Age 76, died quietly of congestive heart failure August 28, 2020, after returning from a short fishing trip with family. He died as he lived loving Wisconsin waterways and all that they offered.
Ron graduated from UW-Madison with a Ph.D. in microbiology in 1971 researching tuberculosis. He took a post-doctoral position in Houston, Texas, at Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Microbiology where his research interests expanded into investigations into syphilis. It was with his first teaching position in Albany, New York in 1974 where his life-long investigations into the mechanisms of, and the immune response to Lyme disease began. In 1980 Ron and his family returned to Madison where he took a professorship at the University in the Department of Microbiology where he taught principles of infectious disease through the spring of 2019. He was part of a team of students and colleagues at the Gunderson Medical Foundation that developed a dog vaccine for Lyme disease that is being used by veterinarians today.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy, of 51 years and three beloved children, Kristin Ensminger, Valerie Schell, and Nicholas Schell, 6 adored grandchildren, Alyssa, Morgan, Emma, Davin, Bradley, and Nora, his brother Bob, and sister Carol. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Kati, and his older brother Jim. He gave all of his family a love of fishing and the outdoors and never failed to celebrate their great catches.
Ron and the family are particularly grateful to the cardiac care team at UW hospital who cared for him for more than 30 years, in particular, Dr. Peter Rahko and Kim Clark. A private memorial will be held by the family.
Ron was particularly distressed by this country’s response to the virus and the effect it was having on different communities. In lieu of flowers donation can be made to the Midvale/Lincoln PTO (http://www.midvalelincolnpto.org) MWHAC Rent/Bills Covid 19 Assistance.