Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Loss for Words

2012 Team Walleye Captain, Ron Edberg
Over the 4 plus years of writing this blog I have lost a number of people that meant a lot to me, were close to me, and I miss each one of them dearly.  Uncle Keith, Brother-in-Law Mike, my dear friends Russ and Tom Emmons, my father.  With each one comes an explanation, I might not like it but I understand.  Uncle Keith and dad simply ran out of time, Mike contracted kidney cancer and fought a brave battle.  Russ had a weak heart (that's debatable), and my dear friend Tom Emmons could not shake a dead end depression.  Even my friend Dewey's loss of his friend Al who died in a tragic auto accident, one can rationalize as we know the risks associated with our lives.  We don't like it and we might ask why, yet we accept the circumstances as painful as it may be.  My friend Ron Edberg defies acceptance.  As my flight from Chicago landed I turned on the cell phone only to have it ring almost immediately.  It was my wife, "There's been a shooting and 394 is closed."  Assuring I don't go that way I dropped off Dwight and headed for home.  The radio news was full of speculation yet I was only paying attention to the high level.  Once home and unpacked I checked the Internet for the story when it hit me.  The shooting was at Accent Signage, 5 people were fatally shot, this is where Ron worked.  Checking the current pictures, police tape spanned across a black Ford pickup to the UPS truck parked at the dock.  The truck was Ron's.  Immediately calling Ron's cell, no one answered.  The next number was our friend Mark Mayerich, Ron's closest friend who had been monitoring the situation.  No, I haven't been able to reach him however knowing Ron, he's helping out.........yes, this sounded like Ron.  Neither of us wanted to admit the uneasy feeling we both had.  At 1:30 that night Mark called and confirmed the worst, Ron was one of those that didn't make it.  How do you understand when a employee after 14 years of employment, became despondent, put his employer in a no win situation, then decide to make it right by killing those that tried to help him.  I did not know the shooter, the excuse of mental illness is probably right, who on earth would resort to such a senseless and destructive outcome.  I have no answers.

My 23 years with Team Walleye, Ron's legacy
 Ron Edberg graced my life in the early 1980's while deer hunting with my friends Mark and Jack Taylor.  Mark was part of a ragtag group of friends including Ron Edberg, his cousin Gary Ullon, and brother-in-law Mark Mayerich.  Meeting in Skime Minnesota on opening deer hunting, I was initiated to the group via the ungrounded refrigerator that I opened while barefoot on a concrete floor!  Man, that hurt yet began our relationship that continued to last week.  The main focus of Ron and my relationship was through our annual Leech Lake Fishing Opener deemed Team Walleye.  This was Ron's masterpiece as he was an accomplished artist and graphic designer.  Along with working in the sign industry he was a genius at creating logo's, theme pieces, and everything associated with our annual trip.  During the mid 1980's I fished Mille Lacs on the Minnesota Fishing Opener yet by 1989 my friends from Wisconsin had all but abandoned me.  When Mark Taylor asked me to join them I jumped at the chance and have never missed since.  Getting to know Ron better meant being more involved with planning the big event every year.  Starting with the beer duty, I progressed to the minnow man securing the bait for the weekend, eventually being the Tournament Director planning the rules, prizes, and working with Ron on a number of things that needed to be done.  Ron worked all year on this as we all enjoyed the organization he brought to our group.  From magnetic signs, bumper stickers, certificates, log books for keeping track of fish, menu's, sleeping arrangements, it was all possible because of him.   Mark Mayerich and Ron started the DCS (Didn't Catch $hit) award a few years ago using an old clear toilet seat which had lures embedded into the plastic.  Unfortunately Ron was the first recipient of the now prestigious award and along with our Big Fish Trophy, his name will be forever etched in the nameplates.  Ron was always grateful to be part of what he loved.

Classic Ron!

We closed the final chapter in Ron Edberg's life on Tuesday night, over 500 people stopped by the funeral home including the Mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Ryback.  It was especially gracious for the family of Reuven Rahamim, whom was the owner of Accent Sign and also one of the 5 victims, to attend the service.  They had taken the time from their grieving process to show support and for most of us, an opportunity to meet the people on the other side of Ron's life.  He truly enjoyed his work and it was evident that they felt he was part of their family.  We will keep Team Walleye going, it will be our 40th year on Leech Lake without our leader.  There are big shoes to fill, expectations that will not be met, yet life goes on.  Life's is not about yesterday rather about the present.  At our industry meeting this spring a speaker talked about who we are.  It's not what people think and say about you after you are gone, it's what they think and say while your here.  There's comfort in knowing that all of his friends have expressed to Ron exactly what we still say today and forever, your a good man Ron Edberg!  If you are interested click on Kare 11 and check out the piece they did with Mark Mayerich and I as they were looking for something about Ron and his life and friends.  Also click on Minnesota Bound and watch the first segment of episode 622, it pretty well says it all.  I guess the only thing left to say is that we will miss you dearly and we will always love you.


Anonymous said...

This story made the news in AK. I didn't think this affected someone I knew. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. My thoughts are with you.


Duane said...

Dave - In reading and listening to the reports on this tragedy I remember how Ron was described. I remember thinking what a good man he appeared to be. Not to take anything away from the other victims. He just stood out. Though I read your blog every week, I didn't make the connection.
You are right in that we can understand illness and old age but it's so hard to understand and accept tragedies like this.
All I can say is that I'm sure there will be some tears at your fishing opener next year but hopefully there will be some stories that bring a smile to your face as well. Though I didn't know Ron, I think he would want that out of you guys.
In two weeks all the deer hunters will come up and along with Al's sons, will spread his ashes under his favorite deer stand. We must carry on.
You take care....

Dave Anderson said...

Well, these things always seem so far away until you get the call.


We have already requested some of Ron's ashes for marked for Pine Point on Leech. It's the least we could do.

Thanks guys!

Jeff King said...

Jeeeez sorry for all his friends and family, all of you.

Alaska Salmon Fishing said...

This has been a sad story, it almost bring me to tears. How would a person kill a good man. Ron is surely a good friend, I can see it on how you talk about him. This is really painful incident, especially to the family and closest friends. I hope he find justice. :(

Anonymous said...

Ronald Richard "Ron" Edberg is of Swedish and Norwegian origin. He was eligible for membership of the Sons of Norway. Farvel, Ron.