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Ron Shipley

Advice: 'If it doesn't kill you, eat it'

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Today our storyteller comes to us from Verndale. His name is Ronald (Ron) Shipley. Ron was born in Fullerton, Calif., in 1941. His father's name is Hugh and his mom is Naomi.

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They lived near Disneyland where he found his first job when he was a teenager. Hugh drove a truck in the oil fields. When Ron was 4 years old, Hugh's truck collided with another and he was killed.

Ron joined the Navy in 1958 where he spent the next eight years. Following that he was employed by the Steel Warehouse for three years. He married Nubia Ramirez in 1958 and between them they have eight children.

The South Louisiana oil fields saw Ron next. There were many accidents, like in all oil fields, where almost any accident is a big one. He saw more than one man die. Fires and what was called "sour gas" were two of the dangers. Workers had to wear masks. Ron worked where they were drilling.

Then Ron asked, "How far back can you remember?"

I said, "I can remember falling in old basement hole. Lizards looked at me from holes in the wall. I bawled when my dad found me. I always liked lizards, and still do. I think I was about 2 1/2."

And his recollections go back even further.

"Well, I've got a great memory. I can remember when I was 1 1/2 years old," he said.

Ron has driven truck at different times, once for a company in Texas, where he was also a volunteer paramedic for the fire department for six years. It was in 1988, while working a second time for Steel Warehouse, that his back was severely injured, calling for three operations. He is gathering strength under our big friendly roof.

Ron joined the Jehovah's Witness faith and was baptized 34 years ago, along with his wife. He has worked and preached in 17 different congregations. The Shipleys moved to Verndale in 2009 to be with their ill daughter, who has since died.

It was nice to hear that they like our Minnesota. Now, in all of the many places Ron has lived and worked, what bit of advice was he given he remembers most?

In Louisiana they said, "If it doesn't kill you, eat it!"

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