About Ron Mann


Several years ago I attended an event where my father spoke and heard a wonderful introduction of him by the host. This is the best "short" summary of his life that I've encountered. He is an amazing man who has my abiding love and respect. Since I've shared some of his speeches and writings with you, I thought you might enjoy some information on his background. Here is the introduction which I have "enhanced" a bit:

INTRODUCTION OF RONALD M. MANN

Before I begin my official introduction of our guest tonight, let me first explain that Ron absolutely hates these kinds of formal introductions - where his achievements are lauded and where he might be perceived, even in the least, as self-aggrandizing. I can tell you from personal experience that Ron Mann is one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met, and no one could tell just from meeting him that he has led such an incredible life.

Having said this, I also know from personal experience what an amazing individual Ron is, and that who he is, is due in large part to the experiences he's had. So let me give you just a taste in order for you to appreciate the vast wisdom and insight Ron has to share with us tonight.

Ron Mann was born and raised in Provo, Utah. Prior to completing his college degree, he joined the Air Force, where he hoped to live the exciting life of a fighter pilot. But when his aptitude tests revealed a propensity for intelligence work, he was assigned to the Air Force's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, where he studied Russian and worked in Europe to counter the Soviet threat. I'd tell you more about this period in Ron's life, but most of it is classified,so he,'d probably have to kill me if I knew anything about it.

After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Ron returned to Brigham Young University and completed his degree in mechanical engineering, which led to a job with the Boeing Corporation. After a few years as an engineer, Ron was promoted to management, where he worked on projects vital to national defense and space exploration. Ron was even chosen to create a new division to develop alternative energy production. As a side note, Boeing's efforts were frustrated by radical environmental groups then, the same way these groups stifle energy production today. But Ron's leadership during his time at Boeing garnered him dozens of awards and gave him valuable knowledge of national defense which would later serve him and the country well.

Ron has always had an abiding love for this nation, its Founders, and the Constitution, which is why he became politically active. He became a District Chairman for the party in the Seattle area, where he gained national attention for his successful defeat of a well-entrenched and morally-bankrupt incumbent who everyone said could not be defeated. Thanks to Ron's strategy, he was defeated, and a capable, moral, conservative was elected to Congress instead. Because of this, Ron was invited to Washington D.C.and asked to consult for the National Party, helping them win difficult races all over the country. He was even hired to regularly brief and ghostwrite for members of Congress who relied on him to overcome arguments of their liberal colleagues on hotly-contested issues. In 1964, he served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

Ron turned down a position with the Nixon administration and endured a tongue lashing by President Nixon who was very disappointed in his decision.

Ron's experience with national defense and his growing fame in national politics finally combined during the creation of the SALT treaty. Most of you know this treaty severely weakened the United States while empowering the Soviet Union. Ron was asked by key members of the House and Senate to help draft amendments to the treaty that would significantly improve the document. He and a colleague co-wrote 54 amendments which would have strengthened the position of the United States and weakened the Soviets. Sadly, these amendments were not passed, and Ron would have to wait until SALT II to nearly single-handedly convince enough members of the Senate to reject that treaty. Although the defeat of SALT II struck a major blow for U.S. foreign policy and national defense, few realize that Ron's briefing booklet was probably the single-most influential factor in the decision.

After this incredible victory, Governor Ronald Reagan took note of Ron Mann, and invited him to be a member of his transition team after winning the election of 1980. Ron flew back to Washington D.C. and essentially chose for the President every ambassador, all key personnel working in any way with national security, foreign policy or defense, and many of federal judges in the Reagan administration. Expecting to serve on the transition team and then return to Seattle and his cushy position at Boeing, Ron was surprised to be asked by President Reagan to serve as one of his special assistants. It was only with the support of his wife Shelly that Ron was able to accept the position. Shelly has always proclaimed herself as "only a simple farm girl from Montana, but she was willing to leave their comfortable life in Seattle to face the challenges of living in the D.C. area.

Ron's official title in the Reagan administration was "Special Assistant to the President of the United States." And although I am sure Ron could have served capably in a Cabinet position, the President knew that Ron would be far more valuable and get much more accomplished behind the scenes as a member of what is referred to by some as the "Kitchen Cabinet." But make no mistake - in so many ways, and for so many things, Ron was literally the President's "go-to guy."

During his service in the White House, the director of NASA told Ron that he was going to name him NASA's Outstanding Employee of the Year, out of a pool of tens of thousands. Ron however asked the director to refrain because he didn't want to have this blow back on the President somehow. The director insisted because Ron had done so much for NASA but Ron politely declined. He also worked tirelessly to assist the President in the fight against Soviet aggression and other threats to our liberty and security both from within and without.

It was during his tenure at the White House that Ron was invited to attend a celebration in 1983 commemorating the 30th anniversary of the United States - South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty. The event was held in Seoul, South Korea, but Ron was unable to attend at the last minute. His wife Shelly called in tears because tenants in their rental house had trashed it before moving out and disappearing. With the responsibility of representing the White House at an international event, Ron chose to stay with his wife so the two could deal with the problem at home. Some of you undoubtedly know the end of this story. Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down by a Soviet MIG pilot, who claimed to mistake it for a spy plane. All aboard were killed, including outspoken patriot Congressman Larry McDonald.

Bell-Boeing V22 Osprey which Ron helped develop
Ron had incredible experiences working in the Reagan White House - again, most of which he can't speak about. But after four years, he made the difficult decision to leave so he could, as he put it: "watch his children grow up." Rather than accepting a cushy and coveted job as Ambassador to Austria, he returned to Boeing and was able to see his son play football in the state championship. He did spend one month in Europe consulting on U.N. defense issues, but it was right back to work at Boeing helping develop the Osprey aircraft.

