RIVAIT, RONNIE - It is with deeply saddened hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of Ron Rivait on Friday, September 22, 2017 at St. Joseph’s Hospice, with his family by his side. Ron’s short battle with cancer was faced with a true sense of strength and grace.
Ron was the much loved husband and best friend of Cheryl and loving ‘dad’; ‘daddy’ to Olivia, Megan and Katie. Dear son of Donald and Shirley Rivait. He was the special brother to Jim & Jan Rivait, Cathy & Ben Slabysz, Michelle & Sandy Mackenzie and Michael Rivait. Dear son in law of John and Diane Cox and friend and brother in law to Julie & Dave Dolbear and Trish & Ken O’Neil. He is survived by many special aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and extended family. Ron was predeceased by loving grandparents Grace & Fred Tobin and Lena (Alice) and Tony Futia.
Ron had a longstanding and notable career with the Lambton Kent District School Board. He started with the LKDSB as an occasional teacher in 1988 and had a permanent elementary position in 1990. He taught in many Lambton county schools including Parkview, Devine, Lambton Centennial, Mooretown Courtright, Forest Central, Woodside, Kinnwood and Rosedale Public Schools in various grades from 2 to 8. He also spent a great deal of his teaching career as a Teacher Librarian which suited Ron’s personality as it allowed him to interact with the maximum number of students on a regular basis.
Although Ron loved teaching, it was his work for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation representing and advocating for elementary teachers where Ron spent the majority of his career. He joined the Lambton Kent ETFO executive in 2000 shortly after the inception of ETFO becoming a Vice-President in 2004. In this role, he was responsible to represent the elementary teachers in the north of Lambton Kent. In his role as Vice-president Ron played a pivotal role in assisting members who had been exposed to mould in their schools which eventually resulted in a restructuring of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee for the school board. In 2009 Ron became president of the Lambton Kent Elementary teachers where he played an important role in advocating for ETFO members’ rights particularly in the area of teachers’ professional judgment and other areas of teachers’ professional lives. He also played a key role on local collective bargaining teams as president, vice-president and during his years on the executive. In spite of the adversarial relationships that can sometimes exist between union leadership and management, Ron managed to vigorously advocate for his members while simultaneously maintaining cordial relationships with school board representatives using his exuberant personality and his ever-present humour. Ron was also extremely active with the ETFO at the provincial level.
Outside of work Ron maintained an active role in the Sarnia community. He was a Governor on the Lambton College Board of Governors, executive member and trustee of the Sarnia Labour Council, former president of the Sarnia Liver Foundation, executive member on the Lambton Lacrosse and executive member for the Sarnia Pacers. Ron was also an avid supporter and had great respect for the Sarnia Fire Fighters. Most recently Ron has been a manager with the Sarnia Ice Hawks (“once an ice hawk always an ice hawk!”) where he enthusiastically managed his three daughters and their teammates as they played sledge hockey. He was an avid fan and supporter of any activities his daughters participated in. He was also a proud board member and active fund raiser for Noelle’s Gift truly appreciating how students throughout the board benefited from receiving resources they needed to grow up great.
Ron lived his life in Sarnia, enjoying the small town atmosphere and knowing a ‘friend’ everywhere he went. He freely shared his love of life, his sense of humour and an infectious laugh. We were blessed with his sense of adventure, his appreciation and love for music, his quick wit and his endless historical facts. He loved to tell a story (or two) and always had a captive audience. He was our personal ‘google’ and was quick to give us answers (even when he had to make them up). Ron loved his BBQ and although he was a great cook and tried many different recipes he made the best hamburgers! Ron was a true and good friend to many and was blessed with those reciprocal bonds in kind. He will be missed by all those that knew and loved him.
Visitation will take place on Friday September 29, 2017 from 3:00 to 5:00 and 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the D. J. Robb Funeral Home & Cremation Centre (102 N. Victoria St., Sarnia). Family and friends are invited to a ‘celebration of life’ on Saturday September 30, 2017 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm (service at 2:00 pm) at the Lambton College Event Centre (Grand Ballroom), 1485 London Rd. Sarnia, ON N7S 6K4.
In lieu of flowers sympathy may be expressed through donations to St. Joseph’s Hospice or Noelle’s Gift.
The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Clifford and Dr. Maddison and to the staff and many volunteers at St. Joseph’s Hospice.