Ronald E. Meyer, 77, A mighty voice in Saline County journalism for a half-century, passed away July 3 at the St. Vincent Hospice facility in Little Rock following an extended illness. He was born October 18, 1938.
Ron was a veteran, having served as a mortar gunner in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1956 to 1962. His wife said that was the basic cause of his hearing problems throughout most of his life.
Following his service, Ron was a graphic artist for several Little Rock firms, including the Little Rock Department Store Gus Blass Company, LaFever Ad Agency and the old Arkansas Democrat where he was a commercial artist
Former Benton Courier owner and publisher Sam Hodges hired Ron in the early 1960s as manager of advertising, later becoming general manager. During his tenure there Ron's editorial cartoons and columns not only won local acclaim for him and the newspaper, but also state and national recognition. Just mention the name Ron Meyer to almost anyone living in Saline County from the time Ron began his work here in the 1960s at the Courier and they will smile and probably tell you an anecdote about a particular cartoon he drew or a column about someone -- probably a politician - from Saline County. They would then smile and say, 'I miss seeing his cartoons and columns in the paper. Ron later resigned his position at the Courier, purchasing Benton Office Supplies as well as opening the Ron Meyer Advertising Agency which he ran until retiring in 2003. He said he was proud to help the businesses in the county, whether they were his customers or not. He was always available for free advice to help them prosper.
He also continued to produce columns and cartoons for the Courier from time-to-time and many people who were the subject of his cartoons asked Ron for the originals of his artwork which they still treasure. Ron also used his talents to help schools and their organizations by drawing special pieces to be used for fundraisers or events. He also was an excellent calligrapher and penned the names on graduating senior diplomas for several schools as a gift to the schools and students.
Ron said it was all a part of giving back to the community.
Ron also loved, and was a student of, politics and he served on the Saline County Quorum Court for a time. Because of his years in the news business and his cartoons, as well as the contacts and friends made here and elsewhere, he was asked for political advice which he gave at no cost to politicians both new and experienced.
Ron was very active in the community, serving as president of the Benton-Bauxite Rotary Club, Red Cross Board of Saline County, and East End Fire Department. He was voted a member of the Top Ten Outstanding Young Men in Arkansas and named a member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
He also mentored young people who sought advice on how to become cartoonists.
Ron was a member of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Previsously he had been active at First United Methodist Church where he hadtaught Sunday School in earlier years.
One of Ron's major passions was anything to do with Studebaker automobiles. He enjoyed rebuilding the distinctive vehicles and drove an Avanti around town for many years that he restored.
Ron also served as president of the Studebaker Drivers Club of Little Rock.
He was predeceased by two children, Kelly E. Greene of Benton and James Shores Meyer of Little Rock.
He is survived by his wife, Jimmy Shores Meyer, son Ronald Stuart Meyer, and wife Rae, brother, Gerald W. Meyer and wife Sue, two sisters; Patricia Overton and Betty Wadholm; Five grandchildren: Meagan G. Lattin, Christopher Meyer, Jordan M. Greene, Heather B. Meyer and Victoria Lindsley and five great-grandchildren.
Following his wishes, there will be no formal services and the family asked that in lieu of flowers donations in his name be made to the Humane Society of Saline County, P.O. Box 305, Benton, AR 72018; or 7600 Bauxite Highway, Bauxite, AR 72011.
Published by The Saline Courier on Jul. 5, 2016.