Ronald (Ron) Lee Baxley — In Memorium

Ronald (Ron) Lee Baxley — In Memorium

Born: August 28, 1959 — Died: Novem­ber 30, 2009

Nowa­days, with cell­phones, per­son­al com­put­ers, emails, Face­book, Twit­ter, and all the oth­er social media devices, it is rel­a­tive­ly easy to keep in touch with and/or recon­nect fam­i­ly and friends all over the world, and from all the pieces of our lives. Before all those things, and before most peo­ple got on board with all those things (my moth­er still isn’t), it was much more dif­fi­cult. We relied heav­i­ly on cards and let­ters (nei­ther of which were my forte), in per­son vis­its and phone calls.

We made a bold step and moved across the coun­try to Cal­i­for­nia in Jan­u­ary of 2000. Behind us, we left friend­ships span­ning twen­ty years or more. And although we all tried to stay con­nect­ed, it was some­times dif­fi­cult, espe­cial­ly for us, because we were start­ing a new busi­ness, clos­ing an old busi­ness down, and gen­er­al­ly fac­ing a large learn­ing curve in a new indus­try. Not an excuse. Just a fact.

I learned just yes­ter­day that a friend I’d known since I was 21 had died. Worse yet, he’d died in 2009. not two years after he and his boyfriend had vis­it­ed us in Palm Springs. I had wor­ried about him because he had moved and I had no for­ward­ing phone or infor­ma­tion. Still, you hope one day to get a card or a phone call. I got, quite by acci­dent, notice that he was no longer alive. I am dev­as­tat­ed and embar­rassed.

I have known Ron Bax­ley since 1979. I had moved to Atlanta to go to Sem­i­nary (some­thing I nev­er com­plet­ed), and had moved with a fra­ter­ni­ty broth­er, Cleo Creech. Cleo was going to the Art Insti­tute of Atlanta, met Ron, and they fell head over heels for each oth­er (as often hap­pens to us when we are young and fresh­ly out as gay men — oh hell, it hap­pens to every­body all the time no mat­ter how old they are — who am I kid­ding!. Any­way, Ron was soon our room­mate, and when Chris moved out to live with anoth­er boyfriend, Ron stayed.

We became close. Ron and I vis­it­ed his aunt Glo­ria many times. He adored her. I even joined him on a trip back to Sum­merville for the wed­ding of one of his sib­lings, despite the fact that Ron’s fam­i­ly had real­ly not accept­ed him at that point. They were good peo­ple, but talk about stress­ful! Then boyfriends, and more boyfriends, and lots of job changes for all of us and Ron also moved in with a boyfriend. John S. Foltz moved down from North Car­oli­na and moved in with me.

A few years lat­er, Ron was look­ing for a place to stay, and he once again became my room­mate, this time with John S. Foltz. We brought two cats, Har­ri­son and West­in, and Ron Brought Katy, the sweet­est cock­er spaniel you could ever meet. We lived togeth­er, then moved apart briefly (boyfriend again), then final­ly became room­mates again at 1769 Mon­roe Dr NE, Atlanta, GA. We lived there for awhile, and dur­ing that time, I met my future hus­band, Stephen Boyd. Well, again, we all had job changes, boyfriend changes, and we all moved into sep­a­rate direc­tions, but Ron always came by for Christ­mas, we called and kept in touch, and he also sent me a mother’s day card every year. He con­tin­ued doing that even after we moved to Cal­i­for­nia.

Ron vis­it­ed us one in Cal­i­for­nia. I had been bug­ging him to come out and see us, and final­ly he did. Mike came with him. Wa had a great time catch­ing up. Short­ly after that vis­it, though, Ron’s phone num­ber changed and his address changed, and I had trou­ble reach­ing him. Time gets away from us. In that inter­im, Ron moved to Flori­da — first to Orlan­do, then to Alta­monte Springs. It was there, I guess, that he died.

I lost one oth­er friend this way. Anoth­er in our group of Atlanta friends, Teri Renel­la. I hope nev­er to lose anoth­er one unknow­ing, and I intend to work on that. But in the mean­time, if you knew Ron Bax­ley, and you’d like to leave a mem­o­ry or a remem­brance of him, I have reac­ti­vat­ed the guest book from his obit­u­ary. You can see them both here.