Remembering Ronnie

Dear Aaron,

This week is the one year anniversary of Ronnie’s death. We are marking this day by sending a bit of his life story to the network of people who include those who came to know him personally, and those who, through his life’s work, supported him, loved him and followed his efforts over the last twenty-six years as International Director of Organic Consumers Association, authoring articles, books, editing the OCA newsletter and before that BioDemocracy News.


Ronnie grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, with a loving family in a town with oil refineries and chemical plants where his father and every one of his friends’ fathers worked. He always knew he wanted to leave where he grew up, a place known as “cancer alley”. He earned a scholarship to both Rice University and Trinity College of Cambridge University in England. As he found himself in Europe, in 1968, his world view was blown apart as he saw students rising up in Paris against the Vietnam war. He was inspired and when he returned home he joined the anti-war movement here in the US. The fact that 3 million people died in that war remained unfathomable to him for the rest of his life; he felt that young people really needed to know more about what happened during that time and how the protest movement helped to stop that tragic war. He was proud of being part of the counterculture, he loved wearing a rasta hat in the airport because he said people smiled at him. He played guitar had a beautiful singing voice and loved Dylan, John Prine, Van Morrison, and Lennon.

He was a scholar foremost, he devoured books and I suppose was a news junkie in his areas of study, some of which he coined in our OCA byline “Campaigning for Health, Justice, Regeneration, Democracy and Peace”.  He researched a wide range of issues, but made it his mission to work with others to break down silos between our individual heartfelt causes, urging us all to connect the dots and unite the movement. He often reiterated the importance of working with people we may not agree with on all issues, to claim our power and do what we can to make a change in a world we are at odds with on so many fronts.

He had a gift in both his speaking and writing to take complicated topics and make them easy to grasp, never using a notebook or powerpoint, the facts and figures would roll off his tongue and he was like a preacher on the pulpit passionately sharing the good news and bad amidst sometimes scary scenarios. Whether on stage or with his written words always emphasizing, we have the power to turn things around!

Most people know Ronnie as a strong, passionate strategist and fighter who would never back down in the quest for truth and justice in our work. His legacy will live on in his extensive body of written work, and for all he has done to fight against the corporations and government that is profiting off the suffering of people. I am honored to have worked side by side with him helping to build the OCA together with our community of activists. I am proud to take on the role of National Director of the OCA and work with our dedicated team to continue our mission and work. I thought it would be nice to share a bit of the story on the personal side of his life many people never saw.

As a lifelong partner in both our work and family life Ronnie inspired me, took care of me, encouraged me to be the best person I could be. I remember telling my friends that I knew in 1981, that he was the one I would spend the rest of my life with because he had the most infectious laugh ever and he made me more happy than I could have imagined. Over the years I discovered the depth of true love and thanked my lucky stars for how fortunate I was to spend my life with someone so loving, generous, compassionate, responsible, curious, dedicated, grateful, fun, sentimental, fiery, romantic and funny! He was a wonderful father and often said it was the greatest joy of his life to raise our son Adrian who changed our world in so many ways, as children do.

He loved the tradition of family gatherings and any kind of celebration, and in all of our years together, I don’t remember once where he said, “I’m not up for it, go ahead without me.” He always wanted to be in the full stream of life, whether it be our after work daily summer swims in the Baptism River in Minnesota or our long daily hikes at the farm school in Mexico or a gathering of community, family or friends. For him, besides his passion for learning, what fed his core was being close to nature and he made it a priority to spend as much time as possible in the northern woods, desert or in the water of wild places. He always came back from the many conferences he attended brimming with news of how great it was to connect with and learn from other activists and friends full of inspiration for the next steps in campaigning.

Rose Welch
OCA Co-founder and National Director

I never stopped being struck with his manners and consideration, almost always coming home with a cheery greeting, good story, bearing flowers or suggestions for an outing and when pulling out the guitar to sing, he would start with a love song directed to me before launching into the protest and folk music for me or people gathered.

Ronnie was always confident in my abilities and respectful of my point of view. Our personal lives and work were interdependent by choice because we loved our work. There was always so much to discuss and learn, often more action than what we really wanted, given the ups and downs of running non-profit organizations, but we often said, “At least it’s never boring!” Whether working on messaging of controversial issues, struggles with fundraising, mistakes made, victories to celebrate, building friendships with our team and amazing activists in the movement, it all kept our lives vital and fulfilling.

One thing he often said to me when I would get concerned about how we were going to manage finances, censorship, criticism or conflict in the world of running an organization like OCA, he would say, “sweetie, we’re doing the best we can and that’s all we can do”.

Shortly before Ronnie died, he told some close friends “I did good”. I know he had faith in himself and that he knew he had done all he could in this lifetime to make this world a healthier, more peaceful place for generations to come. I guess that is as much as we can ask for when we leave this earthly plane; to know in our hearts we have done all we can in this life with the time we are given.

So, signing off with a wish for all reading this, to be able to know you are doing the “best you can and that you are doing good”. Ronnie’s spirit is right there beside you in your journey to do good in this lifetime.

Thank you for all your support and I will keep on fighting the good fight as National Director of the OCA with the help of our talented and dedicated staff and all of you!

With appreciation and solidarity,

For all you did Ronnie from all of us here at Aladay Mobile Media thank you

Until next time

Happy Gardenia

Aaron Aveiro