A Few Words About Rockin’ Ronnie Stevens.

He had as many names as he had stories.

Rockin’ Ronnie. Rockin’ Ronaldo. Rockin’. Rockin’ Ronnie Stevens. (Get the picture?)

Everyone knew him. Just think of Pacino’s Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero: “In all the five boroughs, I’m known. Forget about it. I’m known all over the fucking world.”

He was the nicest, sweetest, quirkiest guy you’d ever encounter in the hallway, the staff cafeteria, or for that matter, anywhere he went. He was that guy at the party you never forgot. The friend who would literally give you the shirt off his back – even if you didn’t need it.

He was an accomplished hospitality soldier like myself but music was his true passion. On the stage was where he truly became Rockin’ Ronnie – and he was a sight to behold.

I’ve lost track of the number of times he sat beside me at the Bell Desk and said, “Whatcha doin’, Hook? Blogging?” His support and enthusiasm were gifts I never grew tired of receiving.

He once told a guest of some advanced years that “The Hook will be delivering your luggage shortly.” And so, when I arrived at the room and knocked I heard a tiny, squeaky voice ring out…

“Oh, Harold.. that must be The Hook with the bags!”

Lunch was his priority. Always. “Well, what’s it going to be for lunch today, fellas?” he’d ask – at 8:30 am. Our annual excursions to Toronto were always foodcentric; fish ‘n chips were his fare of choice.

Writing about my friend in the past tense is an exercise in the surreal. And yet, from the moment he disappeared last Monday at 5:20 pm, a feeling of hopelessness has been inescapable. Indeed, I spent all day Sunday praying for a resolution to this ordeal, and the second I punched out at nine in the evening my wife was on her way to pick me up and break the worst news I’ve ever heard.

Everyone around me at the hotel is desperate for answers that I cannot provide. My friend’s family wishes to keep the details of his passing private, a decision I both understand and question, but out of my intense respect for both them and my comrade-in-arms, I shall respect their wishes.

There are so many things I want to say about my brother Ron, but the wound is too raw, the emotions are too convoluted and my grief is coming in waves. I held it together after receiving the news from his son last night but seeing Ronnie’s picture outside the staff cafeteria this morning broke my resolve.

I cried tears of regret, of deeper sadness than I’ve ever known, of pain that will never fully heal. But my grief has subsided for now and so I can only hope that the words will come to me in the future. As for the present, those of us who knew Rockin’ Ronnie best are carrying on as best we can, alternating between moments of fond recollection and heartbreaking sadness. At the end of his existence my friend was convinced he was alone in this world.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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35 Responses to A Few Words About Rockin’ Ronnie Stevens.

  1. Austin says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, my friend. Your buddy will be in my prayers…

  2. I’m sorry for your loss, Hook. This was a beautiful tribute and I’m sorry your comrade felt he was alone.

    • The Hook says:

      I am too, John.
      I’ve had to helplessly watch my friend struggle with a variety of health issues for months but I never thought this situation was going to conclude like this.

  3. Marion Hardy says:

    With you as a friend Robert I know he was never really alone. So sorry on the loss of your wonderful friend. RIP Ron.

  4. Tara says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Robert. Seems like there’s a lot of this loss going around.

  5. Oh Robert.. words can never express the sadness we all feel when we lose someone to such tragic circumstances. I am so very sorry for your loss and for the loss of this special man. It is sad that he felt so alone when nothing could have been further from the truth… ❤

  6. I am so sorry for your loss Robert. Grief is a horrible thing to go through, I hope you are able to find some solace in your memories of your friend.

  7. davidprosser says:

    Robert, I’m so sorry for the loss you and others have suffered especially Ron’s family.I know that depression is a disease that eats away at your confidence in yourself. Makes you feel that existing is a cruel burden on those you love.There’s no easy way to convince a sufferer they’re wrong. I feel deeply for anyone suffering like this.

  8. I’m sorry for your loss Hook 😦

  9. Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen. — Rosemary

  10. shimoniac says:

    Sorry. My condolences. 😦

  11. Fine tribute – you make us feel like we knew him and the depth of the loss.
    “an accomplished hospitality soldier” but so much more than he knew to those around him. May peace and comfort find his family and friends

  12. Dave Ply says:

    Sorry for you loss. Ronnie may be gone, but his memories will live on.

  13. JPM says:

    What nice words for Ronnie……Amazing Tribute. Thanks Robert

  14. StillWaters says:

    A wonderful tribute, Robert. My condolences.

  15. Becky says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  16. curvyroads says:

    Robert, I am so sorry for your loss! This post was a beautiful tribute to your friend, and I truly hope he has found peace. Hugs.

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