RON WALTER WEBERRon Walter Weber, 84, of Edina, passed away peacefully on Sept. 28, 2012
Ron Walter Weber, 84, of Edina, passed away peacefully on Sept. 28, 2012.
Ron was born in Duluth, in 1928 and continued strong ties with the Duluth community throughout his life.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents.
Ron was a world-class angler as well as a businessman and venture capitalist. Ron enjoyed life to the fullest with his wife, Mary Ann. Ron will be sorely missed.
Ron graduated from Duluth Central High School; the University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD) with a business and economics degree, and later received an honorary doctorate.
He was the Lieutenant Colonel of ROTC and served in the Navy in World War II.
Ron’s venture into the business world began with a sales representative position at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in St. Mary’s, Ohio. He first entered the fishing industry at Pflueger Fishing Tackle and became a regional sales manager. His entrepreneurial spirit drove him to begin his own sales representative agency, R.W. Weber Sales. He represented the top fishing tackle companies including Southbend, Gladding, Plano, Quick Reels, Maglite, and DAM. Ron traveled to Canada for a fishing trip, and discovered an exciting and innovative lure called the Rapala, with which Ron had wild success. Subsequently, Ron contacted the Finnish Consulate and requested to be the sole International representative of Rapala Lures. Ron formed a partnership with his customer, Ray Ostrom, in 1959 and founded Normark Corporation as President and CEO. Ron had so much faith in the Rapala lure that he used his life’s savings to fund the construction of a factory in Finland that met growing demands for the lure’s production.
Under Ron’s direction, Rapala became the undisputed number one lure in the world.
With an active mind, confidence, and knack for success, Ron turned to additional business ventures. During his involvement with Rapala, the company purchased NEBCO, which was later called Blue Fox Tackle, located in in Cambridge, Minn. Blue Fox became a top tackle manufacturer. Among other groundbreaking contributions, Ron and Normark introduced Fiskar Scissors, Martini Fillet Knives and cross-country skis to North America.
After selling Normark in 1990, Ron embarked on numerous business endeavors including Customer Link, Sansio, and Javron. Ron founded Neometrics, a medical device company in 2001. With Ron’s backing and professional leadership, it became one of the leading medical device companies in the industry.
In addition, Ron was honored with the induction to the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame and was Knighted by the President of Finland.
Ron’s commitment to philanthropy, particularly in Duluth, was unwavering and multifaceted. He was instrumental in creating the Weber Music Hall, designed by famed architect Cesar Pelli. He sponsored many Music Scholarship endowments at UMD.
Ron also created the Weber Stream Initiative in order to preserve the cleanliness and continued viability of the waters around the North Shore, and he was a major contributor to the Great Lakes Aquarium.
Ron was a member of Northland Country Club, Interlachen Country Club, Bonita Bay Golf Club, the Brule River Sportsman’s Club, and the President’s Club at the University of Minnesota.
Ron was passionately involved in his various companies and worked until the day he passed away to ensure their success. He said, “I enjoyed my work and loved what I did. It was like playing a round of golf.”
Ron is survived by wife, Mary Ann; daughters Jeanne (David) Dentzel, Lisa Weber, Maribeth Weber (Robert) Marchi; and son, Craig (Melanie) Weber, as well as grandchildren, Charlie Dentzel, Sean Hutchison, Kristen Hutchison, Lucas Marchi, June Weber, and Vaughn Weber.
VISITATION: 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, until the 3 p.m. service in Mount Olivet Church, 5025 Knox Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55419. (612) 926-7651.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation www.mplsheart.org www.washburn-mcreavy.com
Edina Chapel 952-920-3996