Houston lost one of its most highly respected and well-liked citizens yesterday.
Ron Stone was a television news anchor for thirty years, the last twenty on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate. When Ron was with Channel 2, he was most often partnered with Doug Johnson, who did the weather.
[5/15, 2am. I just finished reading a lengthy writeup about Ron. Doug's in there, as well. If you're interested and have the time, go to http://www.click2houston.com/news/15925957/detail.html. The accompanying videos that I enjoyed the most were the 3rd, a "Houston TV Legend", the 8th, "Reminiscences of the Front Porch", and the 9th, when Doug & Ron reunited for a one-nite stand in 2002.]
The nightly newscast always closed on a neat story, a piece of good news -- always.
Then, Ron would give his signature close with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, saying, "Good night, friends and neighbors."
He was a fabulous story teller!
We were members of the same church, as it happened, and I was fortunate enough to hear him speak on several occasions. He had one favorite story that he liked to tell. It's been so long since I've heard it that I'm not going to remember many of the details, but the crux of this story was the Know Nothing Party. (It was either that or the Do Nothing Party. Doesn't matter, really, either version would be hilarious!)
Ron had this knack of wrapping a bunch of fiction around a few facts, just enough facts to make the story somewhat believable, and the subject of all this hilarity, as I recall, was Millard Fillmore. I heard the story twice, actually, but I don't think it was quite the same the second time around. No matter. We laughed and laughed!
He had a way of knowing just when to pause, when to skip on ahead, which phrase would be put to best use. Never a miscue. It was obvious that he loved to speak, and we loved to hear him.
He always greeted everyone with a smile and a quick word, and looked you straight in the eyes while doing so.
While I never really knew him personally, I feel a sense of loss at his passing. At the same time, I feel lucky to have known him at all. Go with God, Ron.