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Below are some messages from Ron’s many friends.
My personal message to My Sweetie,

Ron, I love you more than words can ever express. More than all the stars in the sky. I will miss hearing your voice at the end of every day, your touch, the good morning kisses and hearing the words “I love you”. You always made me feel so safe, secure and loved. You were so strong so solid. I just knew that with you I would always be loved and we could accomplish anything we wanted. With you there was no fear. You gave me the purest, most beautiful and complete love imaginable. Out time together was wonderful! I know we will see each other again. You have my heart Ron. I will love you forever and ever.

Fly Safe Sweetie
LUV Denise

Open message to EA family and friends,

Ron has been involved in aquatics for his entire life. He loved it so much. As we all know he was passionate about his work and Ellis and Associates. E&A was his life and extended family. He brought me into that family. About 17 months ago Ron and I reconnected after not seeing each other since college. That was about 30 years ago. That’s longer than some of you are old! This happened at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix at Burger King of all places. What were the odds of that. We both felt that it was more than coincidence. We feel in love, again, and were to be married in February. God had other plans. We spent more time together in that period and did and shared more than some people do in their entire lives. We were blessed. He talked about E&A often and was proud of how it has grown and the opportunities, experiences and quality it has brought to aquatics. Please know that Ron truly cared about each and everyone of you. He wanted every lifeguard, instructor, and associate, everyone working with E&A to be all that they thought they could be and then go 10 steps farther. Each of you has been touched by Ron in some way. Please strive to perpetuate his dream and the Ellis and Associates legacy through your continued excellence and passion. You never know what life will bring or who is watching!

Love, Denise Watson (Rhinehart)

Dear Jeff and EA, I happened upon this site the other morning as I was looking online for the article about my uncle in the ABQ Journal. I wasn’t able to get the article, but I found this instead and am sure it is a much greater testimony to the person my uncle was than could be captured in a newspaper article. I miss my uncle every day, but it is good to know that because he will live on in the hearts of so many people, he will never really be gone. Thank you for this memorial.

Stephanie Rhinehart (Ron’s niece)

On behalf of all of us at Wild Water West Waterpark here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota we would like to add our sincerest condolences to the E&A family and to Ron’s family. Ron was my first contact with Ellis back in 1989 and did one an audit for us that fateful last summer with us.. How blessed we were.

Francis Phillips GM

I am a former swimmer of Mr. Rinehart’s Eldorado High School swim team. He instilled discipline and a life-long passion for the water in our team. I still do some of the sets he would give us. He also recognized that his swimmers were students and people with interests beyond the water. He let me pursue music even when it conflicted with swimming meets. For this I am grateful since music is also part of my life now. I was saddened to hear of Mr. Rhinehart’s passing and will remember him every time I take a few laps in the pool.

Terri Shefelbine EHS Class of 1991

Coach Rhinehart was an inspiration to us all, as individuals and as a team. He taught us that there really is one more lap left in us to give, not just in the pool, but in life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, fiancée, and friends.

God Bless,
Beth Broxterman (Eldorado HS swimmer 1980-1984)

I was so sad to hear about Ron’s passing. He was my diving coach at Eldorado High School in the mid 70’s. He was fun-loving and sometimes silly, yet always extremely professional. After Saturday practices or meets at Valley High (remember, you guys?) he’d buy us lunch at an old, old diner way down on Fourth or Fifth Street. A year after I graduated from high school Ron asked me to coach diving at EHS. I did that for several years, and also lifeguarded and coached when Tanoan opened. Ron was a great manager– he was structured and organized, and he had very high expectations of his employees. He ran a tight ship, but was always so compassionate. I count him as a true friend and mentor…he was one-of-a-kind. My sympathy to his family and to Denise.

Karin Pogna Johnson Austin, TX

Mr. Rhinehart was my biology teacher my sophomore year at Eldorado. He made biology fun, played the Black Crowes and Pink Floyd during passing period and went out of his way to help his students learn about biology! I’m sorry to hear he is gone.

Katherine Ficklen EHS alum

I am saddened by the terrible news of Ron’s passing. Many of you who have written to this site know Ron through business relationships and your wonderful words assure me that Ron’s wonderful nature was apparent in his business dealings. I had the wonderful experience to grow up as a student of Ron’s. I literally grew up at the A-Pool, and swam for him there and at Eldorado High School. I was also a student of his at EHS. He helped train me as a lifeguard, and I worked for him at two different pools. Ron was an excellent coach, trainer, teacher, boss, and above all, friend. He truly cared about each and every swimmer on his team. Ron knew how to motivate while keeping things fun. He was a true friend to each of us who were so lucky to have grown up with him. Many of my fondest memories are tied to Ron. No matter how many years had passed, running into Ron was always a joyful experience. I think he remembered every kid he ever taught, every antic we pulled, and he still liked us anyway. Ron, you will always be remembered dearly. I hope you knew what a wonderful influence you were in the lives of your students and swimmers. Thank you for everything you gave, and thanks for the great times!!!

Ken Otto A-Pool Rat

Dear Jeff: I just wanted to drop you a short note to thank you once again for the eloquent words that you had for my cousin Ron at his memorial service in Albuquerque. Your skills as a presenter are indeed awesome; and accurately depicted the life and times of an exceptional man. Ron’s dad and my mother were brother and sister, and, since all the cousins were just one year apart, birthdays, holidays and outings were spent together when we were kids. Ron was the oldest, I was next, Steve came a year before my brother Mark.

When I think of Ron, the word teacher is the first word to come to mind–he taught me from the time I was 3 until I was 17. He was the big brother I never had. My earliest memory of him was him telling me that the correct way to pronounce c-a-r was “car”, not “caa.” He did this in such a gentle way, as he was leaving with his parents, that instead of feeling dumb or inferior, I actually felt good about the gift of the lesson he’d given me. It always seemed that Ron had an innate inner compass that allowed him to remain centered on the tasks of life, with humor and goodwill thrown in to complete the package. When he worked for Rod at the A Pool, it seemed like he’d effortlessly* swerved into 1) a really neat job, 2) a great way to meet girls, 3) being an entrepreneur way before it became fashionable. He befriended some young ladies and started a bikini business (!), thereby combining numbers 2 and 3.

