Ronald William Drathman, a longtime Homer resident, died on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, of natural causes at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer. A memorial service was held Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at the Homer Elks Lodge. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, you make a charitable donation to Little League of Homer or another project close to your heart.
Ron was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug. 13, 1942, to Raymond and Mary (Mienke) Drathman. At age 13, he moved with his family to Phoenix, Ariz. Always a bit of a rebel, Ron dropped out of high school at 17 and joined the Navy. He served aboard the USS Intrepid, where he had many adventures while plying the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. After being honorably discharged, Ron enrolled at Arizona State University and spent the next six years alternately taking classes and working in Alaska, which had captured his imagination. Among various jobs, he flew for Merrill Flight Service in Anchorage and worked on the Alaska Railroad. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Ron attended Stetson University College of Law, obtaining his jurist doctorate in 1973.
In 1966, Ron married Leslie Coppins and in 1971 their son, Zachary, was born. In 1973, Ron returned to the Last Frontier and began working as an Alaska State Public Defender in Anchorage. He would go on to establish a thriving practice in partnership with Phillip Weidner and other notable attorneys, with several offices in southcentral Alaska. In 1982, Ron married Susan Bashaw. In 1984 Ron moved his family, which now included his daughter Alexandra, to the small town of Homer, which would forever hold a special place in Ron’s heart. Two and a half years later they celebrated the arrival of their boy, Max, making their family complete.
Ron was an ardent fan of his children’s sporting endeavors, including football, volleyball, hockey, soccer and Little League. Attending nearly every game, he also coached and managed Alex’s Little League team from 1990 to 1999, and was a four- term president of Little League during those years, organizing many events.
In addition to practicing law, Ron served in local government and sat on a number of boards and commissions throughout his years in Homer. He served consecutive, three-year terms on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly from 1993 until 1999, with two years as Board President. He was an active member of the Alaska Municipal League from 1993 until 2002, serving on and chairing many committees. In recognition for his service, Ron was awarded a lifetime membership in the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Kenai Aerie 3525.
In 1999, he became the city Manager of Homer, a job he found both challenging and rewarding. Two of his major accomplishments included locating substantial funding for upgrading the port and harbor, seeing those projects to completion, and drafting and spearheading the city’s annexation project.
“Service was of utmost importance to Ron. From his time in the Navy to his tenure as Homer City Manager, Ron endeavored to be a positive influence in the community in which he lived. He successfully imparted those values to his children, who are each employed in public service to their communities,” his family said.
Ron is survived by Susan Drathman; his son and daughter-in-law, Zachary and Kelly Drathman; his son, Max Drathman; his daughter and son-in-law, Alex and George McGuan; his grandsons Leif, Parker and Quinn Drathman; his brother and sister-in-law, David and Beth Drathman; his sister and brother-in law, Kathy and Chris Knoth; many nieces, great nieces and nephews, and his dear friend, Tim Navarre, who has been a steadfast and tremendous support to the family during Ron’s lengthy illness.
“We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to Sandra Wallace and Michelle Arno who provided Ron with dedicated and loving care,” his family said.