Eulogy for Ronnie Resnick

October 6, 2010

From Ron’s big sister Linda,

My baby brother Ronnie was gifted child.  He was blonde, blue eyed and intellectually advanced from an early age.  He was the “golden boy” especially to his mother, Anna, but to me he was my mischievous little bother.  I want to share his earlier life with you, since you all know him as an adult.

I was five years older and tormented him as older siblings often do.  Cuddling under the sheets in his twin bed, I would tell him stories of the big boogey man and the little boogey man and shine a hidden flash light against the wall to dramatize these stories.

He invited me into his bedroom to watch him play with Legos (he called them bricks); we would sing Al Jolsen’s “Mammy” and I would watch him create intricate buildings which he would knock down with great panache after completion.

We lived in close proximity to our cousins who would visit, play ping-pong, watch TV and celebrate holidays and Sunday dinners.  We would eat next door at our Grandma Ida and Grandpa Morris’ home with our beloved Aunt Sarah and Uncle Sol.  It felt like every male in our family was Sol, which was our dad’s name. So there was Sol Rifkin, Sol Cooperman, Cousin Sol (you get the picture.)

What you may not know about Ron is that he was so bright that he skipped a grade in school and was in SP classes (special progress).  He was political from an early age and criticized the US government, liked jazz, collected stuff and refused to be a part of organized religion, sports or for that matter, most aspects of traditional middle class, Jewish Democratic culture.

Becoming a diabetic at age 12 set the stage for his adult life.  (Oh, those bad genes that he inherited.)  He did love to eat especially sweets, fought against the traditional wisdom of controlling sugar intake, planting beautiful peonies and veggies.  He reminded me recently about how I “stole” his chocolate icing from a hiding place in the kitchen where he saved it for the next day.

When he was 18 years old, he stayed with my husband and me in our apartment in NYC between college semesters.  What he did not tell me, until the day before he left, was that he was dropping out of George Washington University, selling his stamp collection, car and had booked a one way flight around the world.  He left it to me to tell our parents.

On that trip he feel in love with Australia and wanted to make it his home.  Our  mother bribed him to return to the States with the promise of paying his flight back to Australia if he completed college.  He became a Goldwater Republican and campaigned for him to be president in 1964, Goldwater lost to Johnson. He graduated Miami University.

True to his vision -- he returned to Australia 42 years ago and then moved to Nelson over 20 years ago to his perfect home.

Frank Sinatra’s song about how one lives their life clearly represents Ron’s  – “I did it my way”.

He is my only brother, he was a sweet, funny curmudgeon.  I deeply mourn his passing.His Resnick, Rifkin and Cooperman families will celebrate his life in NY and LA and his Far Rockaway High School classmates are communicating their grief through Facebook.

He will be deeply missed by Stu and I and his niece Tamra and her family Aaron and his great niece Sonia (LuLu).

I know he created a family for himself in Nelson and in Australia -- friends that shared his short and colorful life. To you all (and especially Andrew, Roz and Anne who are managing this process) I send my love and appreciation. Celebrate his life with a great cup of coffee and a quote from a New Yorker cartoon..

All of you gathered today have shared his life, passions and in the end helped him die and celebrate his life as he would have wanted.

To you all:

Shalom ---Shanty, shanty, peace be with you.