]Ron was born in Ketchikan, Alaska in 1952 with congenital heart disease, hypotesia of the left side of his face, blindness in his left eye and loss of hearing in his left ear. The left side of his face was not present upon birth and had to be constructed through several surgeries. Since the medical facilities in Ketchikan were scarce, his parents were advised to take him to Portland, Oregon. For the first 10 years of his life, he remained in the hospital, having over 100 surgeries. While in the hospital, Ron likes to tell the story of how he played drums on the hospital bed rails. His parents were told that he probably would not survive because of his condition. The trip from Alaska to Oregon was very difficult and after two visits, his birth parents no longer felt that they could make the trip; they did not expect Ron to survive and chose not return to see him. After 100 surgeries, the doctors decided they had done everything that they could and Ron was released to a foster family in Grants Pass, Oregon.
The family had children of their own and one young daughter was taking piano lessons who practiced at home daily. When she practiced, Ron would stand, listen, and shiver with excitement. He asked if he could play, but they initially said “No” because that the piano was not a toy; it was an expensive musical piece of furniture and he could not touch it. One day, a few months later, when she was practicing, Ron was fidgeting, shivering and pulling his hair and soon ran over to her, carefully slid her off the piano bench, sat down and began to play. His foster mother was dumbfounded and asked him where he learned to play. He said, “I taught myself. I listen and then I play”. Ron has taught himself to play numerous instruments, all by ear.
In 1981 Ron saw the Hi Hopes playing at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon, and knew that he wanted to be a part of the group. He contacted Doris Walker, the director of the Hi Hopes, upon his family’s return to their home in Grants Pass and asked if he could join the group. It took six years to convince her, make the arrangements for housing and the foster parents to agree to move him from Oregon to Anaheim, CA. In 1987 Ron moved to Anaheim to become part of the Hi Hopes and his long sought-after dream came true. He lives to play music and Hope Center for the Arts is fortunate to give him this opportunity.