Loving husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, and environmental activist Ronald Francis Cascone of Hastings passed away last Friday, March 5, surrounded by his family, after a well-fought battle with esophageal cancer. He was 77.
Ron was a proud second-generation Italian-American. He grew up on a small family farm in a semi-rural corner of the Bronx, raised by his single mother Maria, grandmother Carmela, and uncles, and remained fluent in Italian. He attended Mount Saint Michael Academy and Manhattan College and pursued his master’s at Columbia University. For his expertise and knowledge, he was known to be a Ph.D. “all but dissertation.” An enthusiastic genealogist, he wrote a memoir to share his family’s history.
Ron was an accomplished author, speaker, and home chef. A chemical engineer by training, he was a principal in the Nexant energy consulting practice for more than 30 years. He was known around the world as one of the foremost authorities on green energy and the advanced bioeconomy. To colleagues, he was a “fountain of information and a wise voice in a sea of silliness.”
Ron volunteered on the Hastings Conservation Commission for nearly 20 years, for the Midnight Run in Dobbs Ferry, and The Sharing Community soup kitchen in Yonkers. Through his career, he had the opportunity to travel to 46 states and 24 countries. Ron loved to spend his time visiting the Hastings Farmers’ Market, taking his dogs to Draper Park, or foraging for local edible mushrooms. He helped lead a campaign to advocate for the revitalization of Reynolds Field. Always the political enthusiast and staunch Democrat, he volunteered for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa Caucus.
An avid reader, Ron donated his time annually to the Hudson Valley Writers Center by offering a private four-course meal via silent auction. Fittingly, one of his last meals enjoyed with his family was Risotto alla Milanese — cooked by his granddaughter Brielle and grandson James.
All of those who knew him consulted his knowledge in history, geography, science, and world culture, calling him “Ronapedia.” As was often said of him, “When you asked him what time it was, he would tell you how to build a clock.”
He is survived by his wife, Judith; daughters Kristina, Elena, and Gabriella; his brother Peter and nephews Alex and Max Cascone; sons-in-law Thomas and Geno; grandchildren Brielle and James; and his devoted rescue dog Lulu.
A memorial will be held in his honor in the coming months. If you would like to honor Ron’s legacy in the interim consider a contribution in his name to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Midnight Run in Dobbs Ferry, or the ASPCA.