Author, Actor, Playwright, Excellent Parallel Parker


Rules of the Lake and Ashes to Water are now available for Kindle and Nook!



Monday, December 1, 2014

Ashes to Water


My DAD died. 

Six weeks prior, I was performing in a play in Idaho when I called home, and was told he went into the hospital for pneumonia. I called him and he said he'd be fine. My mother said he'd be fine. My sister, in confidence, said he wouldn't be fine. Dad's medical team had discovered a large mass in his lungs, and he didn't want me to know because I was having too much fun in Idaho.

I went to DeLand, FL, the place I still call "home." He and mom had decided together that he would refuse treatment.  A hospice team made him comfortable in his bedroom, and he went about the difficult business of shuffling off this mortal coil.

It wasn't pretty. Because the cancer was so advanced, his decline was rapid, the only thing for which I'm grateful. I still wake at night with visions of his eyes, marbled before passing; his gaunt frame, his disappointment each time he woke, welcoming and believing the end would come even sooner.

Right up to the end he remained conscious, lucid, irreverent, and Dad. I told him he had done everything right, that the only thing I ever lacked was a pony. He said, "Get my checkbook."

Two months after he died, the extended Ziegler family assembled at the lake where I learned to swim, and watched my mom scatter his ashes over the water. It was a profound yet austere moment--primal, iconic, and searing. Mom felt badly that some of the ashes landed on the lily pads. She felt it was undignified, somehow.

I loved it.

Here's my dad's obit. He gave me the first line. It's a good first line. 

Bye, Dad. Catch you on the flip side where I'm sure there will be a pony waiting.

Ronald Edward Ziegler of DeLand earned his second pair of wings on August 4, 2014. He died at home, surrounded by loved ones. He was 85.

After attending the University of Connecticut, Ron served in the Air Force from 1950 to 1961, and earned a set of wings during the 
Korean War. While at Travis Air Force Base, he met Adeline Simonis, a nursing supervisor, as she read a book on beachcombing, an interest he shared. They married in 1952. Ron and Del moved to Florida in 1956. They built a home on Lake Byron in DeLand, and raised four girls. In addition to his military service, Ron was most proud of his work as a private investigator; he successfully tracked down missing children during the 1970's. He also worked for many years as an insurance adjustor for Retail Credit Company.

Ron lead a full and active life. He was a regular at the DeLand YMCA, and an avid carpenter, gardener, mechanic, craftsman, treasure hunter, and outdoorsman. He solved The New York Times crossword puzzle daily. He was fond of scattering pennies on playgrounds, then watching as children discovered them.

Ron is survived by his wife of 61 years, Adeline Simonis Ziegler, and four daughters: Karen Ziegler of Winter Springs; Irene Ziegler of Richmond, VA; June Ziegler White (and spouse Paul White) of Galveston, TX; and Patte Ziegler Campbell of DeLand. He has two brothers, Wayne Ziegler of Port Orange, and Melvin Ziegler, Jr., deceased. He has three grandchildren, Tracy White Price (and spouse Jason Price), Christopher White, and Addison Ziegler Martz; and one great-grandchild Jacey Price.

He was a hero to his family, and loved them well. 

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