Our parents decided when we were in high school that ballroom dancing lessons would be of benefit to Ron and myself in later life. Again, he was the teacher. His musical training and just that smooth way he had stood as a beacon that I could only be amazed at. (He also brought some rock and roll 45’s to play after the formal stuff was over, and really taught me some moves.)

Our time together after those years was scant. We both moved on, as people do, he into his teaching career and I out of state for 13 years. The last time I saw him was two years ago at my father’s house in Truth or Consequences. He and Bill were returning from a visit to Steve, and we just happened to show up at the right time and place. He seemed well, and he seemed very happy in his work with you, Jeff. I am so glad for both of you that you were able to see and realize the mutual opportunities for the time that was available.

I apologize for this being so long and so late, but it has been on my mind. Thank you for being there…

Jay Glew

*About 12 years ago, Uncle Bill was teaching me to hang wallpaper and I made the comment that I’d always envied Ron for knowing at such an early age that aquatics would be his life path. He actually laughed and said, “Ron HATED the water, and HATED swimming!” He taught himself to overcome those feelings, obviously.

To all, The testimonials to Ron are no surprise. He was a great individual. I worked with Ron for many years as the Team Mom for his summer league team. He taught our three kids how to swim and encouraged them all their years on the swim team. We had a great working relationship – I tried to take as much of the administrative load off of him as possible so that he could do what he did best – aquatics! When I first read about his death in the paper I was in shock – it could not be possible, I told myself. Then I was mad at myself for having let a friendship go aside. My kids used to tease me saying that Ron and I were “going on a date” because we did try to keep in touch by going to dinner once or twice a year even after the swim team stuff was over — he was a friend, my kids knew it, my husband knew it. At one time I had one set of the swim instruction books that he had created – he had given them to us to review — I will have to find those and put them in safe keeping. The only other regret is that I was probably his worse student ever – he actually tried to teach me how to swim as an adult — he was extremely patient, but he could not get me to overcome some inner child panics. Ron, you are missed greatly but having actually had a few theological discussions with you I know that you are in a wonderful place. Kathy Preonas, Team Mom Tanoan Country Club (for more years than I can remember) Take care my friend until we meet again — and I think it is my turn to buy dinner.

It is with deepest sympathy that I write this as I am truly shocked and saddened by the new of Ron’s passing – I can not say that I had the opportunity to work with him very often, but each opportunity that I did have refreshed me with a new level of commitment. He was truly a professional, and a friend to everyone that crossed his path. As it is with all of us in the Ellis Family, his commitment to the Program was incredible and his drive to make the water world a safer place was unmatchable. as I think of all the Ellis Memories I have made over the years, I have to say that he was a part of my some of my fondest – looking back at the pictures I had to smile seeing him and Francine tied up in the elevator – kidnapped by the red team at NASS. The loss is a great one, not only to his fiancé, and family, to whom my prayers go out to, but also to all of us who have worked with him and over the years. My deepest sympathy to everyone – and although it is of little consolation – we have to remember that he is truly an angel still watching over all of us, and still committed to what is a life long mission for all of us.

With deepest sympathy,

Elissa Fallo

I met Ron when I was a 14 year old toilet cleaner at Centennial Beach. Ron was the guy with the big glasses and the camera in his duffel bag. 21 years later the glasses still remained, and he still had that duffel bag. I was fortunate enough to spend 10 days with Ron and his fiancée, Denise in Dubai in December 2004. I have known Ron a long time, and I had never seen him happier! I also had the privilege of working side by side with him preparing for Safety School 2005. I will always carry with me his dedication to his friends, family, and career. I felt that I was always welcome and always important in his eyes. I already miss you Ron.

Chris Perry

Ron was/is one of the truly kindest people that I have had the opportunity to meet and work with. Over the past decade or so, Ron and I have met up and talked and discussed everything from politics, sociology, and of course E & A and the seasonal audits. His passing came as a shock and even though I no longer work in the Aquatic industry, I feel that we have lost a great individual and I have lost a good friend.

Michael Hahn City and County of Honolulu, EMS

Sitting and staring at this blank page I am trying to think of what people should hear about my thoughts on Ron. Nothing flashy there, nothing inspiring either. Ron and I talked a lot about what we called the “kids” in the industry. Jeff was the only one not included in these conversations because even though he tells everyone I was his school teacher he’s old too. I will miss that. We talked about how we did things and why do these “kids” do it their way. I’ll miss that. We always agreed that we need to let the “kids” try different things because we did different things when we were the “kids”. I’ll miss that. We talked about letting the “kids” take over one day but we weren’t quite ready yet. I’ll miss that. I have often thought about calling him but I know I can’t. I will miss that. Ron you will be missed.

Joe Minninger

I don’t know where would be without Ron’s help over the past year. I am truly saddened by his passing and cannot imagine another summer on the road without his guidance. He was a direction giver, a restaurant recommender; hide out spot detective, a hotel advisor, and most of all an understanding friend & mentor. I am honored to have worked for Ron & the impact he made on my life will never be forgotten. Ron, you will be missed.

Melissa Lockwood National Staff Auditor

Please add me to the very long list of people who benefited from spending time in Ron’s company. What I admired first and most about him was his bottomless well of patience. Besides that, though, he was one of the most competent, intelligent and compassionate people I’ve had the privilege to know. Those of us who worked with him were made to feel like family. Thanks, Ron. You were a mensch. Thanks Jellis, for this website.

–Jon Tuttle, Coach: La Cueva HS and Four Hills CC 1988-9

To The World, We have lost a person who truly made a difference, who gave his all, who was totally committed, who was professional – and yet was everyone’s friend. It’s not often that we find someone who is so personable and yet has such incredible business and work skills. Our world is better because of Ron (we’re all better because of him), and less because he’s gone. This is a huge loss to us all.

