It was with great sadness I learned of the passing of Ron Singer, longtime industry advocate and owner of Ron Singer Truck Lines. He died of health complications Dec. 22 while – what else? – pre-loading his truck for the next day’s delivery.
Ron built a successful business in Calgary, Alta. managing a fleet of gravel trucks that served destinations across Western Canada. However, he was a proud trucker first and foremost and was always ready and willing to put in a full day behind the wheel.
Singer was as passionate about trucking as they come. He was involved in many industry associations over his career, including the Alberta Trucking Association and later the Alberta Motor Transport Association, the Alberta Construction Truckers Association, the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada and the North American Truckers Guild.
He wrote a column for Truck West for a time and felt the industry’s publications served an important purpose. He didn’t always agree with what appeared in the pages of this magazine and others and was always quick to pick up the phone to share an alternative view. But he was just as quick to call to commend the author on a job well done. On more than one occasion he asked me for one of our contributors’ phone numbers so he could personally call them and congratulate them on a well-written piece.
Ron was always eager to help young journalists entering the industry get up to speed on the important issues. I spent more than one day riding around with Ron in his beautiful Western Star to get an idea of what professional drivers face on a daily basis. I know my friend Jason Rhyno did the same when he was new to reporting on the industry.
I recall talking to Ron about an ill-informed, anti-truck story that appeared in a Calgary daily newspaper. We agreed that the writer would benefit from a day spent with Ron in his truck. To her credit, the author of that piece did join Ron on the road and she later acknowledged that experience helped change her views of professional truck drivers.
While Ron was a hard-working professional trucker, he still found time to pursue his other passion – big rig racing. He competed in and helped run the North American Big Rig Racing series, and fielded two trucks – one of which was driven by his son Ron Jr.
Family was important to Ron and he took great pride in his daughter Jennifer’s involvement in the business and various industry groups. He was married to wife Rosalinda for 33 years
The word ‘professional’ appears throughout this tribute because it’s the word that best sums up Ron’s life and career. Nothing bothered him more than seeing truck drivers behaving unprofessionally while out on the road. It worried him that those drivers would shape public perception of the industry he cared for so much. He took it personally. Even in recent years, with rates in the gravel sector seemingly under attack, Ron was not one to cut corners. His trucks were always meticulously maintained and he always took time to do the little things like brushing loose gravel from the cab steps and ensuring the tarp was properly closed.
The entire Truck News/Truck West staff sends our condolences to the Singer family.
Ron will be missed by the entire industry. Those wishing to pay tribute can attend the viewing Jan. 2, from 7-9 p.m.
Ron’s Celebration of Life will be held Saturday Jan. 3, at 2 p.m. at Mountain View Funeral Home, 1605 100 St SE, Calgary, Alta.
In the meantime, here is a two-part article Ron wrote about a day in the life of a professional construction truck owner/driver. It says a lot about the type of professional Ron was.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies