Mon, 02/21/2022 - 1:18pm

Editorial: February 25, 2022

Ronald H. Menaker

How do you sum up a man’s life on one page of paper? The admiration, the accomplishments, the memories recalled in nearly a lifetime of friendship flood your mind. A little background: A boy from the Bronx did what was expected of him. The Army and a college education and a job at a bank that represented some security. But he was no ordinary boy from the Bronx. He learned and listened and rose to become a managing director of J.P. Morgan. In that position he met many powerful people in industry and politics, and that would serve him through the rest of his life.

His ascent in the dog world had a similar parallel. His interest in purebred dogs and his friendship with the late Roddy Lindsay, a fellow J.P. Morgan executive and Westminster Kennel Club member, led him to club membership. His attention to detail and dedication to seeing a project to its conclusion made him a perfect candidate to help organize the dog show. Fast-forward, he became a delegate to the Bedlington Terrier Club of America. His presence at the delegates meetings combined with his business acumen led him to the board of directors and ultimately to chairman of the board of directors of the American Kennel Club.

Ron’s tenure at the American Kennel Club created many changes and major internal business decisions on advice from the outside council of professionals he knew from his former life at the bank: His singlehanded determination to organize and oversee the theatre benefit for more than 25 years. His organizing the first AKC National Championship dog show, which included the very popular international competition of the top-winning dogs around the world. Within the office, condensing the health insurance for the employees, and implementing retirement plans and salaries that were equal to those of other non-profit organizations of the same size as the kennel club. 

On a more personal and one-to-one level: His interest in medicine and his Wall Street occupation ultimately had him sitting on the board of directors of the Beekman Downtown Hospital. Beekman was known as the Wall Street hospital due to its proximity. It was the first called to help on that fateful day, September 11th. With his management skills Ron became the hospital’s board chairman. Dubbed Dr. Bombay by this writer, he became the official referral service to the entire dog world. He knew and could refer you to a doctor for a hangnail or brain surgery. Then he would cut through all the red tape and get you an appointment right away. 

He left the American Kennel Club board in the hands of those he hoped would continue to stay the course. That still remains to be seen. He enjoyed a judging career that brought him around the world, as long as it was on the ground floor. No elevators for the man who was left stranded with 20-plus other people on an elevator that was stuck in the New York City blackout for more than 12 hours. Unaware of the circumstances outside, Ron and his fellow passengers were in total darkness. One passenger succumbed and died while they waited for help. His aversion to elevators was the only hill in his life that he couldn’t conquer.

On a very personal level, his friendship with me, Matthew and Dog News was one of the most treasured times of my life. The laughs, the tears, the travels and, yes, even the arguments – those are my memories and I’ll keep them to myself to enjoy for the rest of my life. Rest in peace, my friend, I loved you.



© Dog News. This article may not be reposted, reprinted, rewritten, excerpted or otherwise duplicated in any medium without the express written permission of the publisher.

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