Fond Memories of Frank Ronnenberg

Frank Ronnenberg was a burly, no nonsense corporate executive who deeply cherished the arts for its societal values. With a touch of his unique Irish charm, he offered me the opportunity to become Executive Director of the then Council for the Arts in Westchester. (That was too long ago to remember the date.) I had been working in Boston as President and CEO of the Boston Center for the Arts. Frank was then a Vice President of Reader’s Digest in charge of circulation of all publications worldwide. He knew his way adroitly around government and corporate circles. He was forthright with a “get the job done” manner. We hit it off right away. His combination of blarney and candor was endearing. The arts  council, he told me, was in serious financial trouble. Cuts were needed. His directness and authenticity were refreshing. He enjoyed bragging about his wife, Mary Ellen and their four children. Frank was my mentor in Westchester. He was my friend. I laughed at his jokes.  After all, what are friends for? Frank passed away too soon to be a part of ArtsWestchester’s 50th anniversary, but I will be thinking of him with my champagne glass in hand.

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