Written by Josh Ellis and Tom Billings
Our friend and colleague Ron Towery passed away this morning, July 27, after a months-long battle with cancer.
I know what many of you are thinking because I’ve heard it over and over: “I didn’t even know he was sick. He didn’t say anything.” But if you knew Ron at all, that shouldn’t surprise you. The truth is, Ron hated to be the center of attention in the best of circumstances. We once used his birthday as a playful excuse to have cake in the office, even going out of our way to make sure that nothing festive was on the cake and no one wished him “Happy Birthday.” Even still, I’m not sure he ever forgave us.
The irony of Ron’s quiet, self-effacing nature is that Ron might actually have been the most interesting man in the world—and not the kind from any television commercial. Besides his work at UBA and his previous career in banking, Ron was a Major with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He was a pilot, a hunter, a dog-trainer, a baseball coach, a photographer, and a videographer. Ron flew remote planes and helicopters. He loved skydiving. I’m told he once played in a band in a club downtown, but he quickly nipped that story in the bud.
Instead, he simply said, “I came to Christ as an adult, and there was a lot before that doesn’t matter anymore.”
When Ron was diagnosed with cancer, an associate asked what things were on his bucket list. Ron said he would love to go skydiving one more time but there wasn’t anything else on his bucket list. Throughout his life, he did the things others put off. He loved what he did, and he did so many things well.
Ron loved UBA, and some of his words echo through the culture of the UBA staff. When asked why he worked at UBA, Ron would always answer, “I love what I do and who I do it with.” It became an oft-repeated phrase among many of us, both for those who have served together for more than two decades and for those of us who are looking to build a lasting culture for the future.
Ron brought that love for the task and for his people to every aspect of what he did. Ron was a man of integrity. He was completely trustworthy, honest, straightforward, kind, considerate, and always anxious to help. When he assumed responsibility for something, it was done with excellence and devotion. Ron’s mere presence gave people the feeling of security. People knew that if Ron was going to be somewhere, things were going to be okay. There might not be anyone you would rather have watching your back than Ron.
Likewise, Ron loved who he did things with. He loved his wife, Clare, his sons, David and Austin, and the rest of his family. He loved the people at Second Baptist Church with whom he worked. He loved the staff at UBA. Though no one would describe Ron as “touchy-feely,” there was never a doubt that he deeply loved those around him and would do anything for them.
Most of all, Ron loved the Lord. Though he didn't want to die, Ron knew who and what awaited him when he passed. He believed that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Consequently, he faced death the way he lived his life—with matter-of-fact practicality and full of faith, never wavering in his belief and confidence in the Lord.
We will miss Ron intensely, but we rejoice that his pain is gone and that he is in the presence of his Savior. A celebration of life service will be held:
Wednesday, August 1 at 11:00 AM
Second Baptist Church - Woodway Campus
6400 Woodway Drive
Houston, Texas 77057
Be in prayer for Ron's family and friends; we covet those prayers. #UBAPraysTogether