I’ll be honest, this has been a tough week.
Some of it is due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but even tougher has been the loss of a good friend and colleague.
On Monday morning, I got an email I wasn’t prepared for — Ronnie Ellis had passed away.
For those who don’t know Ronnie, he was CNHI Kentucky’s statehouse reporter. His stories and columns appeared in The Richmond Register and its sister papers across the state.
Ronnie officially retired in late 2018 as a full-time statehouse reporter and had been writing a weekly column since then.
From summer 2017 until his death, I was Ronnie’s main contact at CNHI Kentucky to distribute his stories and columns.
Through this time, we got to know each other well. Outside of my wife, I probably texted and spoke to Ronnie the most, especially when he was working full time. This also led to a few awkward moments.
I can’t lie. I told Ronnie on more than one occasion “I love you.” Those texts were for my wife, but it happened enough that Ronnie always had a great response ready telling me he doubted I meant to send him that.
However, in hindsight, maybe I did.
Ronnie had a knack for always being will to share his knowledge with others. He helped me countless times with stories and we often bounced ideas off each other.
From the outpouring on social media, I wasn’t alone in that.
Countless posts on Twitter and Facebook show he did this with many reporters — no matter if it was TV, radio or newspaper. He’d sit down with them and pass on the knowledge he’d gained over his countless years working in journalism.
He also truly cared about you. You weren’t just a colleague.
Many of the stories shared involved him wanting to pass on his thoughts during tough times. I know nearly every time we talked, especially in recent months, he’d ask me how my family was doing.
From his compassion to his ability to shine light on the truth in his stories, Ronnie was one of the good guys in this profession
I know he was loved by many and I know he’ll be missed by many.
Jonathan Greene is the editor of The Register; follow him on Twitter @jgreeneRR.