Professor Keith Ronald
August 24, 1928 - July 6, 2017 –
On Thursday, July 6, 2017, Professor Keith Ronald died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Guelph, Ontario. He is profoundly missed by his beloved wife Patricia of 63 years, loving daughter Karen and partner David, sister-in-law Margaret, niece Lyn, and nephew Andrew. He was predeceased by his brother Peter.
Keith, a force of nature, was born in Cardiff Wales and came by his passion for the seas and all things marine naturally as his father was Major Superintendent of Consolidated Fisheries at Swansea, Wales. Keith attended Wycliffe College at Lampeter, played rugby for Wales, and was a Royal Artillery Gunner. He followed his brother to Canada where he worked on a farm in Quebec, honed his impressive car rally skills driving a city bus in Montreal and ended up at McGill University. He graduated with a PhD in Parasitology in 1958, and began his academic career at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph that same year.
Dr. Ronald, he became a full professor at the University of Guelph in 1964, Chair of the Department of Zoology 1964-71, and the first Dean of the College of Biological Science 1971-1983. Many people questioned the feasibility of establishing a Marine Biology program in Central Canada. Undaunted, he persisted and hosted 19 seals and 1 polar bear - Huxley - during his tenure. Keith’s profound passion resulted in efforts to establish marine parks in the Mediterranean and work as a scientific advisor for the Canadian Government and World Wildlife Fund. He completed his career at Guelph as the Director of the Arboretum. His final career path allowed him an ideal lifestyle - driving his boat to the Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he taught as an Adjunct Professor.
Keith Ronald adored all fast cars and boats of any kind. His love for speed resulted in him becoming Canadian Rally Champion of 1969 with navigator, Admiral John Slade. He nurtured his Aston Martin along with a series of rather unusual vehicles. He had the good fortune to spend a great deal of time sailing in the Mediterranean, where he was most at home. Music meant so much to him and he loved opera. In spite of his being Welsh, he admitted it was best he not sing out loud. Enjoying meals with friends the world over was one of his greatest pleasures among his favourite dishes - pickled walnuts, black forest cake and kippers.
Keith and Patricia traveled extensively and made friends the world over. They so enjoyed their time together exploring new places, meeting up with old friends along the way and making new friends. Their home on Lyon Avenue in Guelph was a place where all were welcome and everyone was expected to enjoy themselves.
Keith had a special bond with his only daughter, Karen; they remained close friends and confidantes throughout his life. Keith and Karen spent many a fine time enjoying each other’s company, a good meal and a laugh or three.
Keith, with his beloved and loving Pat at his side, was a great friend to so many people in so many walks of life. His sense of humour helped many a sad or frustrated soul through challenging times.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating a tree to the Arboretum, through the Memorial Forest program via the WALL-CUSTANCE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 519-822-0051 or www.wallcustance.com. Perhaps the best way to commemorate his memory would be to reach out to someone in need and do something kind.
A private church service for family and intimate friends will be held.
A celebration of his life will be held on his birthday August 24th at 1 pm at the Arboretum, University of Guelph. All are welcome.
In honour of Keith, next time you raise a glass, offer the Welsh toast, Yukky Da!
|A tree will be planted in memory of Keith Ronald in the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest, University of Guelph Arboretum. Dedication service, Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm.|