Remembering Ronald H Menaker | It would take all of the big words to describe Ronald. H. Menaker. His brilliance touched every aspect of his well-rounded life, from Madison Avenue to a simple dog walk. He loved people and worked alongside them, inspiring and leading them to make monumental dreams come true. I am greatly blessed to have been a part of his circle of friends in our dog world.
Shortly after their marriage, Ron brought Lorna to Greenville, South Carolina, where I met her for the first time. We celebrated with a champagne dinner at the Poinsett Club. After dessert we toured downtown, introducing Lorna to my Southern city. When we reached our famous suspended Liberty Bridge, magically, fireworks lit up the sky from our baseball stadium a few blocks away. Laughingly, I told Ron and Lorna that I had perfectly timed it just for them. The evening was an “always remember” time for the three of us.
The Menakers have many friends all over the globe. I asked four of his very special ones from our sport to share some of their memories of Ron.
REMEMBERING RONALD H MENAKER — Lee Arnold
“Ron’s passing was a profound loss for me as well as those who knew him. He was a close personal friend of mine for more than 30-plus years, whose presence in my life was a God-given gift.
From humble beginnings and a difficult childhood, he rose to the top in more ways than one; a typical Horatio Alger scenario. Who begins their career in the mailroom and ends up as Managing Director and head of Corporate Services Worldwide at J.P Morgan? His business acumen was second to none, whether at J.P. Morgan or the Boardroom of the American Kennel Club. He was sought after to be on the Board of hospitals, financial institutions, and even a veterinary school. Who could forget his many years as Show Chairman of the Westminster Kennel Club? Ron was honored with membership in a number of dog clubs, including the Kennel Club Of England.
His personable charm and personality, and his sense of humor, were magical. Everyone wanted to be in his company. He was the center of attention wherever he went, and one of the most remarkable storytellers you would ever meet. Dinner with Ron was not only a culinary experience but an adventure as well.
I shall never forget how he conducted AKC Board Meetings as Chairman: A Master Class on how to bring everyone together with sound logic and street smarts. He was a problem-solver like no other.
On many occasions, individuals in the dog world community sought his help with health issues either for themselves or a family member. He always found the physicians they needed for their loved ones.
As an AKC judge, I marveled at how he ran his ring, always chatting up the exhibitors as well as their dogs so that they were relaxed.
As former Chair and Board Member of the AKC Museum of the Dog, he is responsible for bringing back the Museum of the Dog to New York from St. Louis. His passion for dog art as a collector was well-known, donating several of his paintings to the museum. And who could forget those memorable Theater Benefits he created?
Perhaps one of his most admirable traits was how he treated everyone he met.
Whether a receptionist or royalty, his broad smile, and his warm and animated conversation, won you over.
A true Humanitarian and Icon: Ron Menaker… there was only one. There will never be another.”
REMEMBERING RONALD H MENAKER — Dr. Carmen Battaglia
“Ron Menaker and I go back many years, first as exhibitors, then as AKC Board members. One might say we became friends from the first time we met. Ron was easy to like, he was positive, a good listener, and always interested in new ideas.
We had many years of fun together. We judged in Mexico and all over the US. We spent hours talking about what the future might
I recall on the morning of 911, we were in Newark, New Jersey, at the Delegate Meeting. I was on the stage and had just begun to address the Delegate body about how we were going to launch a nationwide effort to use the talk shows on television to get the word out about the value of having a microchipped pet. At that time, I was President and CEO of Companion Animal Recovery (CAR), now called Reunite. I had only made a few remarks, when Ron came on the stage, took the mic, and announced that the twin towers had both been hit by planes. The audience was stunned, people were panicked and began to leave, the airports were shut down and rental cars were taken. Ron said he had a car and would take me and my wife, Nancy, home with him. He also invited Dennis Sprung and David Merriam to stay. After about a week, Ron drove us to a small city in the southern part of the state where we rented a car and drove home to Atlanta.
In September of 2017, a massive storm was headed to the east coast of Florida. Officials asked everyone to leave. Most Floridians came to Georgia, and within a few hours all the hotels were filled. Ron and Lorna only found one that had a room, but they would not take people with pets. I invited Ron and Lorna to come with their dogs and stay with us. It rained most of the week, but our dogs and theirs loved playing together in the mud. We spent the days talking about breeds, AKC, and how to encourage young people to get a dog and enjoy AKC.
“That’s Ron.” This became a phrase you would often hear when someone talked about Ron and his ideas. It quickly became the saying. He used to tell me to take the AKC Annual Reports on my trips and give them to people who can help us. That was Ron, always looking for ways to make AKC a better place.
Ron was a person who inspired others. He set out to transform the AKC and possessed a rare and prized gift called leadership. He had a magical quality that sets some men and women apart so that others will follow them as they conjure up visions and invite others to dream with them. I always thought that it was his unique understanding of leadership that coincided with his dream for a better world with purebred dogs that made the AKC better during his time as chairman.
Ron was a person who inspired others. He set out to transform the AKC and possessed a rare and prized gift called leadership. He had a magical quality that sets some men and women apart so that others will follow them as they conjure up visions and invite others to dream with them.
No one could more eloquently summon ideas about a higher purpose or bring forth the majesty of leadership and make it glow better than Ron, who often referred to his own position as a board member and CEO as the guy behind the scenes.
I have been truly blessed to have been a friend of Ron Menaker and I am grateful that our paths crossed and that our lives touched. I shall always remember him with the deepest admiration and affection. And I will always feel honored by the journey that we traveled together in search of better ways to improve the sport and the AKC.
And so, I offer my condolences to his beloved and indispensable Lorna, his children, his friends, and all of us in the American Kennel Club, an organization that he so deeply revered. I say Au Revoir, to a gifted leader, an historic CEO, and a gracious human being.”
