Ronald Barry Dokell It is with immense sorrow that the family of Ronald B. Dokell announces his death on Monday, September 3, 2012.
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Ron was a brilliant and kind man with a wonderful sense of humor appreciated by his business colleagues, his family and his friends, of which he had many. He embraced life and tried to get the very most out of it that he could. He loved to travel, learn new things, dance, listen to jazz, go to the theatre, attend the Texans and Rocket games, hear a great speaker and a really good joke.
Ron was born in Chicago in 1932 and took center stage early. At the age of 8 he was one of the first "Quiz Kids" on the national radio program of the same name first broadcast from Chicago. He began his college career at the University of Illinois - Navy Pier, where he was an avid boxer. His uncle, Immanuel Olshan of Houston convinced him to continue his studies at Texas A&M University. He graduated from Texas A&M with a BBA with honors, an invitation from the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the "Outstanding Business Student" award. He returned to Chicago and enrolled in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. After his first year he was commissioned into the United States Navy, which he left at the age of 27, having earned the rank of Lt. j.g., in charge of a staff of more than 200 at the Norfolk Navy Exchange.
In 1957, he accepted an offer from his uncle, Immanuel Olshan, to work for what was Olshan Lumber Co. in Houston. There he met Richard Ledermann, his cousin by marriage. During their 40-year partnership, Ron and Richard bought the company and broadened it into Olshan Enterprises adding foundation repair, waste disposal and commercial and industrial demolition. Ron took over the reins of the demolition company and grew it into one of the largest in its field with projects both domestic and international including the demolition of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas and the Shamrock Hotel in Houston. He was one of the nine charter members of the National Demolition Association and wrote the original safety regulations that were
later adopted by OSHA of the U.S. Dept. of Labor. In l991 he sold Olshan Demolishing Company to BRAND Companies.
Ron served as a delegate to the European Demolition Association and in 1996 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Demolition Association. He later became an Expert Witness internationally, taught demolition-based programs at Purdue University and Texas A&M University, was featured on "Junkyard Wars" on TLC and became a trusted source to the media. After 9/11 Ron was interviewed extensively by Popular Mechanics magazine for an article de-bunking the on-going conspiracy theories. Later, Popular Mechanics compiled these and other findings into the book, "Debunking 9/11 Myths."
Ron was a very active member of B'nai B'rith for many years and served on its board as well as president of his Chapter 2222. In recent years he took an interest in the Houston Zoo and became very fond of its staff.
He is sorely missed by Julie Tips Dokell, his wife of 16 years and by his children: Mike Dokell and wife Susan, David Dokell and wife Carmen and Elizabeth Segall and husband Mark and his grandchildren Jordon, Max, Jack, Lauren, Isabella, Arin and Ben. He was preceded in death by his parents Violet and Jack Dokell and his beloved younger brother, Harry, all of Chicago.
Julie and Ron Dokell married in 1996 and they enjoyed a full life. Together they welcomed friends at their home on a regular basis, traveled internationally by train, ship and plane. Every fall was spent in Manhattan immersed in theatre for weeks at a time. Wherever they went, the Dokells made good and lasting friends. Julie has often called Ron a "people magnet".
The family would like to recognize those who helped give Mr. Dokell a quality of life for as long as possible. They include Ericka Simpson, M.D.; Dawn Stoecher-Simon, M.D.; Rebecca Clearman, M.D.; Thelma Canterberry, N.A.; Patricia Hudson, Stephanie Elzy, Chamel Caldwell, Laurie Johnson, P.T. and her colleagues at Affiliates in Physical Therapy as well as the entire staff of Houston Hospice.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, September 7, at The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, at 11:00 a.m. The Reverend James Tucker will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to
or to the Houston Zoo.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Sept. 5 to Sept. 6, 2012