Obituary: Ronald Shafran, 77 ‘Goodnight to our forever Champ’

Photo provided by the Shafran family

My dad actually died twice.

Before passing away this week, the first time was nine years ago when, on the eve of Father’s Day at a Yankees game, he went into cardiac arrest and had to be shocked back to life. But even the initial revival wasn’t enough, and for a while, it didn’t look like he was going to make it until when, in one of his few moments of consciousness, he was told that he was going to be a grandfather for the first time. More than any medical treatment that brought him back to life.

In the years since, he went from being the best dad and loving husband to the proudest Pop Pop to two beautiful boys, Mason and Teddy, his pride and joy.

Ron Shafran enjoyed many successes throughout his life. In act one he was a teacher, an author and a deputy commissioner under Mayor Ed Koch. He met his “Beauty” (his loving nickname for Phyllis, my mom and his wife of over 50 years). From their days as teachers at Adlai Stevenson High School, where they stole the show and each other’s hearts performing in Guys and Dolls, to the countless political campaigns they worked on, to raising me, their son, I never saw a love as deep as the one my dad held for me and my mom. In act two, he became an award-winning advertising executive and then a government relations consultant. I vividly remember the magical days when I’d be off from school and he’d take me into his office in downtown Manhattan. Watching him work was like having a front-row seat to see Don Mattingly in his prime (from our beloved Yankees), poetry in motion, pride in what he did and daily perfection as the goal he would preach.

For me he was at every baseball game I ever played from little league through college and beyond. My first, best and most treasured coach, taking me for extra practice every day and sharing a snack after. I may not have understood the concept of heaven then but looking back now that was it for me and him.

He was the most kind, supportive and loyal person I’ve ever known. My best friend and hero from my first day to today. He called me “Champ” because in his eyes, heart and loving actions, that’s what I was to him and he to me.

But after his “first death” he wasn’t done yet. For as amazing a father and husband as he was, there are no words to adequately describe him as a grandfather to our two boys. The love was deep and endless. His care and concern had no bounds. Again, as with me, he never missed a baseball game for Mason, never missed an opportunity to play with Teddy. Even on a day that he saw them, before going to bed at night and every morning after, he’d call me to ask me how they were doing because he just couldn’t not put them at the center of his universe.

But that’s who he was. For a son and his grandsons, for his wife, he was the Sun that provided the light and love we cherished every day.

I’ve probably said too much, but it’ll never be enough to truly honor who Ronald Shafran was and will always be.

Good night to our forever Champ. I’ll speak with you in the morning.

Services will be held on Friday, April 26, at 11:30 a.m. at Schwartz Brothers-Jeffer Memorial Chapels (114-03 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills).