Meet Ron Steelman
Ron was born in Columbus, Ohio as one of the first baby-boomer babies, exactly nine months after his father returned from WWII. He has two brothers, one three years older and one five years younger. He believes that personality traits based upon birth order are pure silliness. The books say “middle children do not openly share their thoughts or feelings.” If you’ve met Steelman, you know how silly that is.
Ron was a ham from the age of five. A neighbor, who thought him a pest, told him to go away and not return until he had caught a bear. Little Ronnie returned ten minutes later, presenting the neighbor with three imaginary bear tails. The guy told Ronnie’s parents the story and much laughter ensued.
Ron was ahead of the curve on some things. He tried to get a date with his beautiful co-ed student teacher in the first grade, walking seven blocks to her house with a very large bouquet of flowers (his mother trailing after him in the car). It seems the young teacher already had a boyfriend, so unfortunately it didn’t work out for Ronnie. And worse, she kept the flowers. Within five minutes he had his little heart broken twice!
His parents were both singers, soloists in a large Presbyterian Church choir. His father also played piano and organ, and sold those instruments while manager of a music store. Both grandmothers played piano in silent movies and were often weekend musicians as well. Both grandfathers also played instruments.
In high school Ron played his drums in the marching band, concert band, and various other ensembles. He acted in ten plays by the time he went off to Ohio State University on a theater scholarship. He also auditioned and was accepted in the famed OSU Marching Band (aka The Best Damn Band in the Land. . . “T.B.D.B.I.T.L.”). Sadly, OSU did not offer the kind of acting conservatory he hoped for, so he headed off to New York City to get training on a professional level.
Ron’s real training in the theater came from acting in professional classical repertory theaters, including many Shakespearean productions. He acted for many seasons at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival in Madison, the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, at numerous regional repertory theaters in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Boston. For four years in Columbus Ron hosted a daily children's educational TV program (winner of two regional Emmy Awards). You may have also heard his voice on network television commercials such as Hostess and Triscuit, or you might have seen his appearance on Seinfeld as Jerry's “Cousin Arty” in Season #1, Episode #3.
More television beckoned in 1978 when Ron was a writer and producer for the first “interactive cable” experiment, Warner/Qube, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1986, as an on-air producer, he helped to train the hosts and to develop product presentations for the billion dollar QVC Network.
Ron’s daughter Alissa, from his first marriage, lives in Columbus, Ohio. He married his lovely wife Elaine in 1988 and they went off to Los Angeles to explore more acting opportunities. They loved hiking up numerous mountains in California and once climbed Mt. Whitney up to 13,200 feet before getting iced-out on the trail. They even designed and built their dream house on 20 acres in the southern tip of the Sierras. However, when their son, Young Master Will, was born in 2001, they moved back to the East Coast in 2003 to be near Grandmama in NYC.
Ron’s new job was to create and implement the marketing plan for the Grand Opening season of Red Bank’s new arts complex, the Two River Theater. Interestingly, years before, Ron had established a Red Bank connection, having written, produced and directed Red Bank’s own jazz great, Count Basie, in a series of radio and television commercials.
After only four months back in New Jersey Ron had met Eric Seldner and they decided to start a secular Humanist group in Red Bank.
In 2006 Ron left the Two River Theater to continue his consulting business in marketing-communications.
"I'm very proud of creating RBH and then developing it into the organization that it is today. And I'm proud of all the people who have worked so hard to help it grow and flourish. We must continue to share Secular Humanism with a much broader audience. Spreading reason, compassion, and hope is a worthy enterprise!"
Ron’s adventures with religion are documented in his “Steelman The Humanist” blog. The following two links pretty much tell the story.
Some theatrical production photos: