One of the Easton and Oliver Ames High School people who would contact me through the comments section at the end of the “Muscato's Musings” columns was Ronald "Ron" Buba, OA '59.
From my count, Ron commented on seven of my columns.
Ron, who had been living in Texas for 45 years, stayed in touch with his Easton and OA buddies.
One time, while doing research for something I was writing, I called Ron in Texas and we chatted. It was fun.
Ron – the only child of Stanley and Alice Buba – was the starting guard on the 1958-59 OA hoops team that won the Class C Tech Tourney Championship at Boston Garden. In fact, I last saw Ron in Nov. 2009 when he was at Stonehill College for the induction of that team in the OAHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
In football, Ron was a tough and hard-nosed offensive lineman and linebacker; he was the co-captain of the 1958 OA football team that had been riddled with injuries yet still lost only two games.
Ron also started for the OA football team as a junior when it finished undefeated and untied, and was named the Eastern Massachusetts champion in its small school (Class D) division. Ron saw a lot of playing time as a sophomore when the OA football team finished undefeated, but with a tie, and – save for a late touchdown Mansfield put on the board against it– would have finished unscored upon.
My dad was the head coach, and Willy Nixon the assistant coach, of the OA football and basketball teams on which Ron played. When my father retired from OA in 1990, Ron flew up from Texas to be at the retirement event held for my dad. I will remember forever fondly how, the day after the event, in the afternoon, Ron was over at our family's home on Summer Street and sitting on the couch next to my father and laughing and telling stories and hugging my dad – and even kissed my father on the top of his bald head.
Affection and nostalgia and appreciation like that are beyond priceless.
On Sept. 29, when I received an email from Roger Sweet, another 1959 OA grad, and a longtime close friend of Ron's, informing me that Ron had passed away (on Sept. 28), I was saddened, unhappily surprised – and taken with reflection.
It was only on Sept. 18 that Ron had made a comment on this this column which was about Easton and its ties to Notre Dame football.
I knew that Ron had battled cancer, but I thought he had it pretty well beaten back. Well, as I found out, what happened is that the cancer had weakened a section of a major artery of Ron's and the artery ruptured. Ron was 71.
Ron Buba leaves his wife of 30 years, Sheila, and three children: Kelley, Lesley, and Ryan – and their spouses. Ron had seven grandchildren.
Here is a link to Ron's obit in the (Dallas) Star-Telegram.
“Through the years Ron and I stayed in touch; we remained close,” said Roger Sweet, who played on the line with Ron on the OA football squad. “The company Ron worked for had a business relationship with a company up here in the Boston area, and Ron would travel here on business, and whenever he did we got together.”
Roger, now retired from a successful career in the food brokerage business, and living with his wife, Mary Lou, in Marshfield, said that Ron was a remarkable person who was all about being friendly and warm and putting an arm around someone and giving a big bear of a hug.
Roger, who, like Ron, served honorably in the U.S. Army, remembers what it was like to be a teenager in Easton attending OA.
“It was a great time, a lot simpler, with about 6,000 people in town, and we were highly successful in sports at OA,” said Roger. “It was kind of like the TV show, Happy Days, and the movie, American Graffiti. In fact, one of Ron's close friends, and our teammate, Ron Cabral, who now lives in Oregon, he had powerful and fast cars just like those in the movie.”
What Roger Sweet talks about is a time I knew – even if it happened before I was born. You see, I grew up this stories of a small community in terms of population, and a small high school with a small student body. (I was just going through the 1960 Eastoner– the OA senior yearbook – and I counted 49 boys in the class.)
It was a time with far few extracurricular activities than today. It was a time in which the technology that consumed people were radio, black and white TV, telephones, and tinkering with a car engine. It was a time when everybody knew each other. It was a time when a football and basketball game was just about the biggest deal in town.
“You should have seen Frothingham Park for a football game on a Saturday afternoon,” said Roger Sweet. “That place was packed – huge crowds in the stands and in the end zones.”
Roger, further remembering, said, “Yes, it was the 1950s, and we were between wars; the economy was doing well, and while most people may not have had a lot, they had enough. A big house was 2,000 total square feet and six rooms.”
Ron Buba remembered those times – and he remembered and kept in touch with his friends from those times. Ron returned to Easton when he could and caught up. Ron Buba became a Texan, but he never stopped being an Eastoner.
I'm going to miss Ron Buba's comments on my columns.
I'm going to miss Ron Buba.
One thing for sure, Heaven has received an Easton and Oliver Ames guy through and through.