Born and raised in Claremore, Ron Paris grew up across the street from the post office, at a time when children played outside until the sun went down.
Fresh air, skinned knees, dirt-covered clothes, it was a time when parents realized play was important, and children could be self-reliant.
“You slept with the windows open and the doors unlocked,” Ron said. “You didn’t worry about the kids.”
The experiences, activities, and sense of freedom that were foundational to Ron’s childhood are the very things he has worked for 14 years to inculcate at the city of Claremore Parks and Recreation Department.
Since Sept., 2006, Ron has served as the youth sports coordinator, working with the coaches of Claremore’s youth baseball, softball and soccer teams to schedule field use and ensure they are following their contracts with the city. Ron also organizes summer youth camps at the Claremore Community Center and free spring and fall youth sports clinics taught by area coaches.
“We need to keep kids busy with good, wholesome activities, and let them know that there are people who do care about them and their wellbeing,” Ron said.
Ron played sports while attending Claremore Public Schools. His mom, also born and raised in Claremore, was a telephone operator for 40 years, and his dad, born near Chelsea, served as the Claremore fire chief.
“I grew up at a time in Claremore where everybody knew everybody, and everybody knew everybody’s business,” Ron said. “I’m an open book … a reflection of that time.”
Ron met and married the love of his life at a young age. He and Pat have been married now for more than 50 years. Pat taught at Verdigris Public Schools for 30 years before retiring.
Their eldest daughter, Rhonda Bart, teaches at Will Rogers Junior High and their youngest, Christy Paris, works for the Indian Health Service.
Before working for the city of Claremore, and before his job at a cable supply company, Ron was the owner of Ron’s Sporting Goods, which closed in 1984 but continued to sell branded clothing for years.
Throughout his adult life, Ron played on a softball and bowling league where he kept up his skills and love of the game. When the opportunities presented themselves, he enjoyed golfing and fishing.
As a father and a grandfather, Ron spent a lot time involved in youth sports.
However, he’s not as active now as he used to be.
“I had some back issues and some knee issues, so I gave those up,” Ron said.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Ron and Pat’s grandson has been staying with them to help around the house. The grandkids are a Claremore Public Schools teacher, a Rogers State University Senior, and a recent high school graduate, respectively.
At this point in life, Ron said, he is most passionate about his family, and their well being.
“I want them to do well. I want them to know the values of life. Don’t take anything for granted. And to know the Lord,” Ron said. “I want them to know they have to work for the things that are worthwhile.”
Ron never wanted to live anywhere but Claremore. His old childhood home, purchased by his mother in 1934, is still in the family. The lessons he learned there are still part of his life, and part of the legacy he hopes to leave with each child who participates in the community and sports programs he helps organize.
“I said at one time, you couldn’t get me out of Claremore with a stick of dynamite, and I still feel pretty much that same way,” Ron said.