Ron Beasley, Long Time Blogger And OTB Commenter, Dies At 69
I woke this morning to the sad news that Ron Beasley, a long time blogger who was also a frequent visitor to the comment threads here at Outside The Beltway, had passed away at the age of 69. The news came via a post on Ron’s Facebook page from his sister:
It is with a heavy heart that I inform all of Ron’s Facebook friends that my brother passed away suddenly yesterday – a few weeks short of his 70th birthday. He was a man of many talents, such as photography and he leaves a legacy of beautiful images for us to continue to enjoy and remember him. But, perhaps his greatest gift, was taking care of our dear mother during her final years. May you rest in peace dear brother – I will miss you – All my love, jo
Ron had been around the blogosphere for quite a long time, starting with his own blog Middle Earth Journal, which started back in 2004 and where he continued to post through September of last year. He was also part of the Newshoggers blog, and an Assistant Editor at The Moderate Voice. Joe Gandelman, the editor at Moderate Voice had this to say about Ron’s passing:
Ron was a very special person. He’s one of those people that cared soooooooo much, was creative, loved nature — and had a big heart. What you saw and read is what you got. I had never met Ron personally or even talked with him on the phone. But we had a long email friendship that goes back more than 10 years. It started when he had his blog, Middle Earth Journal, and I’d quote from it in my long political roundups. Then we started emailing. In 2005 when he criticized me in a post on his blog for my viewpoint on anti-war demonstrators, I took it as a sincere criticism from someone who merely had a different perspective and who wasn’t playing the tiresome attack and discredit games so many bloggers and partisans fall back on. Ron was serious and his criticism came from the heart and from another rarity on some websites: from an analyzing, thinking, weighing the thoughts brain.
Ron wrote on his blog and then on Newshoggers, and when he finally took me up on my longstanding invitation to coblog on TMV, I was thrilled, and he eventually became an assistant editor.
We all have our flesh and blood friends and our internet friends we’ve made via social media or email. Ron was a close friend who I never met but had wanted to. Some friends, particularly Internet friends, can be fickle. People will write in a way they would not dare speak; they will blow up sitting at a keyboard and typing words in emails, in comments and on Facebook in a way they might not if they sat down with a person and looked them in the eye and discussed. There’s far more possibility for an Internet friendship to evaporate or be damaged than with face-to-face friendships. I learned over the years that many Internet friendships end in misunderstandings and more profound grief than others know (but they do help keep a therapist in business). The key, I keep telling myself, is don’t get too attached, but I do. With Ron, there was no worry.
Ron was Ron. And that was a lot and meant a lot.
Like Joe, I never met Ron in person and only “knew” him through his posts at The Moderate Voice and, eventually, the comment threads here and on Facebook, where he would often drop by to contribute. We often disagreed on political matters, but Ron was perhaps a rarity among Internet commentators in that he was able to engage in a political discussion online without allowing it to devolve into an argument, and he usually had something that left me thinking even when I though he was incorrect. His own Facebook posts often focused on his photography, the often changeable in an instant weather in the area of Oregon where he lived, and other observations about daily life. There were some hints about his own health issues, but not always much detail.
Ron was also a frequent inhabitant of the comment threads here at Outside The Beltway. His last comment here was on March 19th, which was just a few days before a Facebook post in which he noted that he hadn’t posted much lately due to health issues. Whether that is related to his passing, I do not know. In any case, my condolences to Ron’s friends and family.