Ron Smith, R.I.P.

by Nicole Gelinas

Baltimore-area readers may know Ron Smith, the longtime WBAL talk-radio host who most recently did a morning slot starting at 9 a.m. Ron died yesterday at 70. He had learned that he had pancreatic cancer just a little more than two months ago, and worked until nearly the end.

On air, Ron offered not heat, but light — wanting to know more about everything. He worried greatly about the future of the nation, yet he knew that he did not have all the answers and that answers are not made up of easy sound bites. He read widely and often listened more than he talked, respecting callers’ and guests’ opinions.

Ron approached his own death with the same gentle forthrightness and courage that he showed on the radio. Last month, he wrote these words in what he knew would be his last regular column for the Baltimore Sun:

My life will end sometime in an undetermined number of weeks in home hospice care.

. . . As I exit, our society faces grave crises, and it’s clear that the current political leadership of both parties is incapable of fixing them. I would have liked to witness the next great unfolding of events, even though I believe these will prove catastrophic.

. . . 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. 

Ron touched many lives, including mine. I will be thinking of him and his family, friends, and colleagues over this Christmas season. R.I.P. Ron.

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