Ronald Comer

Family Tribute:September 22, 2001

We meet here today to remember Ron Comer - and to do so with love and affection. You and I grieve for a husband and father and friend. We mourn also for the thousands of others whose lives were cut short in this tragedy born of unspeakable evil.

But Ron and those who died with him have a kind of immortality. They will live on in the lives of those they leave behind. Memories cannot be taken from us. They remain forever, and are there to console us always.

We pray also that these memories will someday return smiles and laughter to the faces of those in need.

Lauren, Kate and I, our families, our friends and neighbors know very well the family side of Ron. But Ron had another life - his work - that he truly loved.

All of you who were his colleagues saw every day that part of Ron.

We distributed to all of you here today self-addressed envelopes and notepaper. Perhaps during the quiet time of this service, you can recount for us some memory, some story of Ron, something special or something unique you saw in him. If you cannot complete this today, we ask you to take an envelope with you as you leave and share whatever thoughts come to mind over the next few days. We shall cherish these remembrances always, and they will comfort us.

In return, I want to relate to you some aspects of the side of the Ron I knew, and saw, and loved every day for 33 years.

He was the kindest, sweetest, most caring, gentle man ever. He was all give, and I was all take. Never once in all our years together did we argue, thanks to a philosophy he adopted soon after our wedding. As was typical of Ron, this code of behavior was simple and direct. He would say to anyone who asked, 'Cindy and I always discuss things; we compromise, and then we do it her way.'

He was a man behind a desk, but he was a landscaper at heart. On weekends, the lawn would be mowed as early as neighbors would allow - earlier if he could get away with it. The rest of the day would be spent trimming, clipping, pruning, and raking. He loved that yard and felt master of it as he sat atop his deck alone, or with me or with Lauren and Kate or friends and neighbors.

His thrill in life was scuba diving, an activity some people thought at odds with him. But its quiet serenity and solitude was a perfect fit for his personality.

Here, the helter-skelter world of the Long Island Railroad and New York City and the world’s business disappeared however briefly. And Ron, the quiet, reflective, most decent guy I ever knew was where he wanted to be.

Nevertheless, he was not without his shortcomings, and he was particularly lacking in technical skills. To his everlasting credit, Ron knew this. Of course, the evidence was overwhelming.

He freely admitted that when the directions for installing any gadget demanded no talents or special intelligence whatsoever, it was a clear warning to him to hire a professional. And that we did on more than a few occasions. It was a lot easier than filling out the insurance claims.

Oddly enough, Ron’s brother Jim is exceedingly handy, and Ron acted as a willing 'go-fer' for Jim on any number of projects. One time, I remember Jim standing on a ladder and asking Ron to measure a piece of lumber. Ron extended the tape, proudly announcing the length to be '10 inches and two little lines.'

But our all-time favorite story that ideally captures the essence of Ron when it came to his ongoing war with technology occurred when he first got his cell phone and tried to program it.

Walking into dinner one evening, Ron tossed his brand new, state-of-the-art cell phone on the table, declaring with absolute certainty that it was broken beyond repair.

The phone clearly indicated 48 voice-mail messages awaiting his response. But try as he did, Ron could access none of them.

Well, as so often happened with Ron when confronted with the technical side of life, the little things proved to be his undoing.

Once shown that he had to press 'pound' as the final step in the process, Ron quickly began the task of responding to what surely had to be the important and impassioned inquiries from his clients.

Surprisingly - at least to Ron - not one message related to Marsh & McLennan. Instead, Ron’s 48 voice-mails comprised the entire station by station itinerary of the LIRR’s 6:35am Northport to Penn Station run. 'Next stop - Syosset. Syosset next.' 'Tickets. Tickets, please.' ’Watch the closing doors.' 'All passengers change at Jamaica.'

Ron may have had some difficulties in accessing his own mail, but he had become a whiz at recording the words of others.

Isn’t it strange that at times like these, it’s the little and long-forgotten events that become so near and clear.

And perhaps that is the thought that should be with all of us here today. Life is not all lightning and thunder. Most of the time it is the routine of flickering candles, soft whispers, barely perceptible sounds. And if we think about it, these are usually the most valuable and the most worth remembering.

Thank you for being here today. Thank you for all you have done for us. Thank you for being a part of our lives. Go and live yours peacefully and with love. Ron would have wanted it that way.

