Deceased December 27, 2017
Ron Ohl died suddenly and peacefully, of a stroke, on Dec. 27, 2017. He came to Amherst from Warren, Ohio.
Ron’s activities at Amherst, where he is remembered for his gracious and friendly ways, included the Phi Gam fraternity, crew, chapel choir, glee club, Harlan Fiske Stone Law Society, prom committee and class choregus. He had an accomplished tenor voice—and indeed after graduation studied opera in Rome for a year on the Edward Poole Traveling Fellowship, provided by Amherst.
Ron loved academia and the challenges of studying and learning. After studying opera, he returned to the U.S., receiving a master’s degree in medieval history from Columbia University. He then went on to study theology, graduating from Union Theological Seminary with honors in 1964. He later earned a Ph.D. in Renaissance history from the University of Pennsylvania.
Upon being ordained by the United Church of Christ in 1965, Ron continued in academia but as staff/faculty rather than student. First, dean of students at Colorado College and then assistant to the president and VP at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He ended his career as president of Salem College/Teikyo University (1983-2001), where one of his great loves was creating and building opportunities for Japanese students to achieve the benefits of American education. He wanted to build bridges between the two countries.
Community activities included service on the boards of the United Way, the Salvation Army, Rotary Club, Boys and Girls Club, Chamber of Commerce, among others. He was a son of the American Revolution, a member of the Vero Beach (Florida) Yacht Club and formerly a member of the Lewes Yacht Club and the University Club of New York.
Ron received the Distinguished West Virginian Award in 2000.
Ron was smitten by a stroke in January of 2010, from which he never fully recovered. His stroke probably would have been fatal had his faithful dog, Duffy, not alerted family members enabling them to get prompt medical attention. Ron was a model of good cheer, patience and perseverance in the years following the stroke as he gradually improved. He stands as an example for all of us.
Ron’s post-stroke years were all the better for the loving care of his wife of 43 years, Joan Eschenbach Ohl, who survives him; the faithful companionship of dog Charlie, who succeeded Duffy and who saved Ron’s life twice in 2017, and cat Bocelli. Ron loved Amherst. He and Joan and Charlie attended our 55th; and it was their intention to attend the 60th.
A beautiful and moving memorial service was held at the Community Church of Vero Beach on Jan. 5, 2018.
John E. G. Bischof ’58