Ronnie Mace died September 22, less than a month shy of his 57th birthday. I didn’t know him well, but we crossed paths not too long after I started work at the Claremore Progress.
Ronnie and his siblings were in a compromising situation. They were starving. And they decided to do something about it. They weren’t stealing, but foraging in dumpsters behind restaurants where they knew good food, real food, was being tossed. My memory of how they were found out has faded, because I have a much happier memory of him. People in the Claremore community helped those children, I do know.
My favorite memory is some years later and I was snapping photos of Share the Spirit Christmas baskets being prepared and carried to vehicles for distribution. For some time, the distribution center was the Claremore sanitation department headquarters on Claremore’s west side. Many of the workers helped with the distribution.
I spotted Ronnie, the scraggly young man, scrambling around helping an older woman with a bag and felt compelled to talk to him later. We talked briefly about his youth, but he wanted me to be sure he was happy to have a part in Sharing the Spirit.
I may have forgotten much about the circumstances of his youth, but I have never forgotten how wonderful it was to see him so eager in helping others.
Ronnie’s funeral is pending with DeLozier Funeral Service in Chelsea, where he was living.