He lived his earliest years with his parents, Michael and Jean, and his grandmother Anne in Belmont, moving when he was three to a home in Lexington that his father built. He grew up in Lexington and attended school there, visiting his beloved grandmother in Groton many weekends.
He graduated from high school in Lexington and attended UMass Boston, and received his degree in Political Science as a member of its first graduating class. He received his Master’s Degree in Sociology from Boston College and his Ph.D in Historical Sociology from Brandeis University in 1983.
In 1983, he married Marianne Morsilli. They lived in Arlington, then Watertown. When expecting their son, Brendan, they moved to his grandmother’s house in Groton, where he had visited as a child. They raised their son here and it was home for most of the rest of his life.
Ron taught at Merrimack College in North Andover for 25 years where he served as Chair of the Sociology Department. When he retired in 2005, he was named Professor Emeritus. Throughout his career Ron worked with Gene Sharp. His deeply-valued affiliation with Gene began at UMass Boston and continued throughout his academic life, including time at the Center For International Affairs at Harvard University and The Albert Einstein Institution. He was dedicated to writing and academic research and appreciated his Harvard appointment, as it enabled him to spend countless hours in Widener Library.
Ron served as Director of the Matsunaga Institute For Peace at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He first came to Hawaii through a conference sponsored by the Political Science Department of UH and the Buddhist Temple. Although his travel to England, Italy, and elsewhere had been much enjoyed, Hawaii was special to him and he returned multiple times with his family, calling it home for three years.
Throughout his life, Ron, an avid reader, appreciated music of all kinds and especially enjoyed hearing live music. He deeply loved nature and was at peace walking and cross-country skiing in the woods. He also spent many happy hours gardening.
Ron was not only talented and skilled at a great many things but was a good friend with a great sense of humor, an acute observer of the world around him, and heartily enjoyed good meals and good conversations with friends. And always, he was modest and unassuming.
He leaves the world early but having had a genuine impact on changing it for the better. He was a loving husband and father and cherished his family. He leaves his wife, Marianne and his son Brendan, of Groton; his mother, Jean McCarthy of Lexington; his brother and sister-in-law Steven and Paula McCarthy of Waltham; and his niece, Kristen McCarthy Walsh and her husband, Christopher, and son Ryan, also of Waltham. He also leaves an aunt and cousins in West Springfield, California, and many friends in Groton and Hawaii.
In lieu of flowers contributions in his memory may be made to the Albert Einstein Institution, P.O. Box 455, East Boston, MA, 02128 and Cooperative Elder Services, Inc., 8 West Main Street, Groton, MA, 01450. Visiting Hours will be held at the Badger Funeral Home, 45 School St. Groton, on Saturday Oct 29, from 12-1 p.m. with a graveside service at 1:30 p.m. in the Groton Cemetery, followed by a Memorial Service at the First Parish Church Unitarian, Powderhouse Road, Groton MA at 2:30 p.m. Please see www.badgerfuneral.com .