REMEMBERING RONALD H MENAKER, FRIEND AND MENTOR — Carl C. Ashby
“Writing about a person who meant so much to so many is not an easy task. When that person is Ron Menaker it is even more difficult. Ron was a dear friend whom I was privileged to know both professionally and, most importantly, personally. He meant so much to me as he did so many others.
I remember so well when Ron rose to the dais at the Delegate Meeting on September 11, 2001 to share ‘the tower is down’ and went on to adjourn the meeting. The rest of the story is that he took several stranded delegates to his home so that they had a place to stay as they figured out how to get home.
I remember the dog people with serious medical issues whom he paired with some of the best doctors in the world to assure they received the best care possible and have access to innovative treatment. People knew, no matter who they were, they could call Ron and he would help.
I remember his terrific sense of humor. He had great stories and could make the ordinary hilarious. No one told a better story than Ron nor enjoyed it more.
His philanthropy was legendary. He chaired many fundraisers, both inside and outside the dog world, with his generosity leading the way. The Theater Benefit held for years prior to Westminster was a not to miss event which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for dog-related charities. His commitment to the AKC Museum of the Dog is the reason we have this incredible tribute to purebred dogs today in New York City where it is accessible to the world. Without his leadership, that wonderful collection would be out of view for most people.
Most of all, I remember his love of dogs and his unwavering commitment to the sport and the American Kennel Club.
Ron was a mentor to me as well as great friend. There was no greater honor than Ron asking me to serve as his Vice Chair on the AKC Board of Directors. Always one step ahead, Ron had an uncanny ability to size up a situation, find a path forward that would satisfy most, and work to get it implemented. He never gave up! I learned much from him, and I will miss not having him to share ideas and notions with to better purebred dogs.
He has left this earth, but his rich legacy will live on forever. Ron… I will never forget you and the impact you had on my life.”
REMEMBERING RONALD H MENAKER — Jan Ritchie Gladstone
Ron and Lorna Menaker, Lee and Romana Arnold, Carmen and Nancy Battaglia, Carl and Jaimie Ashby, and I spent a wonderful weekend in the Florida Keys for the wedding of our friends, the late Steve Gladstone and Jan Ritchie Gladstone. Jan shares the following about her memories of Ron:
“Malcolm Forbes is credited with the wisdom that ‘[c]ontrary to the cliche, genuinely nice guys most often finish first…’
Ron Menaker always did.
I met Ron many years ago at the International Kennel Club Show. Ron was judging. I was his steward. I was impressed by his courtesy to exhibitors and his ready wit. His sheer joy in judging and his love for the fancy were infectious.
I came to know Ron better over the years, first as an AKC Delegate and later as a judge.
As a Delegate, I came to value Ron’s visionary leadership and business acumen on the Board. Even more vital to the fancy, however, was Ron’s sheer availability in his role as Chairman. He took phone calls on everything from club issues to medical ones. The time and kindness he devoted to members of the sport was extraordinary. Ron inspired tremendous loyalty by this selfless dedication to dogs and their people. His assistance was, in many cases, literally life-saving.
As a judge, when I began traveling outside the US with my late husband, I learned that Ron was held in equally high regard outside this country. His innate goodness, intelligence, and integrity won fans around the globe.
Through the years, I was fortunate as our friendship further developed. As I spent more time with Ron and Lorna, my initial impression of Ron was only reinforced. Through good times and bad, Ron was a constant. As busy as he was, even as he battled illness, Ron somehow found time for friendship, counsel, and advice.
Ron has left a lasting legacy to the fancy with his service as Chairman of the AKC Board, his work as Show Chair of the National Championship, and his work with the AKC Museum of the Dog. Ron also lives on in the hearts of the many who felt the difference his
May his memory truly be a blessing.”
REMEMBERING RONALD H MENAKER — Lorna Menaker
Lorna Menaker has been by Ron’s side since their marriage in 2014, bringing her son, Alexander, and their Border Collie, “Bob.” It’s hard to miss in the pictures shown here that they were a very happyfamily. In a conversation I had with Lorna today, she told me these thoughts about her husband:
“To Know Ron Is to Love Ron.
Honestly, there are not enough adjectives to describe him, his ‘uniqueness and specialness.’ An extraordinary, distinctive gentleman who selflessly and generously helped those in need. He would seamlessly find a way to resolve matters. He exuded great leadership, was an amazing mentor and a fantastic delegator. He would present you with a task and you had better complete it. ‘Talk the Talk AND Walk the Walk.’ His humbleness coexisted with his unparalleled passion, he worked diligently to accomplish giant goals that others would have found overwhelming. His endeavors ultimately culminated in well-deserved ‘lifetime’ achievement and humanitarian awards, ranging from his ‘considerable’ contributions in the Dog World through to his philanthropic work. He was a stellar visionary with outstanding business acumen. He was resilient, strong, and very fair. He was equally gentle, kind, caring, loving, and could always be relied upon. His intrinsic desire for reciprocal loyalty and integrity was renowned. A very special person who touched the lives of many, his presence and ability to inspire and encourage made one a better person. As I say this with all my heart, walk beside me through this life, Ron, you will always remain close, until we meet again, my sweetheart. You know you were truly loved by many and as the love of my life, you will forever be in my heart and on my mind.”
A very special person who touched the lives of many, his presence and ability to inspire and encourage made one a better person.
A Military Memorial Service will be held at 9:30 am on Monday, March, 21, 2022 at the South Florida V.A. Cemetery, 6501 S. State Road 7, Lake Worth, Florida 33449.
Ron held a deep passion for dogs and was a dedicated advocate of the American Kennel Club and the AKC Museum of the Dog. Please consider donations in Ron’s memory to: Ronald H. Menaker Memorial Fund.