Ronnie Weatherman, husband, father, friend and dedicated TBOF member passed May 16, 2018. Ronnie lived in Umatlla, Florida with his wife Bobbi.
Death may have taken his body, the Lord has received his soul, but his friends will forever pass along the legacy of his amazing teachings and cherish his friendship and, remember their special times spent with this amazingly smart and wonderful man.
Ronnie, you are missed very much.
RONNIE WEATHERMAN....DETAIL MAN
Yes, Ronnie was a detail man. That is what his profession was and from what I know of him that detail carried over into every aspect of his life.
Ronnie's profession was a "Detailer". What Ronnie did for a living was take architects and structural engineers drawings of plans and detail the connections and the drawings to make their projects actually buildable and or erectable. I know the importance of this as I was a General Contractor for 41 years and could appreciate the good work of a good detailer like Ronnie. Ronnie once told me that he did work for a hand full of architects, engineers and contractors and they kept him as busy as he wanted to be. He was good at it!
The reason I tell you this is because Ronnie was instrumental in the infancy of our TBOF Club. Ronnie became a member evidently a short time after our Clubs first get together at our founders, Tom Brunoffsky's home at Reddick Florida in August of 1990. I met Ronnie at one of the early shoots of TBOF at the Gibson ranch shoot of TBOF. He and his wife Barbara were both good archers and involved with the Club early. They, along with long time members like Wayne Carter, Johnny Smith, Lance Wadkins, and Danny and Pat DuBoise were instrumental in bringing our Club along and out of its infancy.
I became the third President of TBOF by default, as our second President, Dave Hoye had to move to the west coast after the first shoot of his presidency in early 1992. Ron Weatherman, the detail man, assumed VP duties for the rest of my term. In those early days he also took on the newsletter editor duties.
The first big move that Ronnie did for our club was secure a great place for us TBOF members to use for our shoots. Our first good range was developed on the east side of the Rocking Horse Ranch just north of Umatilla on Lake Dorr. Ronnie of course knew the lady that owned the Rocking Horse and we had all of the spring shoots there for the remainder of mine and Ronnie's terms as President and VP respectively. This was a great move that helped grow our Club to about 250 members in that time.
Once my term as President was up, Ronnie was elected
President and I became his Secretary/Treasurer. Again, the detail-man, Ronnie,
came to the rescue. We of course needed a bigger place to have our shoots and
more than one range. Ronnie came up with the place to Go......Crooked Lake. At
Crooked Lake we could have more than one range that we needed to stage our ever-expanding
membership. At Crooked lake we were allotted the space to do that, and thus
grew our Club. Ronnie was instrumental in acquiring that Forest Land Property
for our shoots there. The only stipulation from the Forest Service was to
collect a minimum fee from the Vendors based on the merchandise that each sold
on the honor system. All of the above was worked out by our "Detail
Ronnie, as the preacher pointed out at his funeral, carried his detail to his affinity toward the bow and arrow and to hunting with the bow and arrow. Ronnie was an exceptional archer with the bow and arrow and practiced with it continually. His attention to detail and form enabled him to win or place consistently in most all our tournaments while a TBOF member. He was a firm advocate of tuning your bow and wrote several how to articles in our news letters to help us all. He was especially good at paper tuning bows with bare shafts to identify the right spined arrow to go with a specific bow. He taught me and others early that the right arrow is more important than the a properly braced bow in achieving good arrow flight and consistency. I am a disciple and preach his teachings yet today.
Hunting with the bow and arrow was a passion of Ronnie's also. I remember the times we would tell each other of our deer or elk hunts and the enthusiasm that he would display. Ronnie was a good hunter that carried his detail-oriented style to the woods and it payed off with quick clean kills year after year.
I will miss Ronnie, along with many others, and never forget him as long as I live. He was a good honest man and you could bank on anything he said because he was a 'detail man'. If he was bold enough to tell you something, you better listen because, he would not tell you anything if he were unsure of its validity.
I am happy to say that I was lucky enough to camp on the lake next to Ronnie at this last spring shoot. I spent some time with him for the first time in a long time. He was looking at a new bow and we got to talk a good while. I learned at Ronnie's funeral that he was exactly 2 years and 3 days older than me. More importantly we were both Scorpios born in late October. Ronnie was born on Oct.28 1947, and I was born on Oct 25th 1949. One of our main traits as Scorpios, is being passionate about the things we love. Ronnie was true to this trait, as I don't know anyone else in the Club that was more passionate than he, about our Club, Archery, and Bow hunting. It is good to be immersed in the things we love. That can never be taken from our friend Ronnie or us if we are passionate about anything. Of course, I did not realize that, this last spring shoot would be my last time seeing him. I will miss him a lot. Our Club owes him a lot!
