Reminiscence of a great friend

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My friend, Ronn Hayes, died suddenly last week. His family and many friends and the Malibu community suffered a great loss. His interest in fostering world peace and peace in Malibu was well known.

I was one of Ronn’s newer friends, since we met less than two years ago. We met on the picket line on PCH during the run-up to the ill-advised and ill-fated invasion of Iraq. He carried the sign “War Is Not The Answer” and mine was “No Blood For Oil.” While our efforts were unsuccessful in preventing the war, they did result in establishing a friendship. That led to lunches at Starbucks every few weeks and long conversations about family, philosophy and politics. My wife, Adele, and I had him over for dinner one evening and his flowing compliments of her sculptures marked him as a man of good taste. I called him last night to suggest a Starbucks lunch this week and his daughter, Heidi, gave me the sad news.

Ronn was the kind of person you got to know well quickly. His quiet manner and soft but thoughtful way of speaking made you realize almost immediately that this was a very special guy. He had that rare quality of being genuinely interested in what you were saying. I felt that he really wanted to know what I thought about the topics we discussed and that he was really interested in learning about my life and my family. Our views on politics did not produce much controversy since they usually coincided.

His description of his own life was intriguing since he seemed to have had several lives. I listened with fascination to his recounting of his careers as a movie and TV actor and tree surgeon (which his business card continued to announce). But the most exciting part of his life was his passion for river rafting. At that evening at our house, we discovered that Ronn was running rafting trips down the Rogue River the same year that Adele and I and our kids took a three-day trip down the Rogue. While we didn’t remember Ronn from the trip, we nonetheless decided to stipulate that he was our oarsman.

We will miss him.

Henry Pollard