, became his constant companion for the past 14 years and the best furry friend a man could ask for.
Ron loved Yvonne with all of his heart, even though they had a few rough years. He credits her for being the greatest mother to his sons. He praises her for the support and patience all the years they were together, the love she showered on the family, her kindness, beauty and forgiveness. He and Yvonne shared a love of dancing and spent many evenings cutting the rug. He thanks her for the loving care she showed him this year. “ I love you, Yvonne, forever and ever.”
Ron is survived by his beloved wife, Yvonne; son, Rodney and fiancée, Ashley Kennedy, of Halifax, Mass.; son, Richard and fiancée, Kelly Fagan, of West Bridgewater, Mass.; his mother, Freda and her husband, Wendall Russell, of Peru; his father, Richard and his longtime companion, Joyce Welch, of Mexico; his brothers, Gary and wife, Donna, and family of Canton, and Randy and Theresa and family of Mexico; his dear uncle and aunt, Walter and Maxine Hemingway, and family of Tennessee; two brothers-in-law, Steve and Sherry Ames and family of Livermore, and Rick Ames and family of Rumford; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He was predeceased by his grandparents, Tom and Hillie Saunders and Frank and Sadie Hemingway; his in-laws, Carlton and Frances Ames; his brothers-in-law, Tommy, Gary and Dennis Ames; and his uncle, Jim Saunders.
Ron had a full life. He would be the first to say, “It is what it is.” He loved and was loved by many and we will miss him terribly.
Friends and family are invited to sign the online guest book and share memories with the family at www.meaderandson.com.
Ronald D. Hemingway