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All my thoughts and prayers go out to the Comer Family. Ron was my boss , but still managed to be a friend, which is not easy.I often attempt to resolve life or business problems with advice he delivered years ago. New York came back, Ron !!
Vince Allen, Colleague
Sep 11 2011 10:32AM
Ron: After nearly ten years, you are still thought of and talked about often. It is a lasting tribute to the person and professional you were to so many friends, colleague and loved ones. While I grew up in Northport, we have moved further east to Mt. Sinai, but always make several visits to the 'old home town'. Each and every time I walk across Main Street to sit on a peaceful bench installed in your honor. It was an honor and pleasure to have worked with you,John Rigo and so many outstanding professionals and friends that we lost that day. Until we meet again. Jeff Johnston By the way, tell Rigo to stop trying to hit me with lightning!
Jeff Johnston, Colleague
Sep 9 2011 8:12AM
I think of you often and the many years we worked together. You will never be forgotten.
Doris Williams, Colleague
Aug 30 2011 11:04AM
Ron, As I was watching t.v. Saturday - I saw your picture on the screen and heard your name called. May you rest in peace..............
Lori Anne Gabel, Colleague
Sep 14 2010 4:24PM
Hey boss, Just thinking about you and the others that were taken 9 years ago. You were a wonderful boss and I was honored to have known you.
Denise McKenna, Colleague
Sep 12 2010 4:55AM
I pass the Ron Comer street sign almost everyday and today wanted to know the man a little. I wish his family peace. He sounds like a gentleman. I lost five members of my family to terrorism twenty years ago and want his family to know that I am thinking of them today.
Siobhan Mulroy, Friend
Sep 11 2010 4:58PM
I lived across the street from the Comers in Northport. Ron's enthusiasm and perpetual smile in his garden made me wonder what he was growing there. I,unfortunately did not share his garden skill and in spite of feelings of inferiority I admired his. Ron rarely offered an opinion but was ready to advise at any request. I always thought that he was probably amused by my wierd family. He never told me so but I could feel it in the way he chuckled when we spoke. Ava and I speculated whether we would see him on Crab Meadow beach one day. Ron did not care for that kind of frivolity. He was a dedicated family man and a meticulous homeowner. He spoke sometimes of his daughters (Kate and Lauren)and how proud he was. I am happy that I had a chance to know Ron Comer.
Steve Fishman, Friend
Dec 11 2006 11:14PM
I am not a collegue, but was looking up Ron Comer tonight as he was a wonderful boy I knew when I was growing up...I married his brother. Ron Comer I knew died of cancer..after a 3 year struggle...from 16 to 19 years old. His mother passed this morning...and just wanted to touch something tonight. It is so interestin to me that he sounds like the Ron Comer I also came to know. God bless Pamela
Pamela, Colleague
May 29 2006 2:59AM
It's New Year's Eve 2003 and i'm reflecting on my most important friendships, one of them being with Lauren Comer, Ron Comer's daughter. Lauren and I met in college and I met Mr. Comer at the same time...moving into our freshman year dorm and we lived together for the last two years at JMU. His smile is what I remember most and luckily for his family and friends, Lauren has the same smile. My family and I continue to think of the Comers and we hope that as time goes on, the pain lessens and the memories of Ron stay bright.
Meredith Trowbridge, Friend
Dec 31 2003 6:33PM
Honey, When it comes to matters of the heart, the past has a stubborn way of refusing to fade. We miss you more deeply each and every day. Love, Cindy
cindy comer, Family
Sep 14 2003 11:12AM
I just knew Ron was a kind person as soon as I met him. As my manager, I appreciated his guidance and the knowledge he so willingly shared. Although he was terribly busy, he was always quick to reach out or respond. It was an honor to work for him. I continue to pray for peace and comfort for Ron's family.
Jill Rogan, Colleague
Jul 23 2003 11:14AM
The very first time I interviewed with Ron, I felt very comfortable. I guess his kind face helped. Normally I'd be terribly nervous, but not with him, I felt a little like I was sitting across from my Dad and just chatting. This was around April 1997, I managed to seal the job, and was thrilled, however short my tenure was. But in just 5 months of working for Marsh & McLennan over 5 years ago, I still remember Ron well and was so terribly saddened by his loss, mainly for his family, because I figured if he was such a nice man at work he must've been a fantastic family man. Obviously no one deserved this sort of an end to their life, but all the stories we're hearing from people afterward are shedding some light on what extraordinary people they all were. Every one of them special in their own way, and it seems Ron was very special. I'm pleased to have known him, even for a short while. I'll continue to pray for peace and healing. Thank you for creating this forum, it is a great way to work through that healing process.
Stephanie Larson, Colleague
Dec 15 2002 9:56AM
Ron, we miss you. We pray for Cindy, Kate and Lauren. It was an honor to be part of your NY claims team. Thanks for your guidance over the years and all you did for my career and my family.
Vince Allen, Colleague
Sep 18 2002 11:37AM
I knew Ron for several years and spoke with him by phone quite often. He always had a valid answer for some silly insurance claim question/issue I had. He was a tireless worker, an outstanding claims consultant and a truly great person. I am truly fortunate to have known him!
Rick James, Colleague
Sep 11 2002 8:22PM
As a person, Ron was a true gentleman, who always put the needs and concerns of others ahead of his own. As a colleauge,Ron was a dedicated team player who lead by example. We miss him.
robert j beeg, Colleague
Apr 4 2002 11:47AM