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. Literally, the left side of his face was not there and had to be constructed. Since the medical facilities in Ketchikan were scarce, his parents were advised to take him to Portland, Oregon. He remained in the hospital for 10 years, having over 100 surgeries. His parents were told that he probably would not survive because of his condition. The trip was very difficult and after two visits the parents no longer felt that they could make the trip, they did not expect Ron to survive and did not return to see him. After 100 surgeries the doctors decided they had done everything that they could and he 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 and practiced every day. When she practiced Ron would listen and stand and shiver. He asked if he could play. They explained, “No” 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 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 their return to Anaheim 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. 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 University gives him this opportunity.