Ronald L. Ault: “Ron,” age 67, formerly of Tennessee, passed away Saturday morning, June 19, 2021 at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y.
Ron was born on Feb. 22, 1954, in Waverly, N.Y., the son of John Ellis Ault and Rosemary Mullen Ault. He is predeceased by his brother John Ault, sister Nancy Ault Elston, a special cousin Mary Sheila Mullen Henry, and grandparents William and Beatrice Ault and Anthony and Theresa Mullen. He was also predeceased by his Aunt Evelyn, who inspired his lifelong love of the arts.
Ron is survived by: his life partner, Diane Ault (Diana Morningstar), sister-in-law, Chris Smith Ault in S.C., three special nieces — Kayla Ault, Julianna Ault Gray, and Amanda Ault Gano — and his sister’s six children in Ohio — Carol Irons, John Elston, Jr, Michael Elston, Karen Myers, Jody Peterson, and Melissa Budde.
He is also survived by his special Mullen cousins: Tom Mullen in Waverly, Pat Mullen and his son Michael (with whom Ron lived in San Antonio), Joe Mullen, a fellow artist and devoted friend in these final days, Tony Mullen and Kathy Mullen Huddle, and loving Ault cousins Sharon, Robert, Evelyn, Sandy, Priscilla, and Linda.
In Tennessee he is part of the large Richardson family, including Luke Richardson (whom he mentored in music), Sara and Eric Saliba, Diane’s children, and three step-grandchildren — Ben, Sam, and Kinza El Maliki — who lived next door and called him “Papa Dog.” Their father, Zouhair, is a very special friend as well. He has many close friends from school, the corporate and music worlds in N.Y., and Tennessee.
He attended St. James Elementary and graduated from Waverly High School with the Class of 1972, winning the Forbes Award for his artistic ability. He attended Mohawk Valley Community College and earned an associate degree in visual communication from the Art Institute of Pittsburg in 1976. His first graphic design job was at the Hours Agency in Ithaca, followed by a job at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.
After moving to Nashville in pursuit of music opportunities, he worked as illustrator for the Saturn car company and as an artist for both Bill Barnes, Design, Inc. and The Tennessee Repertory Theater. He briefly owned a freelance business on Music Row doing album covers and music packaging for many famous Nashville recording artists, as well as other projects before settling in at Deloitte & Touche. He completed his career with many satisfying years at Brookdale Senior Living as a learning media designer until retiring in 2020.
From high school onward, Ron’s love and passion for music of all kinds led him to a rare mastery of many stringed instruments. He played in bands like the Hill Country Ramblers, the Secret Commonwealth, and others, and he backed up solo artists as well. He developed a love for old time Appalachian/Irish music, mastered the claw hammer banjo, and mentored others in the soulful sounds of old-time string band circles.
In 2000, Ron met the love of his life, Diane, and they began their adventure with a creative wedding on the Tennessee River. They teamed up to host over 40 house concerts and many community arts collaborations over 20 years.
They participated in many art and music festivals, and through the years they made many travels to Morocco, Hawaii, Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, Malawi, Belize, Santa Fe, Asheville, New Orleans, Rhode Island, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward Island, in addition to several good trips to Florida, which they documented with quirky videos and 30,000 or more pictures.
The house concerts inspired the formation of the “Fiddle & Pick,” a heritage music center in Pegram, Tennessee and he recently donated hundreds of music instructional books and materials for use by hundreds of young people who are learning and playing traditional “roots” music in the school/community center there.
Ron will be remembered for his delightful sense of humor, quick-witted puns, his unique way of seeing the world, and his passion for making music almost every day of his life.
After his cancer diagnosis in February of 2020, he went courageously through difficult treatments, living in Summertown, surrounded by friends and family and then traveled back home to the “Valley” for his final weeks surrounded by his dear cousins who are like brothers and childhood friends. He continued to bring joy, meaning, music and humor to many even at the Mercy House as he lived each day from the depths of his soul.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Alteri-Bowen Funeral Home, Sayre, Pa. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at Blessed Trinity-St. James Church in Waverly on July 10, 2021 at 11 a.m. Friends and family are invited to attend a time of visitation one hour prior to the Mass at the church. Music for the Mass will be provided by his cousin Lori Lynn Barret, niece Kayla Ault, and friend Roger Bacorn. Ron will be buried next to his parents in St. James Cemetery, Waverly. A time of fellowship will take place at Mangialardo’s Restaurant on Thomas Avenue in Sayre immediately following the Mass.
Persons wishing to make a donation in Ron’s memory are encouraged to contribute to the Mercy House, 212 McKinley Ave, Endicott, NY. Memories and condolences may be expressed by visiting www.bowenfuneralhomes.com.