Culture

Ron Smith, RIP

|


The late, great Ron Smith

Both Reason and reason lost another friend last night, as longtime WBAL-AM radio host and Baltimore Sun columnist Ron Smith, "the voice of reason," passed away at age 70 after a brief bout with pancreatic cancer. From the WBAL write-up:

Ron shared his final days with his listeners telling them "don't mourn me".

Ron announced to his listeners on October 17 that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

He underwent treatment at Johns Hopkins' Kimmel Cancer Center, but on November 17 told listeners that he would halt his chemotherapy treatments after consulting with his doctor and his wife, June.

On November 28, Ron announced he was retiring from his on air duties because of his declining health, and that he had begun home hospice care.

Ron also wrote a weekly column for the Baltimore Sun.

In his final column last month, Smith wrote, "What is a mere individual to do? Live as sane and decent a life as you can, love your family and friends and understand that everybody is in this together. My work here is done."

Reason writers appeared on Smith's show hundreds of times. I'll always remember Ron as someone who would keep up the conversation off-air during commercial break–only a little saltier, and more pessimistic about the country than he would normally let on–and then do a live commercial without missing a beat. More from the WBAL obit:

Although Ron's politics leaned to the right, Ron called himself a Libertarian and was critical of both Democrats and Republicans.

In 2003, Ron received national attention and criticism, when he told listeners he opposed the Iraq War.

Ron later described the days after the start of the war as the toughest in his career, and in his life. Ron said that his show lost listeners and advertisers, but he praised WBAL management for supporting him. […]

Ron's family, friends and colleagues have set up Team Reason, which is raising money for pancreatic cancer treatment and research at Johns Hopkins.

Donations to Team Reason are being accepted in Ron's memory.

Donation link is here. RIP.