We in the PIA family have had a few months to come to terms with the loss of a great leader. “Mr. PIA,” Ron Von Haden passed away on March 5th, 2020.
In a fitting tribute to Ron, the 1752 Club of Wisconsin has named him PIA of Wisconsin’s Agent of the Year for 2020. It is the first time that this honor has been awarded posthumously. It is also the first time that anyone has been awarded this honor for a second time. It is an extraordinary measure in honor of an extraordinary man.
For good measure, the 1752 Club of Wisconsin and the PIAW Executive Board have also voted to change the name of this award, in memory of Ron. Going forward, the award will be called the Ron Von Haden Agent of the Year Award.
Aside from being a leader and a transformative figure in the PIA, Ron was a good man. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and citizen. Ron was a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and he served his neighbors on the Boscobel EMS for 17 years. He loved baseball and loved watching his son and his grandsons play the game.
Ron attended his first PIA meeting in 1975. On the day Ron died, he had been serving PIA continuously for 45 years. Here’s a short history:
Ron was elected to the PIA of Wisconsin Board of Directors in 1977. He was elected President in 1979 and named Agent of the Year in 1982. Ron served eight years on the National PIA Board and was hired as Executive Vice President of PIA of Wisconsin in 1994. Ron served Wisconsin agents in that capacity for 25 years. For one of those years (from 2012-2013), Ron also served as PIA National Executive Vice President, splitting his time between Virginia and Wisconsin. After his well-deserved retirement, in 2019, Ron continued to serve as a consultant to both PIA National and PIA of Wisconsin.
In 2019, as he presented a proclamation to Ron, PIA National President Keith Savino said this about him:
It’s said that everybody can be replaced. But that’s not entirely true. Occasionally, there’s somebody who has played such a critical role in the long history of an organization—and done it so effectively—that there will never be another like them. They’re the few—the truly irreplaceable.
Ron Von Haden had a tremendous impact on the PIA of Wisconsin and his vision transformed the organization into the prosperous and effective association it is today. So many people served PIA under Ron’s guidance and benefited from his mentorship. His passion for PIA, its members and its mission, will be greatly missed. Ron truly earned and deserved the nickname, “Mr. PIA.” There will never be another like him.