Ruth Sova, President Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute

Ron has helped make Raging Waters become a better park, has helped me grow as a Manager and as a person. I will miss you Ron.

Nicholas R Hager Raging Waters – San Dimas

Ron was an amazing person and a great example for all of us. He really did put his heart and soul into the company and its mission. For those of us who worked for him, he was a father figure; someone who you tried your best not to disappoint, but when you did something stupid, you knew that he would be understanding and fair. He will truly be missed in our industry.

Nick Landry

Jeff, I am saddened to hear of Ron’s untimely passing. My thoughts and prayers are with Ron, his family, and his many friends and co-workers. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Rick Callebs Former lifeguard and E&A instructor Executive Board member City of Wellston, Ohio Parks & Recreation 740-384-7700

Dear Jeff, Mark Moore, one of my former students and one of your instructors informed me this past week of Ron’s passing. My prayers and sympathy go out to the Ellis and Associates family for the loss of a wonderful colleague and to the Rhinhart family for the loss of a loved one. I had the pleasure of attending a Ellis Instructor course in Baton Rouge a few years back where Ron was the lead instructor. He epitomized the highest standards of an aquatic professional and was your greatest advocate. Ellis and Associate will sorely miss their best ambassador.

With deepest sympathy,
Mike Giles Sr. Director of Recreational Sports The University of Southern Mississippi

The first time I ever remember seeing Ron was when he breezed through our office area with blinders on set on a mission – true lifeguard behavior. At the time I did not know who he was. Later that day he introduced himself as an Ellis auditor, and then I realized that I should have recognized a lifeguard passing through; it would have been a clue that our Park was being audited! A couple of years ago when E&A reported a zero drowning record, my family met with Ron at a round table discussion. He wanted to know what service(s) E&A could provide in the future; I wanted E&A lifeguard training overseas, so the international students we hired could arrive at our Park already trained. This he said was not available, however, in the next season, our international students were able to study lifeguarding online before departing their home countries. This, I know, was not only Ron’s doing, but it was a great challenge and was very magnanimous of Ron to help put through the effort. Of all E&A personnel Ron has been one of the most helpful to me. He returned all phone calls, helped solve all problems, and did so in the timeliest of fashions. I am greatly sorry for his loss.

Wendy Wallace Tomahawk Lake Waterpark January 31, 2005

Sitting and staring at this blank page I am trying to think of what people should hear about my thoughts on Ron. Nothing flashy there, nothing inspiring either. Ron and I talked a lot about what we called the “kids” in the industry. Jeff was the only one not included in these conversations because even though he tells everyone I was his school teacher he’s old too. I will miss that. We talked about how we did things and why do these “kids” do it their way. I’ll miss that. We always agreed that we need to let the “kids” try different things because we did different things when we were the “kids”. I’ll miss that. We talked about letting the “kids” take over one day but we weren’t quite ready yet. I’ll miss that. I have often thought about calling him but I know I can’t. I will miss that. Ron you will be missed.

Joe Minninger

Ron, The impact that you made on my life is indescribable. So I will end this with the similar response of every email you have sent me. Thanks Ron, got it.

Love always, Jill HWAP

I am deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Ron’s passing. Whenever I had questions or needed answers quickly he ALWAYS was just a phone call or email away. One year (as he came to recert me as an instructor (which was the day prior to starting a new hire licensing class)), he stayed an extra day to take part and do some of the training with my new guards. The kids and I will always remember his fun and innovative ways he shared his knowledge. I will miss his articles, advice, and guidance. My thoughts and prayers are with his fiancée, family, and his “Ellis” family.

With Deep Sympathy,

Sarah E. Della

Cerra Ogden City Recreation Lifeguard Trainer

I only met Ron a few months back when the new Grand Rios Indoor Water Park opened in Minnesota and I was hired as the Assistant Manager and lifeguard instructor of the water park. Ron came to Minnesota to audit our first facility inspection. I was in contact with Ron numerous times via phone calls from day 1 of this new operation, asking so many questions and relaying all my concerns with starting up a brand new facility. He provided great assistance by always being there with his encouraging attitude and professional advice. He was an aquatics genius and I learned so much from him. My thoughts and prayers go out to Ron’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Anna Mortenson
Assistant Aquatics Manager Grand Rios Indoor Water Park Hotel Brooklyn Park, Minnesota


I know it has been a while since we last spoke however; I want to express my sincere condolences to you and the company of Ron’s passing. I know what a great loss this will be to everyone. Ron was always a nice, understanding person and I am truly sad that he is no longer with us. However, this sudden, unexpected passing has made me realize how quickly things change and I cannot stand the thought of having any regrets. I know we cannot go back and change the past but I just want to say to you how sorry I am you and I could not have parted on different terms. I hope things are well with you.

Thank you for your time,
Christy Vance

Wow, what an amazing testimony to Ron’s life this site is. I know that Ron “made his mark” on more lives than could be counted and for that, his family should be proud. Wouldn’t it be great if there were no grief or pain with the passing of a loved one? Kind words and happy memories may help, but deep down there is still a feeling that we were robbed of our time with him. We all feel impacted by Ron’s passing and fortunately, our pain is temporary. However, I am SURE it is Ron’s hope that his “legend” lives on. Let’s all take just a little piece of his goodness and pass it on. THAT is how we can best honor Ron. To Ron’s family, stay strong, believe that Ron is with you in spirit and know that the E&A family support you.

May God bless your every thought and deed.
Kersten Wilson

PS~ Portland Parks would like to extend our condolences to you and the E&A family in regards to Ron’s untimely passing. I have enjoyed working with him for the last five years tremendously, and will sincerely miss him.

MaryAnn Takashima
District Aquatic Coordinator
Matt Dishman Community Center
Portland Parks and Recreation

What a wonderful man! Ron was truly someone to be looked up to and appreciated. His passion for PEOPLE and aquatics will be deeply missed. Without him, neither my current facility nor me would be in the place that it is now. I thank him for that.