Hatchet Jack Keener
TBOF past President
Original Horny Buck
Jack shared some pictures he had of Ronnie
Click the image to see a larger view
Ronnie is the first person on the left
Ronnie is in the back on the left
By John McCorrmick
Putting to words a story about someone as important as Ronnie is difficult in that so many different things come to mind. There are so many even single sentence statements that he made over the years that have cause me to reflect, revise my thinking or revise the way I look at things. The memories are kind of like patchwork for a quilt. I hope these pieces of patch work come together to form a quilt that reflects who Ronnie was to me.
The second TBOF shoot I attended was at the Rocking Horse Ranch in Umatilla. I recall watching that hot-shot every one talked about, Ronnie Weatherman, win a shoot off with a perfect shot on a long-distance Elk through a pair of binoculars from the campsite. That is my first recollection of him.
I could write 10 pages about how Ronnie tutored me through the Presidency of the TBOF and how he and Bobbi opened the door to their home during that period. I rode the wave that Ronnie created when he was leading the club. Under his Presidency the TBOF became recognized as a leader of Traditional Archery shooting competitions. He had people coming from everywhere and maxed out the competition ranges. He supported me during my term even when he didn’t agree with some of the decisions I made. His dedication to the club and the amount of time and effort he personally put in to the club was incredible.
The first time I visited Ronnie we went out to his work shop. I saw some of the designs and drawings he was working on and was very impressed. It was for a theme park and was an intricate design for an Octopus that would become a part of a visitor’s lobby. I had been working in a machine shop and building precision sheet metal components for years and could not design or even build anything he had drawn. The amount of talent was impressive. It was both intelligent and artistic. As I got to know Ronnie better, there were times at work I would brag that not a single engineer I worked with could compare to him. If you looked at Ronnie’s camper set-up, tree climbing steps, bows or anything else he customized, you could see his sharp mind and talent.
I bought a popular name brand bow (named after an archery legend) and it just wouldn’t shoot. I tried everything and just couldn’t figure it out. Like a lot of other people, I ended up over at Ronnie’s looking for help. We tried a few bare shafts and he announced quite confidently and in a matter of fact way (like he was prone to do) that the shelf on my new bow was designed badly and needed to be reshaped. I was naïve enough to think that no one would sell a bow with a poorly designed shelf, so I resisted for several months. When it came down to a choice of selling the bow or giving his idea a try, I gave in. Once I ground down the shelf it solved the problem immediately and the bow was a shooter.
I found out over the years that I could ask Ronnie about any subject and he had a good answer, right off the top of his head. At first, I thought he must have spent all his spare time thinking about many different things and then forming an opinion about them so he would be prepared whenever asked about this subject or that. Then I realized that would require an impossible memory. He was just that quick and that sharp to allow him to formulate good opinions right on the spot. I had never personally met anyone able to do that. I must admit though, he knew everyone’s name. Even the kids. He might have had the ability to remember that much stuff after all!
One day I was talking to Ronnie about being let down by someone who had promised to do something, but they didn’t follow through. Ronnie said: “You know your problem? You expect too much of people.” I have thought about that from that day forward. If you knew Ronnie, you know he did not mean that as a way of disparaging others, but that I could avoid disappointment by being more realistic. He meant that I could not put the kind of expectations I put on myself, on to other people. He was right. I have tried to keep that in mind ever since and rarely am I disappointed by anyone anymore.
The last time I was at Ronnie’s house was to assist him with repairing arrows from the Boggy Creek Gang Camp archery program. He had a bunch of them to repair and promised me we would cook up some fish afterwards. We repaired as many arrows as we could and then went out to the carport to get the fish. Ronnie laughed and told me he had promised a fish fry but forgot to mention we would have to clean them first. I guess he had been out bowfishing the night before and had a cooler full of assorted fish. Now I can clean a fish well enough that I wouldn’t starve if left alone with a knife and a pack of matches, but there are different levels of ability in everything. Ronnie could clean a fish so fast and well that I was embarrassed. He offered me some pointers and let me work on as many as I wanted. Then a big gar came out of the cooler. I had to admit that I had never cleaned one or even knowingly eaten one. He broke out the tin snips and showed me how to clean the first one. I struggled through a couple of more after that. Ronnie got a good oak fire going and put the seasoned and oiled fish on a rack and slow cooked them. As he cooked the fish I wondered if this had been a test for Beth since I had brought her over with me. I guess he figured if she got up and ran at any point, she wasn’t a keeper. After we ate our fill, Ronnie brought out his latest pistol and asked if I wanted to shoot it. Beth was with me as I was shooting, and I offered the pistol to her, so she could shoot. Ronnie came over a little nervous and mentioned that his neighbor down range had some expensive horses. Now came his test. He watched her shoot a group that was better than mine.
