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Ron Bergamo – A Spirit of Arizona

(1 of 3 Part Tribute)
January 7, 2008

Ron BergamoI am a Rain-Walker. The rain soothes me, relaxes me – helps me think and sort things out. From a God Wink at Starbucks this morning, I learned of the loss of Ron Bergamo. Politically correct; his passing. Physically correct; his death. And within moments another God Wink brought a shower of rain. So, I set forth in it.Western duster, Tilley Hat, and Nubble my loyal dog. The rain comes from God where I like to think Ron already is, so maybe I might touch and be touched by them both, again. Each raindrop a prism of color and understanding, every drop a mini-massage to answer that question of, “With all Ron has done and does – why take him now….and not me?” I’m in no rush to go – it just seemed unfair to the Arizona and the world.

Like many, it was during his stint as GM at KTSP turned KSAZ TV-10, I got to know Ron and soon Janie, for no one knew Ron long without him bragging on his wife.Back then I had my company, Celebrity Promotions, whereby I raised money for charities, producing fund-raising events featuring major celebrities. It gave me the pleasure and honor of bringing Ron together with some great and colorful folks, though in all fairness – Ron always had his own rainbow of celebrities and stars eager to be around him. Janie, by far being the favorite in his constellation.

Ron taught me a lot, and I will always thank him. Ever supportive in helping me to secure charitable funds for producing events, arranging media with air-time, and then attending the actual events – paying for his own tickets, and always arriving early, asking me, “Pierre – What can Janie and I do to help?” Ron knew the higher meaning of the word ‘Service’ – and the higher meaning of ‘Work’ too. He became an on-going active cheerleader once I took that leap from the nest to build my wings on the way down as a writer and author.

Some heard the story of the attempt to save Coach Don Robinson’s Men’s Gymnastics Team at ASU and when I introduced him to Willie Nelson on the famed bus. As soon as they shook hands, the legendary singer offered a ‘smoke’ to Ron who politely thanked him and declined. What some did not hear was, that after shaking hands, Willie hugged me and whispered in my ear, “It’s in his eyes and hands. There’s a man you can trust. Keep him around you.” I did my best, and regret we didn’t get to that lunch in last December.

Ron changed the call letters at KTSP to KSAZ to denote the “Spirit in Arizona.” He let his Spirit shine through him, seven days a week, proud without preaching. He was one of those in business I have been honored to know that successfully allowed the chain of the world and ribbon of his Higher Self to operate together in all he did. And, his continued mutual love-affair with Janie gave me hope that I might one day yet find such a partnership. The pride, love and esteem for his kids, simply awesome.

Of late I would see Ron when taking Best-Selling Authors and Celebrities to appear on The Pat McMahon Show where he was GM of AZ-TV. No matter how hectic it was, Ron would make sure to bring me into his corner office and introduce me with a flowering introduction to whoever he was meeting with at the time, presenting me as if I was already a Best-Selling author myself, because in his eyes – I was.

Ron made me feel special because he saw me as special – and he gave that gift to so very many.Motivator, cheerleader, coach. People succeeded as he saw the success in them and helped them see it in themselves. I, as many, found myself wanting to make him proud. True, he was a member of boards and committees and councils, but he was an active member! He walked his talk. He always made time for me.He always made time for so many. He was one of God’s teachers and deliverers of miracles.

I connected Ron with Hugh O’Brian, “Wyatt Earp” from TV’s black & white days, so the media mogul could speak with the kids of HOBY and answer some of their hard-hitting questions about media, entertainment and the world. Hugh later told me, “That Ron is a class act. He is one of the good guys. An obvious leader respected by leaders. Don’t you ever let him down – you better learn from him!”

Og Mandino, the legendary author, was another enlightened soul I was blessed to connect with Ron and they became friends. Speaking at a fund-raiser as I sat with Ron and Janie, the motivational guru told us if we ever felt down, “Keep an obituary by your bed. Anytime you feel behind, pull it out and read it. There is a whole list of people that would gladly trade places with you.” Ron, in his power-suit, reached over and patted my arm, giving me that Ron wink and elfish smile.

Ron and I often talked things over in Pischke’s Paradise. Solving world problems, and he encouraging me to use what he said, God gave me to use. We agreed that this ‘life’ was not all choreographed and scripted out like some Movie-of-the-Week. That there may be some opportunities placed before us, but that there is always the freedom of choices. I thought of those talks as I walked in the rain and now sit and still wonder, “Why was Ron taken when he did so much to make this a better place? When he helped so many to be better people?” And I feel his hand on my wrist.

So, as I write this, still moist from our Arizona rains, I unfold the newspaper I had picked up today. I will ‘edit’ the bold headline announcing the horrid news and just clip out “Ron Bergamo” to tape to my desk for now. I am not sure I could handle the obituary. Maybe God figured Ron was doing so much, He needed to take him so that there would be some things left for the rest of us to do. I cut out his name and tape it where I will see it. Ron Bergamo was a blessing in my life, and remembering him is a motivation for me. He has influenced how I make choices. I know my being in action when I think of him would be the best tribute. But for today, I am just going to miss him.

 - End 1 of 3 parts -

Reprinted with Permission of East Valley Tribune and AZTV.com

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