With Sympathy from the staff Fort Wayne Community Schools, Liz Caywood

To the Rhinehart family, The staff of the City of Lakeland Aquatics Operation would like to express their deepest sympathies in the passing of one we all loved so much. Ron was a pillar of strength and an asset to the all of the lifeguards, young and old, who learned so much from him. He will be greatly missed. “May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

With heartfelt sympathy,
Lindsey Stevenson Site Supervisor City of Lakeland Aquatics Operation

We at Portland Parks & Rec. sent your corporate office a condolence card but if you have not received it yet, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy for you and your staff. Ron was such a wonderful asset for Ellis & Associates and for the life guarding industry. He will be missed greatly.

MaryAnn, Sue and I were counting the number of times in a year we called Ron (probably bugged the heck out of him) for advise. He was always so kind and patient.

Take care and know that we are thinking of you.
Nancy Roth

Aquatic Program Supervisor
Portland Parks & Recreation
Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Denise and all of Ron’s family and friends. I taught with Ron for 16 of his 25 years of teaching at Eldorado High School. He is well known for his coaching through all of these years and sometimes the teaching that took place in the classroom is overlooked. Ron was a wonderful teacher. He brought a lot of creativity to the classroom and he personalized many aspects for his students. All of us who attended the memorial started telling stories about Ron as we talked together. He truly did have a great sense of humor. I could tell many stories; but just one quick one. Ron told his swim team that he would let them shave his hair if they took state. Well they did and in front of all 2200 students, cheering wildly at an assembly Ron let the team leaders (?) shave his head, leaving a little on top. He looked goofy at best and was totally comfortable with everything. Even though Ron had been retired for 9 years from teaching we will all miss him. We have lots of happy memories. Our thoughts are with all of you.

Sarah Wilson Eldorado High School Albuquerque, New Mexico

I have not experienced a loss that brings out the emotions like those felt now in quiet sometime. When I first started out in Aquatics, the name Ron Rhinehart was of celebrity like status. I remember first meeting him at NASS two years ago and being very intimidated within his presence. After realizing that his personality is the complete opposite, he made me feel very confident and asked me to interview for the National Staff (he even took me on my first audit). While on the road this summer as an auditor, I experienced a few rough days. If it wasn’t for Ron’s tone and ability to make you laugh, I couldn’t have gone to sleep without loosing all sanity. He had the awesome ability to make me realize that most problems are not that big and can be easily overcome. I know Ron touched countless lives, even by just giving me the chance to spread my passion through auditing. He has done this through many people as well, so it is mind boggling to think of the influences Ron has spread throughout his time here. I thought very highly of Ron as he is someone I consider a Mentor. My prayers go out to everyone who knew him especially his closest family and friends.

Jeff, Words cannot express the emptiness and sadness that I felt when I learned of Ron’s death. Ron’s attitude and approach really put the true meaning in “Making a Difference.” Ron never met a stranger; he always made everyone feel welcome. He will be remembered as not only a friend, a co-worker, a boss, but also a father…he has always been there through thick & thin, sorrow & sadness and just when you needed someone to talk to. It’s hard to imagine E & A without him…what a loss to the entire aquatic community. It is difficult to hold back the tears and write this memorial…it’s only been a week since his passing and time doesn’t make it any easier. Ron will be deeply missed.

Love always,
Joni Waggoner National Staff Auditor and Sr. Associate Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc.

Ron had a great impact on me as a lifeguard and a manager. He made us laugh when he would always come to our park wearing his big hat and trying to be sneaky about his auditing. He was a great man and was very passionate towards the aquatics industry. We will miss him very much.

Laura Mayes Aquatics Manager Big Surf Water park

Jeff – I would appreciate you sharing this with Ron’s family. Thank you for the kind letter informing us of this loss. I have not experienced a loss that brings out the emotions like those felt now in quiet sometime. When I first started out in Aquatics, the name Ron Rhinehart was of celebrity like status. I remember first meeting him at NASS two years ago and being very intimidated within his presence. After realizing that his personality is the complete opposite, he made me feel very confident and asked me to interview for the National Staff (he even took me on my first audit). While on the road this summer as an auditor, I experienced a few rough days. If it was not for Ron’s tone and ability to make you laugh, I could not have gone to sleep without loosing all sanity. He had the awesome ability to make me realize that most problems are not that big and can be easily overcome. I know Ron touched countless lives, even by just giving me the chance to spread my passion through auditing. He has done this through many people as well, so it is mind boggling to think of the influences Ron has spread through his time here. I thought very highly of Ron, as he is someone I consider a Mentor. Thank you for taking the time to read this and pass along. My prayers go out to everyone who knew him especially his closest family and friends.

Travis Dedmon
National Staff Auditor
“Jeff Ellis & Associates Inc.”
Cell: 615-969-7074

Ron was one of my mentors as I learned how to be a good auditor for you back in the early 1990’s. he was a wonderful, genuine man who I was able to watch and learn from. There are not many people in this world that you can say, “You know Ron is a Good Man” and there are few that can understand what that is until they worked with Ron. Always striving to improve and make E&A and the world a better place. He is one of those people in the he E&A organization that was the rock much like Carol Fick. I know I have been blessed to have Ron cross path’s with me in my life. It takes courage for an organization to stand up in the middle of adversity and I know that Ron would have wanted this to be the best, safest year in E&A history. My prayers go to you and the E&A family and his family as well.

Most Sincerely,
J.P. Moss

Jeff, I am a person who believes in action and I am willing to work on a committee or help the following to happen. While I know that Ron’s family needs to be taken care of and I am sure as his friend and employer you are helping in many ways unmentioned. I do feel that it would be appropriate to have the following or some version thereof.

