Bass Park dedicatedPublished 1:56pm Monday, September 3, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — It looked like the Oakland Raiders were in town with his family wearing jerseys of his beloved football team to Friday’s dedication of Ronald E. Bass Memorial Park.
Bass’s own jersey bore the number of defensive back Jack Tatum, who played 10 seasons, 1971-1980, for the National Football League Raiders and Houston Oilers. Popularly known as “The Assassin,” the Ohio State University product was a feared tackler known as one of the hardest hitters ever.
“This is a reminder not of Ron’s death, but of the life he lived and of his commitment to the community and to our school system,” said Elder David Johnson, pastor of Christ Temple Church, who officiated his cousin’s funeral.
According to the resolution Cassopolis Village Council adopted, “We recognize the dedication, devotion and fortitude Ron showed in providing service to the village, community and school system … we embrace Ronald’s family to show our support and love. In the loss of our beloved DPW superintendent, we will forever have a memory that will be with us for the rest of our lives. Though we cannot replace Ron, we will continue to show our love and respect for him” by naming the park at the northeast corner of Disbrow and State streets a block west of the 1899 courthouse.
Bass, 50, died suddenly of natural causes after the April 9 council meeting.
He had been with the Department of Public Services for 21 years, including the last six as superintendent.
His widow, Ruby, who released blue and white balloons along with Police Chief Frank Williams, said his family appreciated the support of a throng that included Village President Clare Mallo and Cassopolis Public Schools Supt. Tracy Hertsel.
“Everybody loved Ronald, and Ronald loved Cassopolis,” she said. “I was only married to Ronald for two years and four months. I asked him once if he ever considered moving out of Cassopolis to a bigger city. He said, ‘No, I just love this town.’ He and the chief loved each other like brothers. They talked every day. Even on the weekends, they called each other up. I’m originally from Germany. After Ron and I got together, about two months later he and I were in a serious motorcycle wreck.”
“After so many years working with Ron, I still come into the office and miss him. I love Ron and know he’s looking down,” Williams said.
“He loved the Oakland Raiders since we were teenagers,” Johnson said. “He was also wrapped up in wrestling. We wrestled together in high school. Wrestling was his baby. He donated a lot of his personal money to make sure the boys had what they needed.”
Dan Swiatkowski of Decorative Brick Pavers, who designed the park, was one of Bass’ neighbors when they were growing up.
“We played together, went to school together, did everything together,” Swiatkowski said. “I sure do miss him. He was a great person with a big heart. We made each other laugh. We all worked at Creation Windows at one time. Ron got me in.”