Cover photo for Martin Thomas Ronan's Obituary
Martin Thomas Ronan Profile Photo

Martin Thomas Ronan

Martin Thomas Ronan died on July 30, 2020, three days after his 81st birthday due to complications of Parkinson’s disease and multiple serious infections. Martin (Marty) was born in Chicago on July 27, 1939, the fourth child of Margaret and James Ronan. He attended St. Philip Neri grade school and St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1961.

When President John Kennedy started the Peace Corps in 1961, Marty enthusiastically joined the first group, and he served two years in Chile. Marty earned a Masters Degree in Communications at Syracuse University, and then began his 28-year career with the United States Information Agency, where he promoted U.S. interests through public diplomacy in the press, radio, and television. His first overseas assignment was to Caracas, Venezuela where, as luck would have it, he met and married his wife, Clemencia, in 1979. In subsequent years together, they completed assignments in Guatemala and in India before returning to the U.S. After retirement, Marty continued his audiovisual work on smaller government contracts in Moldova, Puerto Rico, and in various American cities.

Marty fought a quiet and courageous battle against Parkinson’s disease for about 10 years but kept the cheerful, positive attitude and the ready smile and wit that endeared him to so many. He was proud of his Irish heritage and loved his family and friends, and maintained interest in their lives and those of his many nieces and nephews. He believed in the goodness of our country and was very proud to have served in our Federal Government to promote our mission to others abroad.

When Marty entered the Peace Corps in summer of 1961, his orientation and training took place at Notre Dame. Father Theodore Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame, was a strong supporter of the Peace Corps and helped the fledgling program get off to a good start. He took a personal interest in all the volunteers and maintained a bond with them long afterwards. Marty’s ties with his Peace Corps colleagues and with Notre Dame lasted a lifetime and were renewed with periodic fun-filled reunions.

His parents preceded him in death, as did his sister, Margaret Healy, his brother John, and his nephews John D. Ronan and James Ronan IV. He is survived by his loving wife, Clemencia, with whom he shared 40 happy years, and also by his brother James (Lucy), sister-in-law Martha Sud (Krishen), Amalia Kerr (Gary), and brother-in-law, Manuel Santaella (Karen). His nieces and nephews were important people in his life, and they shared mutual concern and love for each other. They are: Thomas Healy, Sivan and Vikram Sud, Mary Ronan Hills, Catherine Ronan Karrels, Grace Ronan, Susan Lynch, Patricia Corey, Steven, Michael, and James Healy, and Timothy, Christopher, Kevin, and Terry Ronan, Haakon, Karsten, and Thoren Santaella, and Kristian Kerr.

Because of the Covid 19 restrictions on size of crowds, a funeral service will be limited to family. Burial will be in the family plot in Chicago at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Sibley Memorial Hospital Foundation, 5255 Loughboro Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016. Phone: (202) 537‐4257. Please make checks payable to: Sibley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Martin Thomas Ronan, please visit our flower store.


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