Ronald J. "Ron" Brian
Ronald “Ron” J. Brian, 67, of Springfield, IL, passed away Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at St. John’s Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born in Springfield, IL on January 1, 1948 to Master Sergeant Tony and Jennie Brian (nee Applegate). He married Judy Gaye McAtee on July 24, 1971 at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. They are the proud parents of one son, Jeffrey Scott Brian, and two canine children, his “little buddies”, Max and Bruce.
Ron graduated from Griffin High School in 1966, where he was the starting catcher on its baseball team, which won the baseball state championship in 1964; the team was subsequently inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame. Ron went on to play baseball on scholarship at Northern Illinois University, where he majored in business and secondary education.
Ron returned to Griffin High School in 1971 to teach marketing and business classes. During his tenure at Griffin High School, which lasted approximately ten years, he was able to meaningfully touch the lives of hundreds of students, and was affectionately referred to as “RB.” and “coach” by both students and faculty alike. While at Griffin, he coached its golf team, which he led to consecutive state championships in 1978 and 1979; he was named Coach of the Year in 1980 for his efforts. He relished his time teaching and often waxed fondly about his students and the profound impact that they had on his life; there were very few places that he could go without hearing the random vocal call of “Hey, RB.” After retiring from teaching, he went on to work for the Illinois Department of Corrections and subsequently the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Ron was an active member of the Ansar Shrine, Jesters Court #20, Ark and Anchor Lodge #354 of Auburn and Chatham Central Lodge #523, Scottish Rite, and York Rite.
He was also an honorary member of the Legion of Honor, Mt. Nebo Lodge #76, and Morrisonville Lodge #681. Ron gave selflessly of himself and his time to these organizations and their respective causes and was devoted to his fellow brethren for whom he deeply cared. Outside of the Shrine and Masonic Lodges, Ron was an avid golfer, as he was never one to miss a tee time, a die-hard fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Bears, and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, as well as a follower of Sacred Heart Griffin football.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother, Donald (DJ.) Brian.
He is survived by his wife, Judy Gaye; his son, Jeffrey Scott of Denver, CO; three sisters in law: Kathleen Beaver (John) of Lincoln, Michalene McAtee (William Buzard), and Christine Brian; two nephews: Brian Beaver (Christine) of Bloomington, and Brad Beaver (Michele) of Sherman; two nieces: Apryl Marion of Peoria and Kristina Brian; three great nephews: Corey, Brandon and Donte; five great nieces: Kyleigh, Caitlin, Taylor, Madison, and Alexandria; three goddaughters Amy, Ann, and Alexis Galassi; and many, many friends.
Cremation rites have been accorded by Staab Family Funeral Home, Springfield, IL.
Visitation: 3 – 7 pm, Monday, December 7, 2015 at Staab Funeral Home, 1109 South 5th Street, Springfield, IL. There will be a Masonic service at 7 pm.
Celebration of Life: 1 pm, Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at the Ansar Shrine Temple, 630 S. 6th Street, Springfield, IL.
Memorial contributions may be made to Shriner Children’s Hospital, Office of Development, 2001 South Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63131-3597.