Rest in Peace, Ron, Mr. DTM

Moments ago I found out one of my fellow Buffalo Toastmasters mentors passed away. Ron Wachenheim, a spirited soul and a great mentor, told literally the best stories.

I met Ron a year ago at my first Toastmaster International meeting. He welcomed me with enthusiasm. His poise and polish inspired. Despite earning Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), the highest honor bestowed in Toastmasters International, he continued to share thoughtful, entertaining speeches month after month. I’ll always remember his story about the year he vowed to never spend Christmas alone.

His positive encouragement brought warmth and humanity to our meetings. I can still hear his clap from our December meeting, now frozen in time:wpid-Ron_Wachenheim_DTM_RIP1-2011-03-1-14-185.jpgAnd he was a pretty good shot with a dart gun, too. wpid-Ron_Wachenheim_DTM_RIP2-2011-03-1-14-185.jpgwpid-Ron_Wachenheim_DTM_RIP4-2011-03-1-14-185.jpgWhen I grow up, I want to be like Ron.

8 Responses to “Rest in Peace, Ron, Mr. DTM”

  1. Larry Brummond — March 1, 2011 @ 4:33 pm (#)

    Ron truly loved Toastmasters and was always willing to step in wherever needed. I know he made an incredible number of friends over the years in various clubs. He had a great sense of humor and truly cared about helping others and sharing his life and wisdom. I know I, along with many many others, will miss Ron very much.

  2. Mark Steers — March 1, 2011 @ 6:18 pm (#)

    I am so sorry to see Ron go. He was truly a very fine fellow and a great Toastmaster He was the best role model I ever saw, as far as how to be a ‘good’ Toastmaster. Even though he had his DTM and had held many, many positions of leadership at the Club level, Area level and several at the District level, he never tried to intimidate anyone with his credentials and expect automatic respect, but was always willing to be supportive of all members, no matter their level of experience. He always did this in a very friendly and effective way. I tried to follow his example, but fell short, way too often, but I truly appreciated being able to see how “it” could be and should be done. I benefited from his sage and friendly advice throughout the time I knew Ron.

    When I met him I think he was in three (maybe four?) clubs at the same time. I remember when he decided that he was going to limit his activities to just one club. It was a happy day when he decided to stay with Buffalo as his only club. Buffalo benefited greatly over the years from his knowledge and focused energy, support and enthusiasm. Even with his very high level of experience and expertise, he was willing to help out, because I think he realized and appreciated how much of a life-changing factor Toastmasters can be in a person’s life. He worked hard to support Buffalo and all of its members by being a very strong member himself. Perhaps what I admired most about Ron, was that he never cared if he always got credit for any of his efforts. Instead I think he must have taken a lot of satisfaction in knowing that he had helped, inspired, and helped to improve the skills and thus the lives of many fellow Toastmasters through his generous efforts. I’m glad I was one of the lucky ones!

  3. Raymond Hebert II — March 1, 2011 @ 10:37 pm (#)

    To The Grandmaster of Buffalo TM,

    Ron, I wil always remember your heartfelt enthusiasm for this club and your choice to stay with Buffalo TM throughout the years. You truly made this club GREAT and I thank you for all you gave. I think my favorite story you always told concerned your first encounter with a professor who after hearing your first attempt at public speaking recommended you “run” to the toastmasters club and begin honing your skills as a public speaker. Ron, my quest to become a DTM is now wholeheartedly dedicated to you and your legacy! May you rest in peace dear friend!


  4. Betty Chavira — March 2, 2011 @ 9:19 am (#)

    Ron lived the “Toastmasters Promise”, attending meetings with enthusiasm, modeling great Table Topics skills, dedicated to a lifetime of learning, stepping forward to serve as an officer in the club, always promoting the value of Toastmasters to improve skills and enrich lives. I will miss you Ron, and keep the image of you jumping up to do Table Topics at every opportunity when I was still quaking from fear…Betty

  5. Francesca — March 2, 2011 @ 9:39 am (#)

    I remember my first encounter with Ron when I came as a guest to a Buffalo TM meeting. Ron was very quick to introduce himself & welcome me…going a long way toward making a nervous newcomer feel comfortable. He has always personified not only what it means to excel at being a well-polished speaker but also what it means to be a friendly, caring person always taking advantage of opportunities to compliment and encourage all of us.
    He will certainly be missed…I would like to end with a quote from Cesar Chavez that I feel appropriately describes Ron.
    “True wealth is not measured in money, status, or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love, and those we inspire.”

  6. Darryle Brown — March 17, 2011 @ 10:17 pm (#)

    I am tremendously saddened by Ron’s passing. He was truly a shining example of leadership, class and style that all of us who had the privilege of knowing him could hope to emulate. We will carry on the torch in his honor and I’m sure he knew how we much all loved and respected him deeply.

    I raise a toast high to our brother Ron. The impact he had on our lives will be deeply cherished for years to come.


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