By Bill Murphy
I met Ron Elmone at a California Hawking Club meet in
Hemet in the mid-70’s. He was just getting into falconry
then, and did not have a bird at the time, but the fire was lit.
It was not until he moved to the Santa Cruz area a few years
later that I really got to know him. From his sense of humor
and laid back style, I would have never guessed that he was a
Marine helicopter pilot in Viet Nam rescuing troops. From
the slow speed that he drove his own Suburban, I wouldnt
have thought he was a pilot for TWA, jetting passengers
cross-country as well as across continents. There were many
other facets to Rons personality that I grew to learn and
appreciate during our 40-year friendship.
We became closer friends when Ron moved to the Santa
Cruz area. There he moved from red tails to Harris Hawks
and then began his love affair with longwings. I remember
his first peregrine, a Peales tiercel named Ringo that he
obtained from Pete Widener. Ringo was a fine high flying
bird that helped him hone his hunting and telemetry
skills. The falcon was accompanied by Rons first Brittany,
Wiley, whose name was never repeated fewer than three
times when he was called. At that time, Ron was also lucky
enough meet Patricia, who became his wife and partner in a
series of lifetime adventures.
Rons job with TWA took him and Patricia to Saint Louis,
where he continued to become a more proficient falconer,
flying Midwest pheasants and waterfowl with peregrine
falcons. Despite the distance, we kept in constant phone
contact. On occasion I flew out to meet him to travel
together to NAFA meets in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and
Iowa. On other occasions, my wife Tracy and I met with
Ron and Patricia for vacations. Our New Orleans trip was
particularly memorable.
Eventually, after moving for a short time from Saint Louis
to Oklahoma, Ron and Patricia settled in Sacramento,
where he blossomed as a successful duck hunter with his
fine Peales falcon, Kiko. I was most impressed watching the
bird remained high overhead for long periods of time as
they pursued big water ducks. I should mention that they
were aided in these hunts by “ Homer, Homer, Homer”,
Rons Brittany at that time, who like his predecessor
“Wiley, Wiley, Wiley”, was never called by a single name.
As impressive as his flying skills was his ability to find
outstanding flying fields by cultivating relationships with
land owners.
Ever the wanderers, the Elmones moved from Sacramento
to Florida. Although he was without a falcon for the past
few years, his passion for falconry did not dissipate. He
did, however, find the opportunity to pursue other lifetime
dreams, including cage diving with great white sharks off
the coast of Mexico last December. No one could have
guessed that a few months later, Ron would be the victim
of a massive stroke. He lived his life well with passion and
vitality, and I miss him.
DONORS:
Patricia Elmone, Bob Collins, North American Falconers Association
Ron with friend Bill Murphy
and his bred falcon Kiko
Ron and Pat winter
hawking
Ron standing beside his
favorite painting.
Ron and the Uptons
on grouse moor.
Ron had a
passion for
falconry that
traveled with
him where
ever he
lived, from
California to
Florida, and
Missouri. His
love of travel
led him all
over the
world.
In loving memory...
Remembrances of Ron by Patricia Elmone
When Ron asked me to marry him 28 years ago he made it very clear
what marrying a falconer meant. The month aer our wedding and
the first week in our new home I had Ringo, a tiercel anatum, living in my
laundry room while Ron built a mews. In November, our first big dinner
party was cancelled when Ringo took off at dusk and we loaded up the truck
with the dog and sleeping bags and spent the night trying to stay warm
in the freezing cold so that we could be right there to call Ringo in at first
light. My first married birthday celebration - similarly postponed. Over
the years Ron had many birds and we had many terrific, fun and scary
experiences, and I loved it all. I think the
main thing Ron loved was the flight - the
speed and agility of the bird. When he
was a kid, he always knew he was going to
be a pilot and he made it all happen,
from becoming a Marine aviator to
having a great career as an airline
captain. The falconry was another
way to be passionate about flight. Ron
was taken quickly by a massive stroke
but he was strong and positive to
the end. I think of him always, and
especially when I see a falcon or a
hawk, and I thank God he let me be
part of his life as a falconer.
Pat & Rons rst
Christmas in 1988
I think of him always,
and especially when I
see a falcon or a hawk.
Ron arriving at his surprise
party for his TWA captain
upgrade
Georey Pollard and Ron on
Scottish grouse moor.
Ron and Ringo