Longtime Bradford Era Sports Editor Ron Kloss was a local institution.
It was with profound sadness that I learned of Ron’s passing at the age of 73 on Christmas Day. With that sadness also came a sense of fortune, however. Fortune that I was lucky enough to be his friend, to learn from him and to watch how he went about his business.
My time at the Era started in July of 2010, not long after I graduated from Clarion University. During my five years in Bradford, I grew tremendously both personally and professionally, and Ron was a big part of that.
By the time I started at the Era, Ron had retired from his position as Sports Editor, a position he took over in the late 1960s, that was then handed over to longtime cohort, Joe Vinelli.
I use the word ‘retirement’ loosely with Ron.
He didn’t have to keep showing up. He could have sailed off into retirement with his lovely wife, Molly, and not given the newspaper a second thought. That wasn’t Ron, however.
It didn’t take me long to realize why Ron simply didn’t hang it up, why he chose to keep working on a part-time basis. He loved it. More than anything, he loved interacting and connecting with the young, local athletes he covered, and they loved him.
He helped me realize that this job wasn’t just about showing up, covering games, talking to coaches, taking phone calls and going home.
He taught me that relationships are everything in this business. That if you wanted to be good at it, you had to build that connection with the athletes and coaches you covered. And he did that better than anybody.
In those early days when I was still getting to know the coverage area, it would always amaze me on the occasions that Ron and I went somewhere together. He knew everybody, and that’s no exaggeration. He was well-liked and respected by everybody, too, and that’s because he always carried himself with kindness and class.
I saw an interaction Sunday on Twitter between former Era sports reporters Joel Whetzel and Anthony Sambrotto, and it describes Ron perfectly.
The beauty of Ron. Even if you knew him for an hour, it felt like 10 years.
— Anthony Sambrotto (@asambrotto95) December 27, 2021
This described Ron perfectly. He had a way with words, and it wasn’t just the written word. Some of the fondest memories at the Era were of Ron telling stories, and he had a lot of them. He could take the most mundane of situations and have you in tears by the end of it.
Again, that was Ron.
We spent a lot of time together in the office, particularly on late-night football Fridays in the fall. We laughed, I learned, and at the end of the night, we were always proud of the sports pages we put together.
The athletes and coaches of Bradford, the North Tier, and surrounding areas were lucky to have Ron. He is a legend, and legends don’t ever truly get replaced.
Thank you, Ron.