Pocket Constitution Ron
helped put together.
In 1987, he was asked by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to organize and execute the celebration for the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government nearly didn't hold a celebration, but when Congress was pressed by the White House to have one they quickly acquiesced. Here is the back story: In 1985 Ron put together a White House document to establish a Bicentennial commission for the Constitution and then called the House and Senate leaders to let them know that the president was going to take the lead on this since they had not. Later in the day he received calls from both houses saying to hold off for a couple of days to give them a chance pass legislation establishing a commission. Afterwards Ron talked to President Reagan and told him he had to apologize for something (i.e. claiming that the President was going to set up a commission). Reagan chuckled and replied, "I wish I had 10 of you."

Later Ron wrote a 150 page book outlining a plan for the celebrating the Constitution. He put together an organizational structure for the commission and recommended that it be headed by Chief Justice Warren Burger.  Ron then resigned from his position in the White House and returned to Boeing. However, two of the most liberal Democrats in Congress - Representative Tom Foley and Senator Ted Kennedy - recommended Ron Mann to the Chief Justice as the only man to get the job done right, which he did. In fact, he did such an exceptional job that President Ezra Taft Benson asked Ron to spearhead the bicentennial celebration put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Now, I want you to think about this. Ron worked directly for the leadership of both Houses of Congress. He worked directly for the President of the United States. He worked directly for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He worked directly for the President of the one of the largest corporations in America. And he worked directly for the President of the LDS Church. I bet no one in this room can think of another person who can claim what I've just described about Ron Mann.

Ron retired from Boeing in 1992 and bought an apple orchard in Payette, Idaho, where he and his wife finished raising their children and tended to their trees. He continued to work sporadically as a consultant in engineering and politics on a variety of projects ranging from Disney's Epcot Center, to election strategy, to national defense issues.

In 1995, as a result of the declining American fruit industry due to foreign imports, Ron began working with Professor Essie Fallahi of the University of Idaho on creating a crop of table grapes that could be grown in Idaho. Ron subsequently founded the Idaho Table Grapes Growers Association, which established an entirely new industry in the state and an alternative crop for struggling farmers.

Ron speaking at the 2009 Continental Congress, St. Charles IL.
Ron continues to stay both active and involved. He serves as a Board member of several museums and actually helped design and build three of them. He especially loves all things George Washington and continues to procure pieces of Washington memorabilia for museums and Foundations. Whether he's building skateboard parks for youth in his community, writing or lecturing on various topics, reading a library's worth of books a year, or giving counsel to soldiers, scholars, statesmen, and simpletons, Ron has and continues to devote his life to God, country, and his fellow men.


"The Hand of Providence: Boston Freed and other Miracles" Ron Mann, July 4, 2010


I apologize for the length of this introduction, but I wanted to impress upon all of you how exceptionally blessed we are to hear from our speaker tonight. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, Ron Mann.

Ron Mann at his orchard surrounded by family
Grandpa Mann surrounded by some of his children,
grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at his orchard in Idaho.

16 comments:

  1. I love this. Times infinity. Does Gpa know it's up online? (chuckle, chuckle...)

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  2. Actually he does ... I confessed to him that did this and I'm still here. So I guess he's OK with it :)

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  3. Thanks for a thrilling ride, Rod. I did not know any of this about your dad. Marty Ladwig

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  4. Marty, Glad you enjoyed it. I have a couple of additional fun stories to add which I'll do later. I need to ask dad about some of the details so I get them right.

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  5. I have an original copy of 'Great Truths' which belonged to my grandmother. It is signed by Wm A Lincoln. Who could that be? She lived in Idaho and Utah and was an avid reader and book collector.
    Thank you. Nan Hunter

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  6. Nan, I'm not sure who Wm A. Lincoln is. From my research I suspect that most if not all of the "Great Truths" that ended up in Utah were brought here by Heber J. Grant. He returned from England after having purchased over 5,000 copies to give away. Jordan's third book "The Power of Truth" was published in the England under the name "Great Truths".

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  7. Such a great tribute to a wonderful Mann! I love him!

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  8. I am proud to call Ron "Friend", He is a very humble man and you would never know
    from just daily chatting and farming and normal routines, that he had been part of all this!
    He truly is a gem on many levels, and my family and I love him dearly.

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  9. Trying to find more of Ron Mann's exquisite Temple Silhouettes ornaments that we bought before our mission. Can you help us?

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  10. @Bob and Jan. They still have some left. You can email dad at sweetshellygrapes@gmail.com.

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  11. Hi Rod. I made a post about George Washington tonight on my blog (http://www.patrioticmoms.com/home/the-story-behind-the-prayer-at-valley-forge) and thought about your dad. He helped my husband, Doug Clark, with his book, "The Grand Design" and we had the nicest visit with him at his home in Idaho. Please say hello to him and his sweet wife for us. ~Mila Clark

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  12. Will do Mila. Nice post about George Washington. I enjoyed the Arnold Friberg videos.

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  13. Thank you, Rod! And thanks your for your comment at Patriotic Moms.

    A couple days ago I mentioned your Dad to the person who has the George Washington page on Facebook. He has over 52,000 followers and has a real love for President Washington. I mentioned your Dad is a great scholar of Washington, and he was hoping to get in touch with your Dad. Do you think that might be possible?

    Thanks for carrying on your Dad's legacy!

    Mila

    Sorry I don't know his name, but here is the link to the George Washington FB page:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/George-Washington/233415533418621?sk=timeline

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  14. Rod, would it be possible to get permission to share some of your Dad's writings on Patriotic Moms? I would give him credit and link back to your blog.

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    1. I thought I had replied. You absolutely have my permission.

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  15. I am trying to get a good table grape for my own use in Boise. What would it take to get a start?

    Doug Rich

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