With a heavy heart I remember my friend and colleague Ron Blond. Ron died unexpectedly in his home last week; a memorial was held for him this afternoon.
Ron was a math teacher who left the classroom to create computer applications for the teacher and student.
Ron was my friend. He was kind and generous to a fault. If you met him for lunch you had to arrive early, otherwise he would have paid the bill before you even arrived. He was gentle and wise, a secular man who preferred Bertrand Russell’s carefully constructed arguments to those of the more aggressive “new atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Perhaps it was his mathematical mind that preferred the careful argument to the heated debate.
Ron’s personal legacy is the hearts he has touched. His students, his colleagues, his friends and his family will carry this to the end of their days.
But I’d like to leave you with a taste of Ron’s attention to the needs of students and teachers. He created an online mathematics glossary for students from kindergarten to Grade 12. I’ve arbitrarily linked to the entry on function. You can select grade grouping across the top buttons, and topic with the alphabet row.
In this glossary, Ron was constantly balancing the best expression of the mathematics in question with the age and maturity of the students with teacher needs. We had many discussions about several of the entries. Often we’d disagree about the best balance to strike. But in all cases, I believe, the balance is sound.
(The glossary is a work in progress; Ron was still adding to it in his final days.)
As with any online work, no one knows what the future holds for the glossary. But for now, I’ll point you to it.
Good night my friend. Thanks for the time we shared our thoughts, our enthusiasms, our dreams and our fears. Among the many things we shared was a taste for fine cheeses and fine whiskeys. I’ll enjoy both tonight. For both of us.—John