My oldest brother Ronald Joseph Landry was born in Plattsburgh, New York on November 21, 1946. He spent his early years as a nomad with his parent Roger and Rita Landry in a small travel trailer following the work along with two of our uncles Fernand (Danny) and Gerald (Gerry) and their respective wives, Noela and Barbara who were also sisters. Finally, our father found a steady job working for the American Can Company which had a warehouse in Fairport, New York. They sold there trailer in order to buy a lot in a town close by where they built their home. In the meanwhile, they lived in a small studio apartment over a small store. They were a happy but hard working family. I have seen family albums and it appeared that though they lived a simple life, young Ronald wanted for little. Eventually they moved into their new house in 1949 where Ronald was soon to have a new bouncing baby sister. Like clockwork, three years later Robert was born.
A little fun side note that shows that people are only human even our parents. Many of the reasons that they are so strict and set certain rules is because they are trying to save us from the mistakes that they made. In this case, I now know why my father wanted to marry my mother so early. She was three months pregnant when they got married. That also explains why they did not have a bigger wedding. I could never understand why their wedding was so small until now, especially when all of my mother’s sisters had big weddings. I know because there are photos of them. Economics just didn’t explain it completely. I want you to know that I am in no way criticizing my parents for having a little premarital fun. If anything it makes my feelings for them that much stronger.
After perusing through my family albums, it is apparent that my three older siblings were quite close and seemed to have enjoyed a loving and caring familial environment. East Rochester was a small close knit community, ideal for raising a young family. I already discussed the house and why it was so conducive to maintaining close childhood friendships. So, I won’t discuss that again in this or my other chapters. Suffice it to say that my parents loved having their children bringing over their friends. My mother was ever at her happiest when she was cooking and baking for family or company. She was just a natural entertainer. I can only conclude that she learned this from her grandmother, who she spent her summers with helping her at her store. Each sibling was encouraged to bring their friends over to the house. Social interactions were an important part of the Landry family, at least until I was born. More of which I will discuss in my chapter.
Ronald learned all of his social skills at an early age, and they served him well in all of his future endeavors. He became a competent and capable young man. He was a solid A-B student who developed a passion for electronics and playing billiards. As a matter of fact, he got so good at playing pool, he even toyed around with the idea of going professional. He did however, step over the bounds a little when our father found him playing pool for money. He had learned how to hustle when he played at the pool halls. My father promptly put that matter to rest. My father was fair but firm. You never questioned him when he corrected you. He definitely knew how to apply the strap to your behinds, that is for sure. I also want to note here that he was not an abusive father, you could tell that it hurt him just as much as it hurt you when he disciplined you.
Ronald went to the same elementary school I went to, East Rochester Elementary School and he followed that up with going to the Junior High School and the High School in the same town. One event in particular had a lasting effect on my oldest brother and that was the death in 1961 of our mother’s mother, Grandma Cecile. After she passed away, “Gramps” no longer had the heart to continue running the farm, and besides his son Herman Jr. was the only remaining child left there. Junior was an indifferent farmer at best, his aspirations lay in a total different area. Junior was two years older than Ronald and soon became his protege. After selling the farm, Gramps after trying to continue raising his son on his own realized that he was poorly equipped for the task. He, thereafter moved in with his oldest daughter, our mother. Frankly, my mother had no choice because she had promised her mother that she would take care of Gramps and Junior. Ronald was 15 and Junior was 17. Junior having been raised on a farm wanted to enjoy life and subsequently raised quite a bit of hell. He definitely was not a good role model for my oldest brother. Despite his hell cat ways Ronald adored him, and tried to emulate him in his endeavors, right down to trying to build his own apartments later in his life. Junior was an exceptional student and he got a full scholarship to Syracuse University which was a very prestigious university in the north east. He lived on campus and soon ran through all of Gramp’s money from the farm sale. He ended up getting a girl pregnant and dropping out of school. He eventually completed an associate’s degree in electronics.
Ronald following in Junior’s footsteps also pursued an associates degree in electronics. After Ronald graduated from college, he married Ann Marie Leonard in 1967. They lived in our apartment on top of our garage for a short while until they could raise enough money to buy a house in Rochester. They were to have two children while living in Rochester, NY, Ricky who was born on 1967 and Rodney who was born on 1976. He soon got a job working at Kodak which had a major branch in that city and provided thousands of jobs for its residents. He soon got a more lucrative job working at Syborn, a division of Taylor Instruments. Eventually he was offered a job in Texas working for Shintech, a subsidiary of Taylor Instruments. Ronald exceled at Shintech and became a mainframe computer trouble shooter. He even went down to South America and set up a whole computer system at one of the largest copper mines in the world located in Argentina.
Unfortunately, the life style of living on an expense account caught up to him and he suffered a major cardiac event in 1982 that forced him to go on disability. Regena and Robert flew over to Katie, Texas and helped take care of the sale of his house and moving his family to Florida where the whole Landry Family were currently residing. The event occurred at Crystal River during a road trip to Florida to visit the family. Luckily for my brother, Florida was at the forefront in the new surgical technique of bypass surgery. The doctors in Crystal River recommended that he have the surgery at Tampa General after he recovered from his heart attack. He ended up having one of the first quadruple bypass operations in the country.
Ronald had a full recovery from the operation. Unfortunately for him, the disability check was not enough to support his family and after he was forced to pick up work to supplement his monthly payments, Shintech found out that he was working and cancelled his support checks.
Having always wanted to own a delicatessen, he took his settlement money and opened up one near his house. While he sold a lot of product and had a thriving lunch business, the overhead killed him and he was not able to make ends meet. So after a year of this, he turned his attention to wholesale produce deliveries. He had quite the thriving business after awhile with two trucks and a small warehouse for storing bulk orders. However, his dream of having a family business with his sons working for him did not come to fruition, when both sons showed no interest in following in his footsteps. The work was also taking its toll on him. So he finally closed up his business. His next career choice proved to be his most lucrative one yet. He went into the real estate business. After a few years of hard work and diligence and the attainment of a brokers license, he started making good money and he was finally able to buy a new house. He had two real estate agents under his broker’s umbrella, a secretary and an assistant.
Unfortunately, the stress of the business and paying the overhead, he started drinking and suffered two DUI’s and subsequently lost his license. He already had divorced his wife in search of a “better” life.
He, after some major soul searching finally came to the right conclusion and realized that he was better off with the life he had previously known. Lucky for him, his ever suffering wife took him back and they were re-married. However, his business never returned to its previous levels. He was forced to sell his house and in effort to cut costs, bought a piece of land and put a modular home on it. He continued to make improvements to his property until in waiting in a surgical queue for an aortic aneurysm repair. He died peacefully in his sleep laying beside his loving wife on May 22, 2005. His wife Anne Marie lives with her oldest son Ricky in her own casita.
Ricky married Diane Cooper and subsequently had four sons. Ricky (AKA Tim) is a retired undercover detective and lives in Florida. Two of his sons are married and one has a child. Rodney (AKA Tom) married Kathleen Copenhaver and has two young daughters. Rodney and Kathleen are divorced and the girls live with Kathleen.
Ronald Landry Family Tree