The Ron Rhinehart Scholarship for the best Male and female E&A Audit of the year in all around skills. A College Scholarship or an all expense paid trip to an E&A School or both will be given to those who perform at the highest level in the industry. Ron, believed in high quality skills. This is just a start but it would be a place to honor our friend year after year. I would think we could raise enough to at least make these $5,000 or two $2500 scholarships a year.

I am willing to give $1000 to this end to be paid out by summers end 2005. I am also willing to donate a portion of all my sales if we ever choose to do business together of an amount of up to 10 times the above.

E&A and people like you, Jeff Ellis, Ron and Carol taught me so much in my young life. I am always thankful for those times and lessons learned about life, higher expectations and helping people whether sitting in a hotel room with Ron going over video tape at 2:00am or having a big steak over the 4th of July while auditing in Chicago with you or during the first Public Pool Pool School with Carol. All the memories for me are just like yesterday. I want to help even if we do not meet or do business as there is so much more than doing business in this life.

Please let me know how I can help you make this happen as I am sure you still have the motto—-Make it Work—-even if a young student says but Jeff what about——you would interrupt and say just make it work.

May God keep you strong and focused during this hard time for the you and the E&A family. I will be praying for you and the family to have strength during this time.

Big Love
Most Sincerely,J.P. Moss

Jeff, We are deeply saddened to learn of Ron’s passing. Ron had the ability to bring out the best in everyone he worked with. He was genuinely concerned that our facility have high standards for life guarding and gave me (Jennifer) the confidence to complete the Jeff Ellis program. Ron was always available to answer questions and give advice. He exemplified the ultimate in professionalism. We will greatly miss him.

Jennifer Casey, Pool Manager Anne Huber, Director Battlement Mesa Activity Center, Colorado

Jeff, I am saddened to hear about Ron’s passing and my deepest condolences to you, his friends, his family, and especially his family to be. I am one of the swimmers who had the opportunity to know Ron through the A-Pool swim club over 30 years ago. His day-to-day presence will surely be missed but for those of us whose lives were touched by this remarkable man, his spirit lives on. He may have imparted words of wisdom, or a new approach to a problem, or simply flashed his signature smile, but whatever it was, all of us will be forever changed, forever better, for having known Ron Rhinehart.

With Deepest Sympathy,
Tracy Ruscetti A-pool swimmer 1969-1980

Ron , thanks for making us all better people.
Mike Coney Island

To Ron (because I know that you are up there now looking down on us and wondering what all the fuss is about), It was some time after I had become associated with E&A that I got the chance to actually meet you. In that time I heard a great deal about “the guy who looks after the west”, to the point that I was looking forward to the time when we did finally meet. I was not disappointed. I found an instant connection to you mainly because of two things; our similar ages and our shared backgrounds as teachers. From the beginning, you became a friend, colleague, confidante and teacher to the new guy. For that I am eternally grateful. Your perspective on things always gave a width of vision to the issue in hand, accompanied with that very distinct Rhinehart sense of humor. That too was appreciated. More importantly was the impact you have had on countless young people as a teacher, swim coach and E&A Instructor. As an educator it was obvious to me that like all good teachers your most prevailing characteristic was your compassion for those in your care and your determination to help them be all that they could be. There are very few people who touch a persons life to such an extent that they change it. Please know that you did that to countless people. I am saddened that the plans you had for the future could not come to fruition, but I know that Denise, Steve and his family, and all your family at E&A are left with many wonderful memories. Thank you for those. Rest in Peace my friend.

Ron G

White Ashes In silently contemplating the transient nature of human existence, nothing is more fragile and fleeting in this world than the life of man. Thus we have not heard of human life lasting for a thousand years. Life swiftly passes and who among men can maintain his form for even a hundred years? Whether I go before others, or others go before me; whether it be today, or it be tomorrow, who is to know? Those who leave before us are as countless as the drops of dew. Though in the morning we may have radiant health, in the evening we may return to white ashes. When the winds of impermanence blow, our eyes are closed forever; and when the last breath leaves us, our face loses its color. Though loved ones gather and lament, everything is to no avail. The body is then sent into an open field and vanishes from this world with the smoke of cremation, leaving only the white ashes. There is nothing more real than this truth of life. The fragile nature of human existence underlies both the young and old, and therefore we must, one and all, turn to the teachings of the Buddha and awaken to the ultimate source of life. By so understanding the meaning of death, we shall come to fully appreciate the meaning of this life which is unrepeatable and thus to be treasured above all else. By virtue of true compassion, let us realize the irreplaceable value of human life, and let us together live with the Nembutsu in our hearts.

Matthew Galindo

Dear RAC,

Mike and I would like to express our sincere condolences on the recent passing of Ron. On the occasions that we spent with him over the years, both Mike and I did come to realize he was a man of great kindness and compassion towards those around him. He was a very highly respected individual in his profession, and the impact he made changed the lives of many. Both Mike and I truly feel fortunate to have known and worked with such a man. Please pass our deepest sympathies on to the rest of Ellis & Associates, his fiancée, brother, father, and to the rest of Ron’s family.

Very sincerely,
Qyzent Technologies

Dear Jeff,
I enjoyed meeting you on Saturday (I wish under different circumstances) at Ron’s service. This is a difficult time for those who knew Ron, some such as you and I who knew him for over 17 years.

My wife and I wanted to compliment you on the euolgy you gave on Ron. But, more commendable was your giving to the Swimming Hall of Fame and doing so in Ron’s name rather than your own. This Jeff, was so very unselfish of you. When you indicated your intentions, I said to my wife WOW! Today too many individuals are so driven by their egos, that is is refreshing to meet someone like you and with your humility.

