Yesterday, Anne and I spent the day in Rockville, Maryland attending the funeral, mass, and reception for former SNAME president Ron Kiss with what was easily more than 200 of Ron and his wife June’s friends and family. It was quite an exceptional experience to celebrate Ron’s life with so many people who knew him so very well. His children and grandchildren told wonderful stories about his journey from a young boy fascinated with the water and sailing through school at Webb Institute.
Many of his Webb classmates were in attendance to share their experiences and memories of Ron and June. The stories continued to include meeting and eventually marrying June and how she became such an integral part of his professional career, their service to their community, together with every aspect of their family life.
June was surrounded by family, lifelong friends, and loved ones who talked energetically about Ron's friendship, travel, sailing, cruising, and general social life; the parts of his life over and above the well documented record of professional leadership achievements and the high office positions that came with them. These include the presidencies of Webb, SNAME, and ASNE.
I got to know Ron first while he was president of ASNE. Anne and I saw Ron and June at the SNAME office Christmas open houses and at Webb events where we got the first glimpses of the steadiness and trust that they both developed with everyone they came across.
I have the wonderful opportunity to talk with students about leadership and career prospects, and often point to SNAME leaders as examples to follow. I must say that the impact that Ron has had on so many of our members and on our profession deserves some special attention by our students and our young professionals. If you have the opportunity to talk to someone who knew Ron, or has been a part of his life with June, I will say that you will be a better person for taking that opportunity.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ron, June, and their family.