Obituary

Ron Kalom,

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Ron Kalom, died peacefully after a long illness on May 23, 2019, at the age of 85. He is survived by his loving wife Carolyn, daughters, Noelle, and Naomi (Benjie), grandchildren Orion and Chelan. He is also remembered and loved by many lifelong friends, and the people he helped and served over the years. Ron was a compassionate man who thought deeply about the world. He bore witness to the suffering of all humankind. Born in his beloved Chicago, he graduated from the esteemed Francis Parker School. Shortly afterward, he joined the army and served his nation for three years. Later, he attended Roosevelt University in Chicago where he majored in English. A man of many interests, Ron continued his studies at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. His interest in Judaism led him to Israel where he lived for a period of time, solidifying his Hebrew and studying at the University in Jerusalem. He moved back to Chicago in the mid-sixties and became a social worker on the Near North side of the city. He worked with the downtrodden and with gang members, helping to provide resources as well as finding peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. This early work led the way for his life long dedication to helping those in need. In 1967, he met the love of his life, Carolyn and they began a life of shared passion for theater and adventure. Carolyn worked at Second City, the famous comedy club, and Ron had been active in theater since high school. After the violent debacle of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Ron and Carolyn decided it was time to get out of the city. With their daughter Noelle, they packed their VW Bug and headed west for Boulder, Colorado. Boulder was beautiful, but Ron’s passion for D.H. Lawrence led them to a place called Taos, New Mexico. On October 5, 1968, Ron, Carolyn and Noelle arrived in Taos, which they loved, but it seemed there wasn’t any way to make a living, nor were there any good restaurants. After eating at local spot called Big Brads, Ron ran outside and yelled at the moon and the stars, “even I can do better than that!” Shortly thereafter Ron and Carolyn rented a little spot on Guadalupe Plaza and opened “The House of Taos,” a pizzeria, where “everyone is welcome, families, children, even hippies.” It became Taos’ meeting place. Ron meticulously assembled the pizzas. He wanted each pie to be perfect, and the customers loved it. Ron was ever the ad hoc social worker, and never too busy to help those in need. In January 1970 their second daughter, Naomi was born. Now they were four. In 1977, Ron and Carolyn sold the House of Taos. This left time for Ron to pursue his loves, theater and Judaism. A gifted actor with a sonorous voice, he performed in many community plays including Deirdre of the Sorrows, Westside Story, Guys and Dolls, The Diary of Anne Frank where he played the father to his daughter Noelle who had the lead role, and his legendary role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Ron was a lover of music, especially classical. He hosted a classical music and community forum show on KXRT (the precursor to KTAO) for many years. Ron was the unofficial Jewish leader in Taos. He led Saturday morning services, first at the House of Taos and later in private homes and other venues. On April 6, 1974, he led the first “West Side Community Seder.” He wrote the Haggadah for the service, a rendition of which still circulates the Passover seders of Taos to this day. Ron prepared several youths for Bar and Bat Mitzvot over the years. In June of 1993, he helped found the Taos Minyan, a prayer and study group that met every Sabbath morning. Ron was an astute scholar of Torah - his motto was, “there is never any such thing as a stupid question.” Many benefitted from his profound grasp of spiritual material. For years, he led High Holiday Services in Taos. Ron’s love of Judaism was inspired by two legendry Rabbis: Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched with Martin Luther King, and Sholmo Carlebach, the free spirited troubadour of modern Jewish liturgy. He practiced what he called his “Moses Mission, perseverance, truth seeking in every generation, peace seeking in every minute.” Ron knew your birthday, your anniversary, the memorial of your loved one or when you moved into a new space. He was a copious note taker and kept track of dates on a large calendar that became known as the “Kalom-dar.” Each year, he copied the dates over on a fresh calendar and added or subtracted the appropriate information. He counted and he cared. If you knew Ron for any length of time you would get a letter written on one of his many portable typewriters. His writing was delicious, well-crafted, and flowed like a mountain stream. He loved to write and he loved fine literature. Robert Frost and Ralph Waldo Emerson were two of his favorites. Ron wrote these words on life: “Between aging and old is the approach of something new. Between aging and old is the approach of something never before so intimately encountered, something that calls into our deepest and darkest corners for response. It has much to do with slowing the personal while coping with external acceleration. It allows for the profound consideration, respect (and review), and an unbearably intense love within the miraculous we have heretofore called LIFE.” A memorial service will be held the second week of July, place and time still to be determined. A public announcement will be made once the family has finalized plans.Donations to honor Ron Kalom may be made to the Cathleen Tomlinson Fund that promotes literacy for Taos children at the Taos Community Foundation, P O Box 1925, Taos, NM 87571.
https://secure.qgiv.com/for/taocomfou/restriction/InMemoryofRonKalomtotheCathleenTomlinsonFundArrangements by Rivera Family Funeral Home. To share a memory, please visit our website at www.riverafuneralhome.com

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