From time to time I would have a hunt at the same WMA as Ronnie. He was always welcoming and wanted to share his camp. Myself and everyone else would generally camp in close proximity. You could always count on Ronnie to have a bunch of firewood and that thing you forgot to bring. He set up a good kitchen and a covered area for eating. He always stayed to the last, even though he was the first person to tag out. He usually provided a good venison dinner for those of us that hunted to the end trying to get a deer so that we wouldn’t have to eat that can of pork and beans we had remaining. The last time I ended up in the same camp as Ronnie was also the last time I hunted a WMA. We shared a camp on my brother’s property in the panhandle while hunting St. Marks. I think Ronnie tagged out on day two. Day three had a cold front passing through about mid-day. In the panhandle cold fronts come in with a lot of fan-fare. I was heading back in to the woods for the afternoon and it started raining real hard. I stumbled across a good hog so decided to end my day right there. When I got back to camp it was raining so hard you could barely see and lightening was dropping left and right. I was starting to regret taking that hog. As I was rigging a rope over a tree limb to raise the hog and start cleaning him, Ronnie showed up in a poncho with a knife. He apologized for not having another poncho. I told him he should go back to his camp and I would pay for my stupidity all alone. He stayed right there with me. That is the kind of person he was. That evening after the rains had finally stopped it started getting cold. Very cold. I went out to hunt the next day, which was the last day of the hunt. Many of the roads had been closed, so I had to walk a good distance to get to my stand. I saw a small, but not legal buck that evening and considered it a good hunt even though I did not have any deer meat. I knew I was getting back to camp late and wasn’t looking forward to trying to cook my Dinty Moore beef stew on my wet camp stove outside in the cold. When I arrived at camp Ronnie had a roaring fire going. He had cooked up a big dinner of venison, potatoes and onions all in olive oil. It was so good! We sat around the fire that evening joking about starting another fire and standing between them. I enjoyed his company that evening and every time I ever saw him. He was a good man and will be missed.
In Memory of Ronnie Weatherman: Mentor, Friend, Master Outdoorsman
by David Tetzlaff
Unusual for Ronnie and me, we didn’t hunt until dark on the second day of our hunt on legendary Saint Vincent Island. We both had independently elected to call it a day and ran into each other on the sugar sand road back to Indian Pass camp where we had stashed our kayaks just off the beach. Our conversation was low and casual as we walked. The pressure was off. Ronnie had put a good hog on ice on opening morning and I had arrowed a doe that evening. We wondered aloud how our new friend, Mark Normand from Louisiana, was doing as he too had put a doe in the cooler and was hog hunting for the afternoon. Abruptly, Ronnie froze mid-step, nodded up the road, and hissed, “Deer!” Two whitetail does had just ghosted across the road bound for a scrub oak thicket.
“Go shoot one of those deer,” Ronnie whispered with encouragement.
With my doe down, I too was a hog hunter for the remainder of the trip. “I can’t Ronnie, it’s a one deer limit, you go shoot one of those deer.”
Ronnie oozed up the road. At twenty-five yards one of the does paused at the edge of the thick stuff. For Ronnie Weatherman, and his beloved Black Widow bow, that is a doable shot, all day, every day. As he always did, he released a perfect arrow but this time the deer was wired and was not there to meet it. For most of us, a miss is a largely disappointing affair, but Ronnie shrugged it off. Which is easy to do if you typically kill half a dozen deer a season with a recurve bow. Ronnie did just that. Often.
But those who knew Ronnie well, get the real point of the story. He wanted me to get that deer.
Many have stated that our Traditional Bowhunters of Florida is not a club, it is an institution where lifelong friendships are forged. Among those of us who have served the club in an official position it is that and more. John McCormick writes of hunting camps at Saint Marks NWR. Shadowed in the campfire light could be the faces of Ronnie, John, me, and Chris Brodeur who served as my vice president for many of the years I was fortunate to helm the club. There is a brotherhood here, those who have assumed the enormity of managing the club. As John once said, when a shoot is done there is a sadness, not dissimilar to leaving a family reunion. Without TBOF none of us would have met Ronnie and thus our lives would have been that less enriched.
Ronnie did not require verbosity to make a point. One night after hunting Lake Panasoffkee we sat in the local fast food joint. Sipping on a vanilla shake I expressed my frustration with a fellow who had taken on the club presidency and had asked me to serve as vice president. As only a three-year member I certainly assumed that others were far more qualified, but I reluctantly agreed. Months into my new role I was increasingly unhappy with our president’s lack of initiative. Great guy, but wrong seat on the bus. Ronnie’s solution, “Just do what you can do.” That’s it. That was all he needed to say. The enormity of those six words was an adrenaline shot.
