Ronny Dean Newman began life in Lake City, Iowa on December 4, 1938. He enjoyed humorously noting that there was actually NO lake, and NO city. His parents, Harold and Verva Astleford Newman continued on to have 10 more children. Life for the large Newman family in rural Iowa was characterized by conditions typical of the Great Depression. Ron claimed that he and his siblings each got one pair of shoes per year - at the first snowfall. His mother took a job outside the house after the ninth child, leaving Ron in charge of "the little puppies," as he referred to the siblings under his care.
After graduating from Lake City High School, Ron enrolled in
, where he proudly achieved the shooting rank of Marksman. Being stationed in Nuremburg, Germany allowed Ronnie to "see the world," instilling in him a life-long interest in travel, and history. GI Bill in hand, Ron pursued an education, graduating from CSU Long Beach in 1964 with degrees in History and English. While in college, Ron married Donna Rafferty in August, 1962. He supplemented his income by "flipping pancakes" at the Pancake House.
In 1967 Ron was hired to teach History at Thurston Intermediate School in Laguna Beach, CA. The combination of his academic prowess and fun-loving creativity were a perfect match for this avant-guarde school. Three years later, in 1970, Ron and Donna, each being one of 11 siblings, produced their one and only child, Melissa.
In 1977 Ron earned a Masters Degree from
in Social Ecology. Three years later, 1981, he moved from Thurston to Laguna Beach High School, again teaching History. Students loved their good-natured teacher who resembled Santa Claus, with his full head of white hair, white beard and mustache, a belly, and always a twinkle in his deep blue eyes. Ron was not only a terrific teacher, but he also contributed greatly to LBHS. He repeatedly served as Department and Division Chair, Master Teacher, Mock Trial director, gifted student instructor, and Director of the all-important School Improvement Program. During this time Ron also studied Psychology at UC Irvine. He retired from teaching in 2000.
Ron married Lolita, his "brown-eyed girl," in 1986 and assimilated lovingly into her large Dutch-
family. The couple traveled extensively in the US, Europe, and Indonesia. In retirement Ron also studied art, specializing in Impressionist-style paintings.
Alas, after several years of decline, Ron died on January 2, 2013, of complications from
. He is survived by his daughter, Melissa Brauchler, her husband Robert, and their children Robbie, Evan, Noah, and Christiana. On Lola's side he is survived by of course Lola, her sons Paul and Ray, and their children, Abigail, Sabrina, Isaiah, and Dakota.