Ron Sarasin Obituary, U.S. Capitol Historical Society Mourns Ron Sarasin – Death Cause
Ron Sarasin Obituary, Death – The United States Capitol Historical Society is saddened by the demise of Ronald A. Sarasin, who led the organization as its third President and Chief Executive Officer from the years 2000-2018. Ron served his country in several capacities throughout his life, including as a sailor during the Korean War, as a representative for Connecticut in the United States House of Representatives, and as an advocate for causes in which he strongly believed.
During Ron’s time as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society, the organization experienced significant expansion both in terms of its size and its scope, which is a testament to Ron’s leadership. He was the one who guided the organization through the hazard of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when the Society was still operating a gift shop kiosk in the Capitol Crypt, and the subsequent closures of the Capitol as a result of those closures.
In a similar manner, Ron assisted the Society in navigating the stormy waters surrounding the establishment of the Capitol Visitor Center and arriving at the safe harbor of a relationship with the newly formed organization. In addition, Ronald A. Sarasin oversaw the creation and deployment of a number of significant traveling exhibitions, such as Where Freedom Speaks: 200 Years of the United States Capitol in the year 2000, an exhibit held in 2005 to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Capitol artist Constantino Brumidi, and Helping Shape America: German Americans in the United States Congress from 1789 to Present in the year 2011.
For the exhibit From Freedom’s Shadow: African Americans and the United States Capitol, which was held in 2006, Dr. Felicia Bell conducted ground-breaking research to document the role of enslaved labor in building the Temple of Democracy. She also told the story of African American representation all the way up to the present day in the United States Capitol. This exhibit is perhaps the most notable of all of the ones that have been held there.
Under Ron’s direction, the Society embarked on the most comprehensive civics education program it has ever undertaken. More than 20,000 middle school students from District of Columbia public and public charter schools have participated in the We the People Constitution Tour since the 2005-2006 academic year. These students have traveled throughout their city to visit locations that are significant to the Constitution. The students are greeted by professionals and teachers at each location so that they may learn about the history of the locations they are visiting and the part that these teenagers and young adults can play in our Great Experiment.
After beginning as a collaborative effort between the White House Historical Association, the National Park Service, the Federal Courts, and a number of private partners, the consortium has since expanded to include the active participation of the Supreme Court Historical Society as well as the National Archives. Ron displayed the characteristic humility and appreciation for his historic role when he accepted the National Humanities Medal on behalf of the Society in 2004. He said, “The professional staff of the United States Capitol Historical Society is very grateful for this recognition of our efforts to continue the mission of our founder, Congressman Fred Schwengel of Iowa, to help the public ‘catch something of the fire that burned in the hearts of those who walked and talked in these halls.'” Congressman Fred Schwengel was a congressman from Iowa. Thank you very much for keeping the fire going, Ron. We are keeping his widow, Leslie, as well as his kids, Michael and Douglas, in our thoughts and prayers.