Ronald Ferree Dick of Newport, R.I. passed away peacefully in the arms of his beloved wife Lilly and with his family around him on Tuesday April 26, 2016. Ronnie was born on September 1, 1928, in Washington D.C., the second son of C. Mathews Dick and Catherine Garnett Crossan. He was the brother of C. Mathews Dick, Jr. (Maisie) who predeceased him. He was brought up in Washington, D.C. and summered in Newport, where he became a crack sailor. After St. Mark’s School, he graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1950. Upon graduation, he married Alison Kelsey, with whom he shared the next 20 years. Ronnie served in the U.S. Navy, as an officer with the Sixth Fleet, and then as a military attaché at The Hague. Returning to the United States, he earned an M.A. in International Relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Ronnie became an accomplished executive in the New York, Ankara, and London offices of the Mobil Oil Company. In New York, he enjoyed evenings of jazz, musicals, and the New York City Ballet, and painting in his home on East 80th Street. Ronnie’s marriages to his first wife and mother of his three children, Alison Kelsey, and second wife, Jane Cunningham, ended in divorce. Ronnie was a member of numerous clubs, including White’s in London, the Brook and the Racquet and Tennis Club in New York, and Spouting Rock Beach Association in Newport. He was a lifelong supporter of the arts.
Ronnie returned to Newport in 1983, where he shortly thereafter met the love of his life, Lilly Rothe. Marriage to Lilly in 1986 brought Ronnie intense and enduring happiness. He followed her lead in entering civic life, serving on the Newport City Council and playing a valued role in local charities, including as a Board Member of the Preservation Society of Newport County, the Aquidneck Land Trust, and the Island Moving Company. Ronnie and Lilly ran a successful import business together, which gave them an opportunity to spend treasured time in England and throughout Europe. Ronnie was an inspiration to his four stepchildren, and he touched the lives of many friends of all ages, with his generosity of spirit, wit and wisdom.
A memorial service will follow this summer at Trinity Church in Newport, where he found much solace. Donations may be made in his honor to the Aquidneck Land Trust, the Island Moving Company, or the Newport Tree Society.
Ronnie is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lilly, his three children Alison (Eric), Leslie (Peter), and Thomas (Suzannah), his stepchildren Annelisa, Sarah (William), Alexander (Jennifer), and Christina (Igor), and his much loved grandchildren and stepgrandchildren Taylor, Audrey, Jasmine, India, Chloë, Matthew, Clayton, Annabelle, Peter, Barclay, Sophia, and Carolina, and great-grandson Kai. Ronnie was a true gentleman who will always be remembered for his bravery and determination, his leadership and commitment to contributing in a positive way to his community, his curiosity and openness to new experiences, and his love of his family and friends. His intellect and his heart were always open.
A memorial service will be held at Trinity Church in Newport, RI on Wednesday, August 10th at 10:30am.