May 18, 2009 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.
Early in September of 1974 I walked into my classroom to prepare for another evening adult class sponsored by Central Arizona College titled “Prospecting the Superstitions.” There at my door stood a small young man with a receding hairline awaiting my arrival. He asked me if this was where the Superstition class was being taught for the college. He assured me he had signed up for the class by immediately producing a receipt. To this day I can still recall what he was wearing. He had on dark slacks, a white shirt and tie. He had a name badge with letters that spelled out RON LORENZ. His name badge had basically introduced us and began a friendship that lasted thirty years.
Ron was the type of student who constantly wanted to learn more, however in class he was a bit shy and seldom participated in discussion. As soon as class was over at 9:30 p.m. he was anxious to talk with me about the Superstition Mountains. He was fascinated with anything to do with the mountains. The class met two and half-hours each evening for sixteen weeks. By the time the semester was over Ron Lorenz was soon a friend of my wife and I. He would drop by our home almost daily, we would visit and he often joined us at the dinner table.
Our friendship with Ron Lorenz continued to grow over the years. Ron worked for A.J. Bayless in Apache Junction for many years as the dairy manager. It was during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Ron and I started making trips in the Superstition Wilderness Area. He dreamed about learning to ride horses. At the time I had a real gentle horse name Ringo. Ron went on many trips horseback with me as he learned to ride. I tried my best to treat Ron as an equal and we rode over the trails of the Superstition Wilderness.
Ron also loved to collect anything about the Superstition Mountains. He was always looking for books and any other item that might be related to the Superstition Mountains. Greg Davis, Ron Lorenz and I began to build a large collection of periodicals, books, records, photographs, and other miscellaneous items on the Superstition Mountain. We traded with each other and made every attempt to help each other find any special book or periodical. Ron was so dedicated to this preservation of periodical history he traveled to California to meet with Greg Davis and copy several thousand items. He had to sacrifice his one-week vacation. This was certainly dedication, which was how Ron Lorenz was. He was dedicated to what he believed and nothing really ever deterred him.
Ron decided he wanted to go along with us on a five-day pack trip into the Superstition Mountains in March of 1983. We hired a packer and camp cook. We planned to ride for five days out of Tortilla Ranch in March. We planned on visiting the true inner sanctum of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Again Ron had sacrificed his week’s vacation for this opportunity. We got our gear up to the old Tortilla Ranch and set up our tents.
One of the wettest winter storms hit the area for the next three days. It was so miserable we just about abandoned the trip. We did ride the first day. The next two days we spent trying to keep dry. The third day we looked like drowned rats. Here was Ron still upbeat and looking forward to the trip after three days of rain and we only had two days of riding left if it cleared up. He was the eternal optimist.
Finally the rain let up and we got to ride the last two days through streambeds filled with water. The last two days of riding made up for the first three days of rain because the wilderness was so beautiful with all this rain. Ron found something positive with about every little thing that week. This illustrated the kind of person he was under sometimes really bad conditions.
Ron, Greg and I made several trips into the Superstition Wilderness Area on horseback during the late 1970’s and most of the 1980’s. Ron eventually took a job in Mesa working for Fry’s Super Market and we didn’t see him as often, however I heard from him on the phone regularly. Ron was always proud of the fact he was in the grocery business. He was dedicated to his job and he had excellent job ethics. Ron was the kind of person you could always depend on.
Ron Lorenz was one of the founding board members of the Superstition Mountain Historical Society and a very active member in the building of the Superstition Mountain-Lost Dutchman Museum. All of the years he collected material on the Superstition Wilderness Area it was always his plan to donate it to the Superstition Mountain Historical Society.
Ron was an avid photographer and he took hundreds of photographs and slides of the Superstition Wilderness and historical sites located in the region. His collection is now housed by the Superstition Mountain-Lost Dutchman Museum.
The members of the Superstition Mountain Historical Society should dedicate their future and success to members like Mr. Ronald A. Lorenz. His epitaph should read, he was truly a proud American, a very dedicated employee and he worked diligently to assist many worthy non-profit organizations that assisted those in need.
We are all better off for knowing Ron Lorenz. He is the kind of person we should never forget. If we modeled our lives after his, this world would be a better place in which to live. Ron Lorenz certainly followed in the footsteps of Frank Dobie’s Coronado’s Children.
Ronald A. Lorenz was born in Wadena, Minnesota on February 1, 1952 and passed away in Mesa, Arizona on October 11, 2004. He was interned at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Mesa.