Ronald Lee Waln died in Athens, GA, on July 20, 2013. Ron's life was filled with music and his family.
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Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ron grew up in Oberlin, Ohio. Music was in his life at a very early age from his musical father, and Ron was introduced to the flute in third grade. Ron went on to earn a Bachelor of Music Education from Oberlin College, a Master of Arts from the University of Iowa, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Iowa. Ron was proud to serve in the Air Force Band during the Korean conflict.
Ron married his wife Clara in 1956, and their first son was born in 1959. Soon after, Ron joined the music faculty at Florida State University and the family moved to Tallahassee. A second son was born in 1961 and the family remained in Florida until moving to Athens, Georgia, in 1965, when Ron joined the music faculty at the University of Georgia. During his time at UGA, Ron helped the music school mature and grow into a nationally-recognized program. Ron continued his teaching career at UGA until retirement in 2000, and even after retirement was on campus most days. Ron was a devoted teacher and mentor, helping his students grow toward performance careers or to become music educators themselves.
Ron served in several organizations and was past president of both the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI) and the National Flute Association. He had also been a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). Ron adjudicated for the Georgia Governors Honors Program as well as Southeastern Music Festivals for several years.
Ron performed on flute often in solo recitals and small groups, and especially enjoyed being part of the UGA Woodwind Quintet appearing on both U.S. and international stages. The quintet's performances and recordings included many works that Ron loved. He was a member of the UGA Baroque Ensemble, and Ron also enjoyed the opportunities to perform in Augusta, GA, as a guest member of the Augusta Symphony and for opera performances.
Ron was an active member of the First United Methodist Church, and treasured the members of the Cornerstone Class as well as the Wednesday afternoon book group. He and Clara organized adventures as leaders of the Senior Fun Group which led to great friendships and many wonderful memories.
Ron was a prolific bassoon reed maker, spending hours working on reeds at the music school, enjoying the continued contact with students. He loved to laugh, especially at bad jokes and puns. Ron enjoyed traveling and liked to swim and work out at Ramsey Hall. His fondness for fresh strawberries and sweets meant that strawberry shortcake and pecan pie were sure to be requested. An avid Georgia football fan, Ron loved going to games and proudly wore red and black.
Always smiling, friendly to everyone; Ron is deeply missed by many.
Ron is survived by his wife Clara; son David, David's wife Jana Lyn, and their sons Carson and Davis of Atlanta; son Bob and his partner Hector Vera of Atlanta; and sister Donna, her husband Kenneth Monroe, and their family in Northfield, Ohio.
The family would like to extend special thanks to the caregivers and staff of St. Mary's Hospital and UniHealth Post-Acute Care - Athens Heritage for the kindness, love, and support given to Ron.
A memorial service will be held at Athens First United Methodist Church on Saturday, August 3, at 2:00 pm with a reception immediately following in the Hancock Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts to the UGA Hodgson School of Music Scholarship Fund or the Music Ministry at Athens First United Methodist Church.
Lord & Stephens, East is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel
4355 Lexington Road Athens, GA 30605
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on July 28, 2013