Ronald Taylor Astin 1947 ~ 2010 Ronald Taylor Astin, age 63, quietly passed away on July 24, 2010. Ron was born in Salt Lake City July19, 1947, to John LaVar and Betty Taylor Astin. He married his sweetheart, Adele McCoy, on April1, 1971, in Salt Lake City. Ron studied history, English and political science at the University of Utah and received his BS degree in History in 1970 and his MA degree in History in 1972. He was the recipient of the Fishbein Scholarship for the Study of History and Medicine at the University of Chicago, and he also studied Modern Europe and Tudor/Stuart England. In 1977 he was awarded his J.D. degree from the University of Chicago. Ron began his practice of law in San Francisco and then he and Adele moved to Houston to join Vinson & Elkins, where he eventually became a partner. He was a very successful corporate attorney at Vinson & Elkins in both their Washington, D. C. and Houston offices until his retirement several years ago. He also taught classes at the South Texas School of Law in Houston. Ron was an avid reader and had a great love of history; he loved books and collected an impressive library over the years. He had a particular love for nautical history, and he loved and collected model ships. Ron could hold anyone spellbound with his extensive knowledge, and he was an expert on the life and history of his great-great-grandfather President John Taylor. Ron is survived by his sisters, Sharon Astin, Johnny (Jeff) Pugh, and Laurie (Craig) Goodrich, his brother, Marc (Cathy) Astin and in-laws Michael (Liz) McCoy and Anita (Thomas) Manka, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Adele, his parents, and his dear mother-in-law, Eueda McCoy. A private graveside service for the families will be held at a later date.
Published in Deseret News on Aug. 1, 2010
Learning of Ron’s death five years ago I found myself thinking of high school and the memories it held for me. I remembered a difficult summer I spent away from friends when my mother dragged me and my brother to Florida to be with my dad as he worked at Cape Canaveral. And I thought of a card sent by friends in Salt Lake that offered delight on a lonely August birthday. I decided to head for the basement to rummage through my box of treasures to find it, to see it again, to fix its image in my mind.
The card was made from the record sleeve insert to Dylan’s album, The Times They Are A-Changin’, a 12” square sheet of stiff tan paper covered front and back with close-set lyrics. It had been folded in half and my name was inscribed in blue ink in balloon script on the front; the message inside commanded me to “Have a Bitchin’ Birthday”. I probably would have tossed it years ago but for the fact that the entire card is overspread with a dozen mauve lip prints of varying sizes made by many high school friends. Nancy Kemp's lip print is there (the card was her idea after all); Wayne Peay left a tentative imprint, barely visible against the tan paper; Steve Flynn’s print is a neat, round O of surprise. Bruce Plenk covered his thumb with lipstick and pressed it onto the paper three times to resemble a duck’s webbed foot; Brent McGee must have had reservations about appearing undignified so he used the lipstick to attempt his signature, complete with middle initial; but Ron Astin, who I’d always considered to be one of the most serious boys of my acquaintance, smeared lipstick on his very large mouth and left a heavily impastoed print, thick as the painted frosting on one of Thiebaud’s cakes.
To a seventeen year-old girl separated from her friends by thousands of miles for an entire summer, that card was a lifeline of friendship tossed across a continent. I’m sure that many of Ron’s friends remember his wit, his intelligence, perhaps his arrogance; I remember a gesture of friendship he made in mauve lipstick.
John Haymore (Haymore)
I've only had a couple of 'best friends' in life and Ron was one of them. From junior high through high school Ron was a window to a bigger world that I was oblivious to. We probably played a 1000 hours of basketball together and talked another few thousand trying to figure out who we were and who we wanted to become. He taught me what a 'Gnant' shirt was and was aghast when I wiped my nose on the sleeves. I still remember the unusual prayer he gave at my mission farewell. Geography, commitments, other roads traveled lessened our interactions later in life but I still have a special place in my heart for Ron and I wish there were more than memories. He was a great guy!