I met Ron Ravneberg about 8 years ago when I started getting back into astronomy after a long hiatus. We were at a little club star party doing a Messier Marathon. He had his scope, "Alice" with him and I had my Meade 2080 set up trying without much success to find M76, the Little Dumbbell. Ron patiently showed me how to find the "little Auriga" and from there, finding M76. It was my first experience observing with Ron.
Ever since, Ron has been a major influence to me. I recall many conversations with Ron talking about design ideas on my next scope or about life in general. He encouraged me throughout my telescope making journey. He always had a great perspective on things. Observing with Ron was a real treat as he would direct you to objects you may have never seen or heard of before. He introduced me to the concept of "simple astronomy" where you don't need the biggest scope or the latest gadget. A simple star chart, a red flashlight, and a small telescope can be very rewarding. He also warned me that a telescope you make is never really done.
Ron was an inspiration to many not only because of his many accomplishments as a telescope maker and amateur astronomer, but also because of the person he was. Thank you for helping this big dumbbell, find the little dumbbell, Ron.
Godspeed as you journey amongst the stars.