(WBNG) — A local man who was active in the Johnson City and Broome County communities has passed away.
Ron Heebner passed away Monday at the age of 79, according to Broome County Legislature Chairman Daniel J. Reynolds.
Heebner had served the residents of Johnson City on the legislature for five years across two terms.
“I don’t know if you can ever find a better legislator than Ron Heebner was, and a better person than Ron Heebner was,” explained Reynolds who was friends with him for 25 years. “Ron had a profound impact on everybody’s life.”
The long-time Johnson City resident was known for his constant projects to make the community better. Reynolds said, “I don’t think he ever stopped.”
Heebner was known for maintaining the traffic circle in Johnson City with his wife Patti. He initiated the Johnson City Rotary Club to put American flags in the soil there on Flag Day. He also gave out dictionaries to Johnson City third graders through a dictionary program.
“Ron was a great guy, he had a big heart,” said Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie. “Meant a lot to a lot of people.”
Tuesday’s Johnson City village board meeting, which Heebner often attended, began with Mayor Deemie, and many others reflecting on Heebner’s life. One by one those in attendance raised a hand to publicly comment about Ron’s legacy.
Those at the meeting spoke out about his commitment to the community and his ability to listen to both sides of a potential issue to only make the situation better.
“[He] took the time to listen to everybody wanted to understand specifically what everyone was thinking,” said Reynolds.”
Chairman Reynolds said due to Heebner’s constant work in Johnson City, and the street he lived on, he become known as “Riverside Ron,” or “JC Ron.”
Reynolds remembers Heebner saying that he look forward going door to door speaking with residents. Those who were closed to Heebner said most of his work was done behind the scenes, as he never wanted the spotlight.
He had been formally recognized for his years of service before the Broome County Legislature meeting on Jan. 24 and was presented with a plaque.
Heebner was also an active member of the Johnson City Rotary Club, serving many positions including president, according to current Rotary President Rocky Martinez.
“He would be the first one to tell you to don’t cry over me remember me for the things I did,” explained Martinez.
Martinez, who is currently president of the club, said Heebner got him to join the Johnson City Rotary Club. Heebner was a former president of the club himself.
A sign at the traffic circle is dedicated to the Heebner’s for their work there, but Martinez said the club is exploring more ways to honor its former leader.
PHOTO COURTESY: Broome County Legislature