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Saying good-bye to a true friend, Ronnie Limas
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The year was 1972, and we had just moved to a new neighborhood, which means new friends.  When you look back at your childhood you tend to remember your fondest memories, but the first year with those new friends were tough.

I remember going to school and walking a different way so I wouldn’t get beat up.  Now, back then, Manteca was a small town and I had just happened to move into the toughest part of town, “Southside,” and I was the only white boy in the neighborhood at that time,  so I guess this was part of being accepted.  

Now this isn’t a feel-sorry-for-me letter because most of those boys are still my friends to this day.  But after I started hanging out with Ronnie the other boys accepted me as well.  

I look back and it seems like one of those movies, like “The Sandlot” or “Stand by Me.” We hung out all day, we even had that little store on the corner (Al’s Market) where we would collect bottles and turn them in for a soda, candy or the end cut of the lunch meats.  This was before video games, so we would play outside until dark, sometimes longer.  During the summer we would play baseball from sun-up to sun down only taking a few breaks to run to Al’s for a soda or two.  

We all went to Sequoia School and then on to Manteca High School, where we each did different things but still remained friends.  I miss those days when all of us from the neighborhood were together.

Well, Easter Day I get a call from my friend Ronnie’s daughter telling me he is sick and just wanted me to know.  Like always, I drop everything to go to my friend’s side. The news is not good. He tells me he has cancer in one kidney and part of his liver.

On April 21 at UCSF they take the one kidney, but the liver had too much cancer so they left it and were going to start chemo.   That would never happen. Ronnie had a massive heart attack and it took 23 minutes to bring him back but he was unable to regain his strength.  His other kidney started to fail and then his liver gave out also.  

He was fading fast.  I knew I had only a short time to see him before he passed.  His family called me as I was parking my car telling me to hurry, that he was waiting for me.  Like always Ronnie was thinking of me just like when we were kids.  I can just hear my friend saying, “if I don’t hang in long enough for Steve to get here to say goodbye he will be a sobbing fool for not making it on time.”  And he was right, I needed to be there when he left this world because he was always there for me.  

My friend Ronnie passed away on May 11th at 1:58 p.m. with his family and friends by his side about 20 minutes after I got there.  Thanks, Ronnie, for being such a good friend!  

I’m writing this also because Ronnie Limas was only 46 years old.  This all happened so fast from the time they found out about the cancer until his passing.  The family is struggling with the grief and burden of the burial cost.  A bank account has been set up to help with the cost, Chase Bank, in Manteca, Account Number 889063509 in the name of his daughter Patricia Lopez.  
Steve Robbins
May 13, 2010