Community Says A Final Farewell To Radio Legend Ron Smith
BALTIMORE (WJZ) – High honors for a Baltimore radio icon. Hundreds turned out for an emotional memorial for Ron Smith, who recently lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Weijia Jiang attended the ceremony and has reaction from Smith’s wife.
Smith’s wife says it’s exactly what her husband wanted—not a funeral service, but a memorial where loved ones could celebrate and laugh together. But there were plenty of tears, too.
At Goucher University, the main auditorium was packed with people who loved Ron Smith.
“We called this a gathering of family, friends and loyal listeners. I think everyone who was there today really saw their Ron Smith,” said June Smith.
The Baltimore broadcasting legend died last month after battling pancreatic cancer. Known on WBAL-TV Radio as the “voice of reason,” Smith shared the harrowing details with listeners.
“I owed it to my audience to be honest with them,” Ron Smith said at the time.
And he was honest with himself. Smith planned every detail of the memorial service with June. He even chose the music and the speakers, long-time friends and colleagues.
“I discovered Ron was really a big, really smart Oreo cookie. He was hard and crunchy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside and that inside was absolutely filled with love,” said Jonathan Palmer Murray.
It’s a love his devoted fans surely felt. Many attended, despite never meeting Smith in person.
“Since the early 90s, he was a companion in my cars. I drove around and he became somebody I had to listen to,” said Diane Dye.
After two Marines presented a flag to Mrs. Smith, Ron’s voice filled the room.
“The curtain is coming down right now and so I’m bidding everyone a very fond farewell,” Smith’s recording said.
One that ended with the Smiths’ favorite song, “Beautiful Day.”
“Especially now after what he and I’ve been through. We started out this day cold and rainy and the sun’s out now and it’s a beautiful day, a beautiful, beautiful day,” June Smith said.
Many speakers talked about how much Smith loved the Raves. In fact “Go Ravens” were among his last words, not only because he loved football but because of how the team brought Baltimore together, as he strived to do every day.
Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, along with former Governor Bob Ehrlich, were among the guests.