Dear Fellow Page Members,
I have some sad news to share with you. Our friend and fellow Page member Ron Rhody has passed away at the age of 91.
Ron was inducted into the Page Hall of Fame in 1996. In his long and illustrious corporate career, Ron served as executive vice
president and director of corporate communications and external affairs at Bank of America; as corporate vice president and director of public relations and advertising for Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation; as a newspaper reporter, editor and broadcast news director; and in Kentucky state government.
He was the author of several business books, including “The CEO’s Playbook – Managing the Outside Forces That Shape Success.” Following his retirement, Ron served as adjunct professor of communication at The University of the Pacific. He also authored three novels: “The Theo Trilogy,” “Concerning the Matter of the King of Craw” and “One Last Strike Before Dark.”
To me, Ron was a kind, thoughtful and generous friend. Every time I encountered him at a Page event, he was engaged and encouraging.
Ron’s Page Hall of Fame induction remarks, entitled "Of Wooly Buggers, Managers, and Times to Come," delivered hilariously bloody anecdotes and foreshadowed a future in which the most senior PR executives would take on more significant responsibility, as we have certainly seen since 1996.
The best leaders in our field, he observed, “… knew their company's business as well as the line managers; they were damn good at what they did; they delivered when it counted, but perhaps most important, they all had strong, synergistic relationships with the top management of their firms. They were known. They were respected. They were trusted.”
The San Francisco Academy, which Ron founded, was the first major effort to provide training for up-and-coming leaders in our profession. The incredibly successful Page Future Leaders Experience was inspired by it.
Ron is remembered fondly by Page colleagues:
|Don Wright, Harold Burson professor and chair in public relations, Boston University College of Communication; recipient of the Page Distinguished Service Award|
Ron Rhody was one of the pillars of corporate communication practice. With his work as CCO of Kaiser Aluminum and Bank of America, he played a major role in moving the public relations industry away from publicity and into a management function. He also was a huge supporter of communication research and education. He'll be missed!
|Ann Barkelew, general manager emerita, Fleishman/Minnesota and former CCO, Dayton Hudson Corporation; recipient of the Page Distinguished Service Award|
Ron Rhody was in a class by himself! He was a professional to emulate and a visionary for our profession. He was the first to identify and then create a program for our CCO back-ups, giving them opportunities for growth through the San Francisco Academy, which he headed and provided much of the funding. He inspired so many of us to think bigger and make sure that the Page umbrella extended to the West Coast. He and Patsy were a joy to know and watch as, in retirement, he became a published storyteller. I am sad knowing that I won’t see his FB postings or get early samples of his new stories. I feel so lucky he was my friend.
|Steve Harris, former CCO at GM; member of the Page Hall of Fame |
As I came up through the ranks in corporate PR, Ron Rhody was a legendary figure. I got to meet him through Page and always found him approachable and willing to take the time for a PR problem, question or just chit chat. I loved and respected his low-key approach to all he had accomplished in his life and career. His passing is a tremendous loss for us all.
|Frank Kalupa, former Page educator member, former professor at James Madison University; current strategic communication consultant|
Ron Rhody was an exceptional standout in our profession as well as a wonderful friend. Among his many innovative professional accomplishments, Ron was instrumental in establishing the award-winning San Francisco Academy, a nationwide post-graduate executive development program in corporate communication.
Here is a link to Ron’s obituary, which notes that a celebration of Ron’s life will be held at a future date. Friends are invited to donate in Ron’s memory to the Moore County Food Bank in North Carolina or to their preferred charitable cause.
I know the entire Page community joins me in expressing to Ron Rhody’s family and friends our heartfelt condolences for the loss of this giant of our profession.
I love this sentence from a Washington Post report on Betty Ford's memorial service: Betty Ford, a…