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Ron Orlandi left his mark

Former Superior Spartan baseball coach Ron Orlandi and his great grandson Austin Ward, pose for a photo after Austin threw out the first pitch prior to a Spartan baseball game in 2015. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)1 / 2
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Deb Krieg

For the Superior Telegram

He was a gem of a man.

And, mentor of many.

Ron Orlandi was in every literal sense of the expression — a work of art.

His life and love of it - a grand slam ... so very well-rounded his run here on earth was.

He touched every base and so many lives and hearts with such care, charm, compassion, grace, humor, loyalty, and fine-honed skill.

He had this incredible staying power. Yes, he really was one of those people you are fortunate to meet in life that you assume will never leave, will always be here.

That Brooklyn accent of his was as distinguishable as was his strut, those sensational signals and that boyish smile and sense of style, study, educating and play.

He was Italian, obviously so, and it was hard for him to mask the pride that he was the son of immigrants, a proud first-generation American, a veteran.

He was patient yet demanding of his students of which I considered myself one and yet was sensitive and street savvy as in “New York street smart” when it came to life experiences and people and priorities.

And that kind of street smart — was a whole lot different than “Wisconsin street smart” any day of the week, a colleague of his once ribbed.

He made us laugh and learn and live and rewrite our own chapters and stories along the way, didn’t he?

Ron had such an undeniable passion for people and kids and that big playbook, you know the one we all too often lose sight of.

He had such an amazing spin on things, so many gestures, stories and tales and achievements and experiences that will not soon be forgotten.

A pro he was at every single level. He was a believer in everything that is good and should and does humanly matter.

He put faith and his kids and family and his wife, Peg and friends and anyone who ever wore that shade of color called Columbia blue at the forefront of his ever active world.

No, we will never forget that grin, that puffed up Spartan jacket, or the way that giant of a gentleman wore the baseball cap. A fine Superior educator, coach and creator of great works of art and jewelry, great times and memories he made us all feel like celebrities and superstars.

The example he set, the life he lived until his last catch in the final inning, as he rounds home... thank God, remains on replay here with us all.

Rest in Peace, Ron Orlandi.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Deb Krieg was a former Telegram sportswriter during the Orlandi coaching era.

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