My dear sweet cousin Ron committed suicide last week.

He was so smart & so kind and I find it so hard to believe he has done this saddest of all possible acts.

We have been friends since he was a baby.   The arts, theatre, literature & the pursuit of knowledge were his trademarks.

Directing and acting were his passion from high school on.  Not even my wife could beat him in trivial pursuit (& she is a formidable opponent).

His love for people and learning were written all over him.  What killed him I may never know.

I do know that alcohol, depression, feelings of hopelessness, and the side effects of psychotropic medicines are often contributing factors to suicide.

Not talking to others about our personal lives and problems can make a person feel alone and helpless.  As a society, we don’t like mental health conversations, as individuals we often avoid “too personal” comments.  This is a stain on our community.  We are complex beings that need others to help us cope during the hard times.

I have written about the suicidal behavior of the children in my child protection cases over the years & just when I think I understand this thing, it becomes evident that I don’t.

Ron is my fourth suicide this year, of which two of them were much loved friends.  I will miss you Ron and I wish I could have saved you.

Be kind to the people around you.  Don’t judge, it is impossible to know what others are living through.  


Ronald Allen Mahla

Posted: Thursday, Jun 21st, 2012

Ronald Mahla

Ronald Allen Mahla, 54, of Seal Rock, Ore., died May 31, 2012.

He was born Dec. 17, 1957 to Lloyd and Regina Mahla in Fargo, N.D., where he began his lifelong love of theater and music. He received his bachelor’s degree in technical theater after study at both Northwestern University and Minnesota State University.

Ron moved to the Newport area in 2002 and was involved in many theater performances with both Porthole Players and Red Octopus, playing lead roles such as Daddy Warbucks (“Annie”), Alfred P. Dolittle (“My Fair Lady”) and Matthew Brady (“Inherit the Wind”), as well as graciously accepting supporting roles. His most recent performance was as Herod in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He also worked as a lighthouse keeper and a park ranger, sang with the Central Coast Chorale, and was an avid trivia buff. His trivia teams, The Super Naturals and The Usual Suspects, won many contests. Before arriving in Lincoln County, he lived for about 20 years in Las Vegas, working in elite casino settings including the Mirage and the Bellagio. He will be missed by his extended family and his many friends and theater fans.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd and Regina Mahla.

He is survived by his sister, Kathleen Neumann; niece, Christina Leonard; and nephew, Tyler Sistad.

Friends are invited to celebrate Ron’s life at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at the Newport Performing Arts Center, 777 W. Olive St. Those attending are asked to bring food to share at the potluck meal.




Follow KARA on Twitter

Support KARA buy our book or donate (Invite me to speak)


  1. Ron was one of the smartest and most talented people I have known. Our trivia team was the best, and Ron was the best. My heart goes out to all his family and friends. I will miss him.

  2. I am sorry to hear that Mike. I know that this must be a hugh shock and loss for you. I did not know Ron, but heard about him over the years through the family. Mental health is just as important as physical health. I do hope that, we as a society, can do better at making mental health an open conversation. I hope that, those suffering, will be able to feel more comfortable talking about their feelings and accepting help.

  3. Ron was my brother.
    The kindest, sweetest,smartest person I’ve known.
    When he laughed the whole room would laugh. He was full of life, and lived life to the fullest. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body, and I can’t think of one person that knew him that didn’t love him.
    I just wanted to clear the air. My brother did NOT drink himself to death, nor was he on drugs.
    We have all over looked one of the biggest evils of all.
    It’s called MONEY!
    That’s what I said, money, the root of all evil. His money ran out and he was too proud to ask for help so he took matters into his own hands, and took the easy way out.
    I will never understand why. But I know he will be forever missed in so many ways, by so many people.
    We all need to be better at Talking about what is bothering us.
    If I only learn one thing from this, it’s to TALK, talk to me, Talk to someone, ANYONE, get help.
    I’m sorry we didn’t talk more. My heart is broken, I will forever miss you:(
    Your sister, Kat

  4. I was out of town and had not heard of Ron’s passing until today when a fellow thespian broke the news. Ron was a dear sweet soul and talented actor/dancer/singer. I was always thrilled when I knew Ron would be in a production. He would show to rehearsals w/ a big smile on his face, ready to face what challenges came. He threw himself in to his roles and was a great team player. He’d greet his fellow actors, stage crew, production team and orchestra w/ a flashing smile and hug (he gave the best hugs).
    He was an active member of our stage family (you thespians will understand; when you’re in a production with someone, they become your family). To me, Ron was a like a big brother, and as with any family member who passes, a part of me is now empty due to his loss. To say he’ll be remembered fondly is an understatement; as his sister Kat mentioned, everyone who knew him loved him.

  5. Dear Kathy,
    I am so sorry about your brother. I applaud you for setting the facts straight, that drugs or alcohol were not at the root of your brothers death. Overwhelming hopelessness, anxiety, fear, rejection, etc, can all be factors leading to a person taking their own life, or thinking about taking their own life. Yes, we need to talk! And, we all need to be able to keep an open mind! Just because money is not an overwhelming problem to me, doesn’t mean it is not an overwhelming problem to someone else. I do hope we can meet someday…and talk!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment