Ron KellyWe would like to extend our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ron Kelly who passed away on Tuesday May 27, 2014.  Ron was the founder of Bayview Yacht Harbour in Portland, Ontario.

Please see below a write-up that was sent to us by Boating Ontario and written by Mike Kelly.  Thank you.

It is with great sadness that I write to you today to inform you about the passing of Ron Kelly, my Dad and the founder of Bayview.  Dad has been a fixture around the Big Rideau for over 40 years leaving his mark on thousands of people, in many cases introducing them to the great sport of recreational boating and showing them what it means to have a “guy” in their corner, always providing integrity and honesty to his customers.

Dad was a hard man to get to know. He had a real “man’s man” exterior that often intimidated people but if you were able to get through that exterior you realized very quickly that he had a huge heart and a strong kindness about him.

He was a master craftsman, someone who could make anything or fix anything given the time and specifics. His level of patience and commitment to doing it right was astounding. He was happiest in his shop, covered in gas, working on an old worthless engine, lying under a rusty old car trying to make it right or standing up on the top of a 12 foot ladder with a saw above his head, dust and dirt falling all over him trying to repair something that needed “more imagination” to be completed properly.

Dad was a tireless worker at the marina or at home, always with projects on the go or “fixing someone else’s God Damn mistakes”.  He really liked to swear.  Many of us felt that swearing was his way of purging his frustrations and boy, was he frustrated often.

Dad just turned 79 in early May. Before he entered into the marine business, over 40 years ago, Dad worked for Atomic Energy of Canada for 18 years. Working his way up from a line worker assembling machines to traveling all over the world installing cobalt therapy machines in hospitals. These are the machines that are used in radiation therapy. This was in the 60’s when the technology was in its infancy.  He worked with a team of pioneers, installing a technology that most people had never heard of. This was the job that made him so resourceful and creative. You can imagine being in a hospital in South America in the 60’s and needing a tool to complete your job. You were unable to go down to the local home depot and buy it… you had to make that tool. This is where he developed the skills and experience that would help him for the rest of his life. This is what made him the original “do-it-yourself-er”.

One of the hardest things that you can ever do is work with your family. It takes special people to make it work. I have been working with my Dad for 25 years professionally but really all of my life.  There were many bumps in the road and we were at odds often but I believe that we both had the same vision, just very different way of getting there.  It was a privilege to be able to have spent so much time with him and I do not regret any of it. He was a great man. A friend of mine said something to me today that really hit home. He said “they don’t make them like Ron anymore”. More accurate words have not been spoken.

I have learned over the years just how many people Dad touched in his life and how many people he helped.  Everyone respected him.  He really was an icon.

Later this summer, we will be having a memorial open house in Ron’s shop on Sunday, July 27th to celebrate his life, a very informal get together of people, friends, staff, customers and Bayview alumni. All are welcome.

Ron, Ronnie, Poppa, Rideau Ron, Dad and friend, whatever you remember calling him, he was a great man with a good heart. He will be remembered forever and missed by all.

Good bye Dad, take it easy, rest well. You deserve it.

Mike

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