I immediately began just doing what I could do. I side-stepped the club president and started doing his job. He soon left the club, leaving the presidency in my lap. Now I had done it. I was terrified of the responsibility yet excited for the ability to steer the ship in the direction I thought best. And humbly, I had John, Jimmy Zetwick, Jay Campbell, Wayne Carter, Nick Coullias, Mel Bulger, and other past leaders to prop me up. But most of all there was Ronnie. He was the guy who took the club to sellout status making it “the” shoot in the Southeast. As John said, Ronnie might not have agreed with everything he did, or that I did following John, but he respected our efforts. As the time when I bought the African animal 3-D targets when they first came out. He found them strange on our ranges, he was deer, hog, and elk guy, but he ten-ringed them just the same. Without his quiet mentoring my time as president would have suffered. None of us tried to fill Ronnie’s shoes. That was too far reaching a task. We just tried to walk in his footsteps.
When a new job moved my family from south to central Florida I was delighted that our new home was a short twenty-minute drive from Ronnie’s house. On my first visit we shot his 3-D range twice. And typical Ronnie said afterward, “You hungry?!” Me, “Always!” Minutes later deadwood crackled in the fire ring, a bottle of something red and plastic cups were on a camp table, and the venison was on its way to a perfect rare.
When in the hunting woods, Ronnie’s words will forever echo through my head:
“I spend more time picking a tree than picking a spot.”
“If you hunt on the ground, you best be able to see the game before it sees you.”
“I’ll take a sabal palm over a pine tree any day.”
“You almost can’t aim too low on a hog, that heart is way down there.”
“If you hunt from a tree, keep a low bow shoulder, remember to bend at the waist.”
“Really learn about the woods, most hunters only learn enough to kill a deer.”
“Listen to the squirrels, their alarm call is different for a bobcat than a hawk.”
“If you see other game when you’re hunting hogs, you’re moving too slow.”
An avowed public land hunter, Ronnie didn’t think much of leased hunts. “Use it or lose it” was his mantra for his unapologetic justification of hunting our WMA’s and NWR’s over leased land. Few knew Florida’s state and federal lands as Ronnie did. I am sure he had far better things to do than traipse around the WMA’s near my home on humid August mornings. But he wanted to share those decades of knowledge and even give up a few hard-earned spots.
And in our new world of chest-thumping social media hunting stars, Ronnie was the antithesis of that self-aggrandizing sideshow. The walls of his self-designed Florida Cracker style home are adorned with whitetails, turkey, monster hogs, lunker bass, and two spectacular Colorado elk. And out in his bow shop stand buckets of nice antlers that any of us would proudly put on the wall. Every animal has a story, but you must gently tease them out of Ronnie’s memory. He was far more interested in his guests’ stories. He had an intense way of listening to you as if there was nothing more important in the world than the conversation at the time. And if the story ended in a miss or a blown stalk, he most likely would have politely interjected, “Well, if you would have…” And, as you made a mental note to self, you know he would have been right.
On another Saint Vincent hunt we had a wild, dangerous kayak paddle which will be told in part in an upcoming issue of Traditional Bowhunter Magazine®. I am grateful that Ronnie had a look at it while he was still with us. He rubberstamped my retelling of the story while sheepishly admitting we were lucky lunatics who should have been shark food.
Ronnie’s passing is a shocking, devastating loss to his friends in the outdoor community. The campfire won’t lick the night sky so brightly, the tireless blood trailer won’t be there to look over our shoulders as we sort out puzzles in the leaves, the master bow tuner won’t be here to answer our questions, no more squirrel salad sandwiches at TBOF shoots, and no more texting conversations—
“You home, Ronnie?”
“You wanna shoot pistols?”
Someone called Ronnie Weatherman to “C’mon up” far too soon.
Obituary for Ronnie Weatherman
Ronnie Boyd Weatherman, 70, of Umatilla, FL passed away on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. He was born in Asheville, NC. He was a draftsman in structural steel detailing. He was a veteran of the United States Army. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and loved the outdoors and helping others. He was a member of several bow hunting clubs. He loved helping people learn the sport he enjoyed so much. Ronnie was also a devoted volunteer at Boggy Creek for the children’s archery program.
He is survived by his loving wife: Bobbi Weatherman, Umatilla, FL; brothers: Ken Weatherman, Asheville, NC, Terry Weatherman, Orlando, FL; sister: Pam Trignano; daughter: Christal Merrill; 3 grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at the Beyers Funeral Home Chapel in Umatilla with associate pastor Mike Ellis officiating.