Ronald G. Germain was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti on December 14, 1951, the oldest of nine children to the late Ludovic Jean Germain and Ghislaine Freda Lavache Germain. When he spoke of Haiti, my dad recalled fond memories of playing kick ball outside with his siblings and friends in the area, jumping in crystal blue water, fresh food at the table, getting into mischief at times, and his mother always finding out and handling the matter “the West Indian way”. When his parents arrived to the United States on May 16, 1964, they resided in the Bronx and spent most of his life there. Being the eldest of his siblings, our father found work quickly at United Parcel Service in Manhattan. His commitment to the company allowed him to rise up the ranks, and he completed fifty years of service and retired in June 2020. All the while, he attended City University of New York where he found his passion in architecture and artwork and completed four years of his collegiate studies. While our dad worked diligently, he also made time to frequent gatherings and enjoy life, and he met Chantal Valery at a social event as they had mutual friends. They fell in love and married in August 1981. As their love blossomed so did the family tree with the birth of their daughters, Rachel and Maureen. Between the birth of both daughters, Ronald and Chantal moved to Hempstead, Long Island, where our dad resided until he went home to the Lord.
Our beloved father, husband, brother, uncle and friend leaves us with many memories of his love, compassion and ability to wear many hats. While working at UPS our father was a handyman, feeling a great sense of accomplishment by building with his hands. He had a keen eye for doing renovation projects and and wouldn’t hesitate to assist others with their pursuit to improve their home. While our dad worked hard, he also played hard. He made kites from scratch, rollerbladed, frequented the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, created artwork to the point that he was doing the art portion of my school projects, kayaked and enjoyed a leisure bike ride for miles at a time on any weekend afternoon in the park. Listening to live music on a warm July evening on the boardwalk at Jones Beach with a scoop of rum raisin ice cream in hand was what summer was all about, not to mention visiting family, barbecuing and traveling. He was a road warrior, waking us up at ridiculous hours in the morning to hit the road and, hopefully, beat the traffic. Ronald was anything but sedentary.
While it may appear that our Ronald was, in the words of Lionel Richie, easy like Sunday morning, that’s left up for debate. He always favored a step above the rest whether it was sending my sister and I to Catholic school throughout our lives or driving from Long Island to the Bronx just so that he can have Lloyd’s Carrot Cake off Riverdale Avenue. If there was a scratch on his Ray Ban glasses lens, he’d make sure to replace it with another pair. He preferred his black leather jacket, newspaper hat and scarf to keep up his Jet magazine image even when the weather called for an oversized down coat. He ironed his clothes and shined his shoes every morning for as long as I can remember, preferred slacks over shorts, Italian-made shoes over sneakers, sit down dinners over buffets, and button downs over sweaters. Cracker Barrel cheddar over Kraft American. And, without a doubt, homemade Cremas over store-bought eggnog. Quality over quantity. First-class or bust.
When he wasn’t working, Ronald enjoyed watching television and listening to music, both at unusually high volumes, at the same time. His music tastes was broad from Ben E. King to Michael Jackson, a couple of rock songs thrown in but plenty of Haitian and Latin mixes. There wasn’t a dance floor he wouldn’t find himself in the center of with our mom, dancing the night away until his feet ached whether it was at New Years parties, graduations, weddings, you name it. While he relished in the laughter, music and the company of others, he valued peace in solitude in his country home in Washington, Georgia. He was a jokester, chuckling light-heartedly at your expense, and found pleasure in going to Barnes and Noble on Saturday nights, leisurely strolling down the aisle of Home Depot, or hanging out downstairs of our home looking up real estate.
Yes, Ronald had many hats, but one of his favorites was that of being a grandfather to Sade and Bronson, the first grandchildren from both sides of the family. If the weather was bad, dad would call to let me know the weather as if I lived in another state, just to remind me that the kids need to be bundled up. He enjoyed playing with the kids and almost became childlike, himself, in their company. He always wanted to present his best self in their eyes even when he wasn’t feeling his best. He referred to them as his angels; their presence warmed his heart and his, theirs.
Our Ronald walked to the beat of his own drum and was the captain of his own ship. On the eve of his passing we celebrated his birthday early with Haitian soup, patties and a small Haitian cake. The weather was unusually warm for mid December in the northeast, but we savored it. That weekend, he reached out to those he needed to reach, was in the company of those who loved him dearly, and he smiled from ear to ear. Unbeknownst to us, when our father went to sleep that night he was wrapped up in the arms of the Lord and was on a new path feeling nourished, happy, and most importantly, loved. I look back at that weekend with immense gratitude. Thank you, Lord, for giving us Sunday and all the days, weeks, months and years prior to it. A life well-lived, indeed.
Our beloved is survived by his wife, Chantal Germain, as well as his daughters, Rachel Herth and Maureen Germain, Rachel’s spouse, Devery Herth, as well as his grandchildren, Sade Noelle and Bronson Everett; his siblings, Marie Germain, Michelyn Johnson, Gislaine Phillip, Evrose Scott, Abdullah Khalifah, Joseph Germain, Tony Germain and the Germain sister-in-laws, Ghislaine Germain, Lourdes Khalifah as well as many nieces and nephews.
Thank you for the memories, dad. We love you and will miss you tremendously.
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