Ron Reifler died of cancer on September 12th in Los Angeles. At 86 he loved life, felt young, and hoped to do more. Born and raised in Chicago, Ron enlisted as a navigator in the Air Force in 1943-1945 then earned his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1948. He taught economics to graduate students at Claremont Men’s College in Southern California in the early 1950s and returned to Chicago as a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton. In 1955 he the joined the Fantus Company, which specialized in industrial plant location studies for large corporations and governments; he became Senior Vice President and remained in that position until 1977. He was married to Carolyn Weist, the mother of his children, from 1956 to 1970. Ron contributed to the economic and social development of towns across the U.S. and Canada in the mid-1950s through mid-1970s. After leaving Fantus and until earlier this year he was President of Reifler Associates, an organizational behavioral consulting firm focused on teambuilding and improving human dynamics at workplaces. Partnering with Maria Rosa Escude, his loving wife of 29 years, he helped corporations, governments, and schools to develop more humane working and learning conditions.
Ron served on the Board of Directors of Oasis, the Midwest Center for Human Potential, in the 1970s. Oasis House, located in Chicago, hosted workshops and seminars led by trailblazers of the human potential movement and had close connections with Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California. For many years he worked with leaders of the human potential movement in the Association for Humanistic Psychology and in Virginia Satir’s International Human Learning Resources Network (IHLRN), including serving on the Board of Directors of IHLRN. He also served on the Board of Directors of ASTD, American Society for Training and Development in Los Angeles and later on became President of the Association.
In his final years, he was most proud of his influence on the lives of many children in the Self-Management for Kids Program (selfmanagementforkids.org). With Maria he coauthored a series of books, The Adventures of Elly and Tigy, to accompany the program. Tall, thin, bearded, and a visionary champion of humanity, Ron dedicated his life to teaching and developing the lives of others. He was undaunted by battles with windmills along the way.
He was predeceased by his parents, Gene and Harriet, and by his beloved younger brother, Cliff. He is survived by his wife, Maria, his children, Elizabeth and Doug, his sister, Audrey, his granddaughters, Katherine and Erin, and scores of loving family and friends. A celebration of his life is planned for January 2013 in Los Angeles.