Kent Mathis

Dear Jeff and Associates, I would like to thank all of you for your great kindnesses during this very trying period. As you know, Ron had a brother Steve and a father Bill along with a niece and nephew who will miss him terribly. Ron was a terrific brother-in-law and Uncle to my children. He was a wonderful son and grandson. He took great care of his parents and grandparents while they were alive. Now that his father is in failing health, he was even more diligent. I’ve known this man for over 30 years. During that time he has been a wonderful supporter. He welcomed me into his immediate family and shared all of his successes and promotions with his teaching career and then with your company. He was finally ready to spend some time on himself. It was truly a Godsend that he reconnected with Denise and through her, her extended family. He was extremely happy during the last year of his life and looked forward to sharing it with Denise. He will be missed. Thank you for nominating him into the Swimmer’s Hall of Fame and naming the memorial after him. He was passionate about saving people, children in particular. The Trust Fund set up in his name to benefit the underprivileged children to learn to swim will carry on his work. The trust, administered through Denise, will never let the world forget his contributions.

Sincerely, Debbie Rhinehart, sister-in-law ur family.

Jeff: Very special thanks to you and all of the EA family for your kindness and support over the last week. You were able to turn a misfortune into a celebration of a great life and hopefully an example for others’ lives.

Sincerely Steve


My heart goes out to the E&A Family, Fiancee, and the many lives he has touched over his long years with us. You only meet a few really great people during your life. “He was one of them.” Ron was a person who was loyal, passionate, honest, and most of all full of humor. I met Ron during my years at Raging Waters in San Dimas. He signed my first Instructor’s license. When I worked for the City of Pico Rivera, he was our good friend and Auditor. When I got to Disney, he was my motivator. I looked up to him as a Vice President, a person, and a friend. I will never forget our friendship and will be deeply missed.

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Anthony Caulford

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Ca.

I worked with Ron Rhinehart when we were both teachers in Albuquerque. He helped me to become a better teacher and was a great friend as well. We had a number of crazy and fun times on our many fishing trips! I will always remember those good times when I think of Ron!

Bruce Miller Albuquerque, NM e, Debbie, Stephanie and William Rhinehart.

To all who knew him: Einstein once said, “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” Ron not only met this obligation, he exceeded it. We are forever in your debt.
Keith L. Gilbreath
Aquatics Director Great Wolf Lodge – Kansas City

Jeff, I received a call from Joni on Monday night concerning Ron; I do not know what to say. I was just thinking about him and that I would call and talk to him after safety school as I usually do each year. I did not get the e-mails until after I talked to Joni; I only check E&A e-mail about once every couple of weeks during this time of the year. Ron was a good friend of 8 years; the best boss and supervisor I have ever known. He was also a great mentor. I don’t know what else to say at this moment, other than ,I will miss him!

Mike Boerckel
National staff auditor

To Jeff and the friends and loved ones of Ron: I will never forget the empty feeling of sadness that descended upon me when RAC told the Associates, in a huddled mass, the news of Ron’s passing. It still does not seem real and I keep expecting to get my usual phone call from Ron, with his standard, matter-of-fact salutation of: “Luke, Ron Rhinehart…” I am forever thankful that the night before he died I got to speak to him, not about swimming pools and Instructor courses, but of his upcoming wedding. He was so happy! He also gave me profound advice that evening, which I plan on following when the time is right. Ron was a wonderful man, who touched many lives. His legacy is one of thousands of saved lives, lives he saved directly and indirectly through the message and philosophy of Aquatics Risk Management he so wholeheartedly believed in. Ron was my mentor and friend for over 7 years and I am a better person for having known him. Look after us Ron! With fond memories,

Luke Martinez

I was very sorry to hear about Ron.
I was at Dr. John’s school and he announced it at the banquet.
I was shocked when I heard it.
Ron was a great man and an outstanding professional.
He contributed to so many lives in a positive way.
I know you will miss him, as will the aquatic profession.

Take care and good luck.

Let me start by saying that I am terribly sorry for your loss. I know that the two of you have known Ron for a long time and that this was a shock that no one expected. I am very sorry and I will keep you in my prayers.

As for me, I knew Ron for less than a year, yet his impact on my life will never be forgotten. There are not many people that I have met in the business world that have had as much integrity and compassion for his job as Ron. For that reason he was a mentor and a friend that I will greatly miss.

He touched my life as well as countless others and I only hope that I can take what he taught me and apply it to my everyday business and personal life. I feel that it was a privilege and an honor to have know him and I wish it had not been cut short. I can only imagine that TheLord has a special place reserved for him in Heaven and that he will always smiling down on us. My condolences to all.

But seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:33-34

Michael Edwards
Aquatics Coordinator
City of New Braunfels


I was extremely saddened to hear about Ron. Your descriptions of his loyalty, stability and strength are exactly right and I’m sure you will miss that greatly.

Ron’s high level of professionalism always came through in a genuine way. I’m glad I had a chance to spend a little time with him a few months ago in Alaska, when we were both presenting at the APRA conference. What I found memorable from that experience was his ability to present the benefits of the E&A program based on its merits, as opposed to disparaging others. I have never heard anyone say that Ron did anything but take the high road in his dealings.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone else that was touched by Ron.

I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend the Memorial service, but please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in any way.

Jill E. White
Starfish Aquatics Institute


Just a very quick note to say how saddened I was to learn of Ron Rhinehart’s death earlier today.

Although I never knew Ron personally, his contributions to the company both personally and professionally were quite evident in a peripheral sense, and I know he was highly regarded by all that had the good fortune to know him.

Death comes far too early for those that touch and impact us the most.

Please extend my deepest condolences to his immediate family and as always, don’t hesitate to let me know if I can assist in any way.

John McVan, Assistant Professor/Aquatics Specialist
Department of Physical Education
United States Military Academy
735 Brewerton Road
West Point, NY 10996

Jeff, I was very saddened to hear to news about Ron’s passing. I had the pleasure to work with him several times. Professional is the word that always comes to my mind when I think of Ron. He will be missed by all.

If there is anything I can do in the Midwest region to assist during this time, please do not hesitate to ask.

Steve Neill – AHPD
Olympic Indoor Swim Center


It has been a while but I wanted to offer my support and condolences on the loss of Ron Rhinehart. He was a great man who touched the lives of everyone he met. The industry will mourn his passing.

