Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
One of those rare people of achievement who are not only respected, but loved, is how longtime friend Dennis Lalor remembered the late Ronald 'Ron' Sasso during a service of thanksgiving at the UWI Chapel on Monday.
"Ronnie was quietly spoken, sometimes blunt, and would suffer fools, but not gladly. There was an inner steel within him which allowed him to cope with disasters seemingly without much effort. And although he may have appeared austere, he was in reality a warm man whose conversation was enlightened by a string of anecdotes," the senior insurance executive recalled.
Describing Sasso as dapper and proud, Lalor said it was as a wise counsellor and person of deep and generous humanity that he would be remembered, citing his extraordinary ability to find out all that was best in the people he met.
Lalor said, "His spontaneous humor, which concealed a deeply serious mind, made him popular with those who were privileged to be in his company, especially as his wit was not unkind and never at the expense of others."
Sasso spent all his commercial life in banking, a career which started at the Royal Bank of Canada's Kingston branch, where his technical skills and efficient, low-key management style saw him appointed country head of the bank's Jamaica operation, and he ultimately became known as the banker of the period.
Sasso's son, Harvey, remembered his dad's fighting spirit. Whether it was for a person or institution, he was always championing a cause, with a sense of commitment that was unmatched. The younger Sasso also recalled his father's all-encompassing love, which extended far beyond the circle of family and friends.
Though renowned for his banking skills, Sasso also took a keen interest in the political happenings of the 1970s, and through frequent speeches, sought to challenge the landscape that was being created. A forceful speaker, he was widely recognised for the part he played in raising the consciousness of the PSOJ and for the courage and resourcefulness he displayed, earning the admiration and envy of his peers.
Following his passing, one writer in a Letter to the Editor, recalled Sasso this way:
"As president of the Jamaica Bankers' Association, he was the go-to man for visiting journalists looking for an assessment of the Jamaican economy. He was mostly critical.
"Given the ideological cleavages of the time, Mr Sasso was, obviously, controversial. But even from this distance, there is little doubt that his views were honestly held, from the standpoint of economics, and largely right. And he was courageous enough to express them."
Sasso, who died at age 86 after a short illness, is survived by widow, Barbara; son Harvey; daughter Janet, and their spouses.