Rushville Republican

October 11, 2013

A tribute to a longtime friend

Bill Ward
Rushville Republican

---- — I recently had to do something I have been doing way too frequently recently, pay my respects to a friend and old-time employee. Ron Tungate was a worker any company would love to have. He was never late, he worked hard, did his job well and he stayed with us through thick and thin. Ron was one of those individuals that at times I wondered if it wasn’t me working for him. He never complained (to me anyway) and watched out for my and his company. He and Ed Daugherty were with me for about as long as I was at White Felt and both of them were friends as well as co-workers and I would do anything for both of them.

Ron ran our mixing room and he did a great job. Seldom did we have problems with the product we produced because of Ron. He watched over the machines, cleaned them daily and told me if something needed to be repaired. Probably most important of all, he cared; he cared for his fellow employees, his boss and my wife and his family. His mother lived nearby for several years and she would always be out walking every day she could (and some she should not have). Ron took care of her right up to the end; he took her to the grocery and if he took a drive he would take his mother too, just to get her out.

He was, along with Eddie, people I could and did frequently trust and ask for help when needed, and both never turned me down.

Ron had a heart as big as all outdoors; he would give you the shirt off his back if he felt you needed it. He was, in his way, a character. If he didn’t moan and groan when I came in each morning I was worried he was mad at me for some reason. I think he felt I needed the complaining to get me up and going each day. His job was dirty and miserable but he never complained; in fact, he made fun of it for all who came in contact with him. New guys would find him checking up on them for a few days just to be sure they were doing what he and I thought they should be doing. He and his wife were and are both wonderful, caring people and I am glad to call them friends.

Ronny was one of those you just could not help but like. I remember one time when I did something very stupid: got pretty well banged up and actually knocked out. It was in his mixing room and I had been hit by a solid steel door; I should have waited for the machine to stop, but I didn’t. Bam! I got hit just below my nose and knocked back against a brick wall. Evidently it made a huge noise and Ron and Ed ran into the room to check on me. I woke up with Ron yelling, “Ward is dead! Ward is dead!” What an awakening that was. I was pretty well bloodied but not seriously hurt, other than my feelings. Ron helped get me up and in a car to the hospital. I received several stitches and was thankful I was not hurt worse than I was.

When I came to work the next day Ron was in rare form and tore me up and down with a lecture on safety. He said I should listen to my own safety sessions and pay attention around those nasty, mean machines. I loved him for it; to me, it showed he did like me and was concerned about me. He was on me for some time afterward just to be sure I was listening. He cared; he cared for all those he worked with be they there 20 years or 20 minutes.

Ron adopted his wife’s children as well as another young man who needed a father figure. He was as concerned about those boys as if they were his natural children. He worried about them and fussed about them just like any good father should. He lived as he worked: compassionately, completely and to the maximum extent he could. Just before I left the plant Ron had a bad problem show up and we took him to the hospital against his wishes. They found problems with his lungs and eventually he had major surgery on them. He was still the good old Ron we all knew and missed.

After I sold the plant he went to work at the Dutch Mill in Milroy until they closed shop. He was as good for them as he was for me.

I would look into his wellbeing periodically and he would grow onions just for me during the summer. He always thought of the other person and for that I admired him even more.

Ron is gone now, but his spirit and his family live on. He did as he felt was right - and he was usually right. He loved work and showed it. He was a true and faithful friend, one I will miss.