God Bless.
Jeffery L. King
Aqua-Rec Management, Inc.

I just heard the news of Ron, and I am greatly saddened for his family, the E&A family, and the entire Aquatics family. If there is a special cause (of course E&A) he liked, or a certain niche he lead to the n’th degree, I would like to donate to and help set up a fund\scholarship, etc.

Ron was a true gem, always a sane head in the midst of craziness. He will be truly missed by all.Let me know if I can help.

With great sadness,
Tim Kopka


I was with him the night before he died and he was so happy about his wedding to come. He had never seemed happier! I know this will take sometime to process for everyone. I had to leave to come back to Minnesota on Sunday early and did not have a chance to give you a big hug, I know you need one too. If there is anything I can do for you and E&A just let me know, anything at all. My heart goes out to all of you, I understand the pain you all have in your hearts. We truly are one big family and words could never express the loss and impact of Ron.

God bless,
Lynn Waldorf
Supervisor of Aquatics
City of St. Paul
Parks and Recreation
300 CHA 25W 4th St
St. Paul, MN 55102

Jeff- I am so sorry to hear this news. Ron and I had become great friends over the past several years. Please let me know when the service in New Mexico will take place as we would like to attend. The thoughts and prayers of the Redwoods Family go out to Ron’s family and the Ellis family.

Doug Page, CSP, ALCM
Risk Management Services

What a sad announcement! I remember meeting Ron years ago when he audited us. He spent much time with us explaining, teaching and sharing his experiences not only with me but the young lifeguards. He was very caring and understanding with them and listened to every one of their questions.

I am deeply saddened about his passing. He was the epitome of the Ellis philosophy and passionate about his avocation with regards to the safety and well being of all.

I will miss him as we have lost a wonderful man and a very caring, dedicated individual who devoted his time and energy for the safety of all.

Pam Quinn
Director, City of Shaker Hgts. Recreation Dept.

Dear Mr. Ellis,

The entire staff of Myrtle Waves Waterpark is heartbroken to hear about the loss of Ron Rhinehart. I know that the two of you had a close friendship and passion for water safety that has helped save thousands and thousands of lives caused by water-related injuries. To devote ones life to saving others is one of the most honorable and noble qualities a human being can possess, but to save as many as the two of you have, is an extremely powerful achievement. The Lord obviously has a very special place and need for a man that has so passionately devoted his life to giving others the opportunity to enjoy theirs. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, the Rhinehart family, and all of Jeff Ellis and Associates.

Will McAllister
Operations/Water Safety Manager
Myrtle Waves Waterpark

Jeff, Ron was a very special friend to the entire aquatic industry. I will definitely miss him as well as anyone that had the pleasure to work with him over the years. Ron and I had an opportunity at this years IAAPA conference to talk about his pending marriage and his future plans. We discussed how each of us were getting to that time in our lives that friends and family become very important. We discussed how important bonding old ties together, even through differences, was very important. I suggested that Ron, Dr. John myself and you get together, have some drinks and swim somewhere. None of us are getting any younger, and this seemed to be the time to enjoy people that we all really care about.

I am very sorry that Ron passes before this dream could be fulfilled. As a friend, I would like to propose that we still do this entirely social event, in remembrance of him.

I am very sorry for the loss of Ron Rhinehart. He was a special person, a good friend and a great individual dedicated to saving lives in aquatics. He will be missed by many.

Your friend. Norm


I am really too sad at this time to generate any comment that would be worthy in Ron’s passing. My deepest sympathies go out to Ron’s family, Denise and you as his very close friend.

Kevin Hoffman, ARM
Director of Member Services

Dear Rac & Jeff:

I am so sorry to hear about Ron. He taught me most everything I believe to be important, when it comes to aquatics and business relationships. He has had a profound effect on my life, both professionally and personally. Fourteen years ago, he conducted my first audit as a scared lifeguard, 5 years ago, he conducted my first audit, as a scared Manager (for my lifeguards) at Raging Waters, and 3 years ago, when I told him I was starting my own business, he said he was proud of me. He has an amazing way of making everything okay, in the worst of times. I will miss him greatly. Please send my condolence.

Love Always,
Amy Alexander


This is truly a one of the most terrible news we have heard recently.I just cant believe the sad demise of our friend Ron.

I have obviously known Ron through you,but we had developed a good friendship and a mutual respect for one another.I know very well that Ron will be greatly missed by everybody that touched him and it is with the deepest regrets and sympathy i share this untimely event.My brothers and i join you in this very difficult time and pray to our god to please rest his soul in peace.
Time N Sound

It is with deepest sympathy and a heavy heart that I write this letter.

I have known Ron professionally and as a friend for many years, and I will always remember him as a man who would bend over backwards for you…. who would always be there to give an encouraging word, wink or smile.

In a largely uncaring and apathetic world, Ron was a ray of sunshine who was always aware of those around him, willing to go the extra mile and reach out to bring comfort, love and encouragement.

His professional life was also a study of excellence and integrity. I always enjoyed watching him work with his staff and clients to make them comfortable and to help them come together as a team to get the job done.

Last summer, Ron brought a dozen people from an insurance group to our water park. His warm heart and winning personality was contagious and made everyone feel at ease. He articulated well the information and with humor and a warm smile, he won us all over.

I will miss him.

My prayers go out to his family and his friends. May God comfort you and give you peace in this difficult time. I pray that you would allow His love to strengthen and sustain you as you grieve the loss of this great man, and friend.

David Samuels
GM – Water Country

My deepest sympathy on Ron’s passing. >From the few times I had opportunity to be with Ron I always felt he was a gentleman, a thoughtful man and a dedicated member of your staff.


