CARL KOLOGIE: 'Chops' will be missed
That’s what everybody called him, whether you knew him of not.
Ron Boring was an institution in Saltsburg. Some said he was a legend, others referred to the big guy in the powered wheelchair as a character.
Even if you were not a resident of Saltsburg, if you traveled Route 286 through the Indiana County town, you were sure to see Boring at one time or another.
Even if he didn’t know you, he would wave and smile from his wheelchair, whether he was parked across from the drugstore, where you had to slow down to make the turn, or near the bridge that crosses the Conemaugh River.
Word of his death Jan. 25 spread through the community like wildfire. Complications from pneumonia were too much for his already-maligned body that has been confined to a wheelchair for almost 10 years.
He loved his hometown and the people in it. And those who took the time to listen to his many stories heard anything from his experiences playing tackle on the 1966 undefeated Saltsburg High School football team, to what it meant to him living his life in the small river town that was named for the abundance of salt in the area.
He loved Canal Days, the annual festival celebrated along the canal path that had become a homecoming for Saltsburg natives.
Chops was proud of his family, although his five brothers and sisters had all passed away before him due to everything from drowning, an auto accident, cancer and a heart attack.
His father died when Chops was only 8 in a hunting accident.
His mother had also passed away, leaving him as the only remaining member of the family.
He had no one and no insurance.
That’s why his cousin Julie Dunmire took matters into her hands and started a fund for Ron’s burial with a goal of $4,000, as it would take $3,000 for cremation and burial in the Twin Valley Cemetery in Delmont, next to his mother, and another $1,000 for a granite bench with his name on it as a tribute.
As of Saturday, a total of $5,080 had been raised and was in Saltsburg’s S&T Bank branch.
Extra money will be donated to charities in the Saltsburg area, such as the fire company.
And although cash was one thing he did not have a lot of, it was very common for Chops to have a pocketful of quarters that he handed out to youngsters around town.
They all knew him, and loved him and his stories.
Another of his favorite hangouts, especially during inclement weather, was Ron Mancabelli’s All-American Barber Shop on Point Street in the downtown section of Saltsburg.
This is where he would sit in his chair, work crossword puzzles and talk to the customers.
His chair is there today with a wreath on it, along with his photo and his cane.
And the marquee at the Saltsburg Presbyterian Church reads: RON “CHOPS” MADE SALTSBURG A SPECIAL PLACE. HE WILL BE MISSED. GOD BLESS HIM.
You want to know something? Believe it or not, he didn’t like to be called Chops. Even though he was used to the name, it was not uncommon for him to correct those who greeted him by the nickname.