Ron Black, a retired law enforcement captain and owner of The Double Eagle Resort in June Lake as well as Snowcreek Athletic Club in Mammoth, passed away Thursday from cancer. He was 71.
In his retirement, Black volunteered in many capacities locally, serving as a member of the Mono County Planning Commission as well as the June Lake Citizens Advisory Committee. He also volunteered as the June Lake Fire Commissioner and spent one year as the foreman of the Mono County Grand Jury.
Black was always quick with a smile and a handshake, and possessed a laconic, subtle wit that was simultaneously innocent and devilish. He couldn’t resist his little jokes, and he couldn’t suppress the smile to let you in on them.
Ron simply exuded warmth. He was nice to be around.
His love affair with his wife was both storybook and lifelong. He and Connie were high school sweethearts at Cal High in Whittier, where Ron quarterbacked the football team and Connie was a cheerleader.
After high school, however, each went their separate ways.
Over three decades later, however, the sweethearts reunited upon learning that each of their marriages had ended, and Ron spent his remaining years happily married to the woman he loved.
In the interim, he enjoyed a long and storied career in law enforcement, finishing his career as a captain with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept.
There was a four-year period in the 1980s where Ron was placed in charge of Mens Central Jail in Los Angeles, the largest jail in the world according to son-in-law (and fellow co-owner of Snwocreek A.C., Ralph Lockhart), with over 7,000 prisoners and a 300-bed hospital.
During his career, Ron also worked in counterterrorism, gaming enforcement and gangs. He was part of the team that arrested Charles Manson. He was there the night Sirhan Sirhan killed Bobby Kennedy.
One of the great ironies of Ron’s life was that when he received a heart transplant five years ago, the heart came from a 20 year old Mexican gang member. Ron was able to meet the widow and her 4 year old son and has maintained a supportive relationship with them.
And from Paul Rudder:
On first meeting Ron Black, you couldn’t help but notice that he was a big guy. What soon became more obvious was that he had an even bigger heart. As a retired law enforcement captain, it wouldn’t have come as any surprise to me if Ron had been a tough, hard-bitten guy used to dealing with the worst criminals L.A. had to offer. In fact, Ron was used to dealing with those guys and it was fascinating to hear him tell about them. Oddly enough though, Ron was exactly the opposite of tough and hard-bitten; he was such a nice, caring, warm-hearted guy that it was a singular pleasure to spend time in his company.
My wife Kathleen and I liked the Blacks immediately upon meeting them and we spent many vacations together. And quite simply, we always had a ball. Usually on these trips, I would pick up a couple boxes of Cuban cigars to bring home, getting rid of the boxes and the cigar bands so as to get through customs. With an irrepressible twinkle in his eye, Ron would happily inform me that I could expect to get busted, and he would gladly turn state’s evidence and help the Feds pack me away for a good long stretch in cigar smuggler’s prison. While that never happened, how could you not like somebody willing to snitch on you at the first opportunity?
Ron was totally open, completely caring, and just one of those people whose presence was so powerful and positive that you just felt good being around him. To say that we will miss Ron doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, Oct. 19, at 10:30 a.m. at the LDS Church, 2150 Bonita Canyon Drive, Newport Beach, Calif. Gravesite services will immediately follow at Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona del Mar, Calif.