Dear Jeff,

It is with great sadness that I find myself writing to you. I was shocked and greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Ron this afternoon. I have only the fondest memories of the time both my staff and I spent working with Ron. Having been a client of Ellis & Associates for many years now, I had the opportunity to work with Ron on many occasions. Not only was Ron a consummate professional in regard to his work ethic and his commitment to the industry, but he was also a kind, humble and humorous individual who always took the time to assist and support me whenever the request was made. He was diligent in responding to any request made for assistance or information and always gave both my staff and I great leadership during times of question or challenge.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a training/recertification class in Folsom, CA where Ron was instructing. I was, needless to say, a bit frustrated to have a weekend taken up by yet another training session, but reluctantly attended anyway. Both my business associate, James Redmond and I were pleasantly surprised to find that Ron had put together, once again, an interesting, innovative, and informative training class. We were, at times, captivated by some of the stories Ron shared both through personal experience and his endless knowledge of the industry. Ron’s approach to instruction, and conveyance of information, was both interesting, and thought provoking. I never left a training session without pondering yet another tidbit of new information Ron had shared and felt in inherent desire to share that information with others as Ron had done with me. He was always able to ignite an interest or desire to become more and better in the field of aquatic safety. Ron encouraged both my management staff and I to become more proficient at what we did, for us to become more informed about the industry and protocol, and provide the safest, and best facility possible. We were always inspired by his visits, wanting to learn from him and achieve a higher standard. Ron had a way of conveying his passion to others so that it inspired them as well.

Ron will be greatly missed. It is difficult to envision being involved with Ellis & Associates and not having the name Ron Rhinehart attached to that vision. Both my staff and I send our condolences to both Ron’s family and his fiancée, Denise Watson. They are all in our prayers.

Valerie Cooper
Recreation Coordinator Fitness and Aquatics
City of Campbell, CA

Hi Jeff,

I am so sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. He was a great influence on my daily work of always trying to ensure the safety of everyone who swim in our pools. He was a great instructor and in my years I have learned so much from him. His passion for aquatics was always amazing to me. If you need anything please let me know.

Jennifer Bartels
Executive Director
Oswego Family YMCA
Heritage YMCA Group

Everyone at The Jefferson City Area YMCA would like to share our condolences to Ron’s family, as well as the Ellis family and staff .

From this moment on our YMCA’s 2005 pool operational period will be in honor of Mr. Rhinehart. “We will make a difference” and know that Mr. Rhinehart will perform an audit on our lifeguards from above each day and provide our guards the strength to do the best job that they can do for the patrons that use our pools.

I spoke with Ron numerous times on the phone in 2004. It was very apparent that he believed in the mission of Jeff Ellis and Associates and that safety was always Number 1 in his eyes no matter what the circumstance at hand was.

God Bless each of you as you mourn the loss of a true leader in the Aquatic Safety movement worldwide. He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.

Aaron Grefrath
Senior Program Director
Jefferson City Area YMCA, Missouri
To the Family of Ron Rhinehart:

The Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Park in Detroit, Michigan sends our condolences to the family. Over the past seven years, Ron worked with the prior management firm from the inception of the waterpark. The past two years he assisted our firm and we were truly grateful for the professionalism, concern, advice and expertise he provided. We are saddened that he will no longer be with us, and he will truly be missed; we could always count on Ron!

To his family and friends, know that he will always be with you in spirit!

Winco Enterprises, Inc. for
The Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Park

Dear Jeff,

Just wanted to let you know our thoughts and prayers are with Ron’s family and his loved ones, and also with Ellis and Associates as we mourn the passing of a wonderful man that touched so many lives.

Please pass on the following message to his family and loved ones:

In ways big and small, Ron’s life changed our worldand left it a better place.

Ron has touched so many hearts that he will never be forgotten. He will always have a special place in our hearts.

May God’s blessings always be with all of you,

Judy, Tony & Andy Berbary
Aquatic Directors
Family Kingdom Inc.


I was so sorry to hear about the passing of Ron Rhinehardt. I did not know Ron that well, I only had the opportunity to really get to meet him once. However, upon that meeting Ron left quite an impression on me. It was quite clear that he was a man of great passion for his work. His dedication and knowledge were endless. His enthusiasm and energy were contagious. He will be so missed.

Ron will always be in the hearts of many and the Ellis organization. My thoughts and prayers are with his fiancee, his family, and the Ellis organization. as this is agreat loss.

Wendy Russell

I just wanted to send to you and to the family and friends of Ron my deepest sympathy. My thoughts and prayers go out to you during such a difficult time in your lives. I know I lost my father 6 years ago, and the grief that you have to go through is hard to explain until unfortunately you lose someone close to you. Just know that there are friends who want to help you get through this as best you can, and this is the time to lean on them when you need to. I will be talking to you soon, I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for the loss of Ron.

Gina I. Menza

Denise – My prayers go out to you and the family. As I type this I am in an airport on my way to the memorial service in Phoenix tonight. I will see you tonight. Ron was a very good person and I had developed a wonderful working relationship with him during the past 5 years. We spent a significant amount of time together and became good friends. He will truly be missed by everyone that he had contact with and he made positive change in the aquatics arena and I am sure he left a positive impact with everyone that he touched. Thanks again for note and I will see hopefully see you tonight.

Doug Page, CSP, ALCM
Risk Management Services

Jeff, it has been a long time since we have been in touch, and its unfortunate that such sad news would be the reason.

Please give my best wishes to the family, to the staff at E&A, and to you as well. I could not conceive how great the loss must be both personally and professionally. Ron will truly be missed by all of us here at Magic Mountain/ Hurricane Harbor.

Tim Burkhart
Director- Park Operations/ Maintenance
Six Flags California


I am deeply saddened by the news of Ron’s passing and wish to express my condolences to his fiancée, family and especially to you. He was truly a remarkable man and will be missed by all in the aquatics profession. Ron was my source of strength and support during a very difficult year. He guided me through what seemed to be an insurmountable task of reopening a pool after such a catastrophic event. He was kind and compassionate yet professional in his approach in assisting us to rebuild our program. I will deeply miss him as a mentor, confidant and most importantly a friend.

With Sympathy,
Barbara Selway

Memorial Ron Rhinehart