Rosenbaum, Ronald Scott

Rosenbaum, Ronald Scott

May 27, 1948 – May 29, 2016
Age 68 of St. Paul. An educator, attorney, media personality, public affairs analyst, loyal friend, loving father and partner and tireless adventurer, Ron passed away peacefully on May 29 at the age of 68. The middle child of Ilene and the late Sam Rosenbaum, he graduated from the University of Minnesota magna cum laude with a degree in history. Ron left home to travel the country, hitchhiking much of the time, and was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. His arrest at a Washington, D.C., protest led to a somewhat surprising and unusual invitation to enroll in Catholic University law school. But that study couldn’t hold his attention, and he turned to education to launch his professional career. After teaching kids others had given up on and earning an M.A. at Brown University, Ron returned to his hometown of St. Paul, Minn. to work at Central High School in a program for teens deemed at-risk by the courts. His talent in this field soon led to a new adventure. Ron spearheaded behind-the-scenes efforts to bring a team of St. Paul educators to South Boston Public High School during the early struggles to desegregate the embattled school, becoming the assistant headmaster. His creation of in-school suspension and extensive work-study programs played a significant role in easing tensions at “Southie.” Ron and a colleague in the Massachusetts Department of Education wrote, produced and directed an Emmy-nominated documentary on special-needs individuals who would lose state services upon turning 21. That led to his developing and co-hosting a Boston TV talk show, “Forum 38.” The program didn’t last, but Ron’s passion for the media would continue to be an important part of his work for the rest of this life. He subsequently wrote features for the Boston Globe’s Sunday magazine and completed a law degree at Northeastern University. Ron returned to the Twin Cities to practice law, using his media savvy to further his clients’ interests. In 1998, he began another adventure as he debuted “Holding Court” on WCCO-AM with his fellow “yelling lawyers.” The show lasted for the rest of his life, also appearing on KSTP-AM, the Clear Channel network and finally as an hour-long weekly podcast. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Ron and co-hosts Mark O’Connell and Dan Conry offered a daily dissection of the events, reaction and causes of these attacks. These months on KSTP-AM delivered some of the Ron’s proudest radio moments, as he was able to use his media skills, legal background and notoriety to enrich the public discussion of this unique and horrific event. In his final reinvention, Ron became an agent/lawyer to top Twin Cities media talent – work he considered “money for nothing” because he enjoyed it and the people it brought into his life. He provided commentary on legal and political issues on KFAN for his friend and client Dan Barreiro, and in 2015 he and Dan introduced “Enough Said,” a weekly current events show on Fox 9 Twin Cities. He would also find time to work with friends like fellow lawyer Joe Friedberg on cases that appealed to his media instincts and sense of justice. Outside of these careers, the spirit of adventure that guided his biggest decisions in life also captured his free time. He traveled to all six habitable continents, having no use for the bitter cold of Antarctica. He loved short trips to Canterbury Park, longer trips to Las Vegas with his mother and extended trips to Asia to visit his son. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma early this spring, Ron wryly teased “people get a lot nicer to you when they think you’re going to die soon.” In truth, Ron was never far from his friends, enjoying phone calls or casual meals with them while telling stories or debating the large and small issues that captured attention. Ron was attracted to the limelight, but he enjoyed knowing and learning from those at the center of the action as much as the attention it brought. Unfortunately, he was not present to read his latest and best press, or to hear a moment of “raucous applause” in his honor Thursday night at Northrop Auditorium when renowned criminal defense lawyer Dean Strang dedicated the evening’s “Conversation on Justice” to Ron’s memory. He was dearly loved and will be missed by his son, Nicholas; his wife, Lucy Quinlivan; his mother, Ilene Rosenbaum; brother and sister-in-law, Judges James and Marilyn Rosenbaum; sister and brother-in-law, Deborah and Alan Sitkoff; his five nieces and their 11 children; and numerous family members and friends. A memorial service will be Friday, June 10, 2016, at 317 on the Park, 317 Washington Ave., St. Paul. Visitation will be from 12:30-2:00, with program and reception to follow. Memorials preferred to Our Lady of Peace Community Hospice, 2076 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul 55104. (Published in Pioneer Press on June 5, 2016)