About Ronnie Udouj and Fianna Hills . . .

As the pace slows down a little here in the holiday season, it lets you be a little more thoughtful about important things.  One of the things I’m thinking about this season is the passing of Ronnie Udouj and the mark he left on many people’s lives, including my own.

Ronnie died last summer.  He was the “Udouj” in Bradford & Udouj, the real estate brokerage where Ellie and I “cut our teeth” in the profession.  Though the man himself is gone, his pro-Fort Smith and pro-real estate legacy has certainly remained.  Ronnie believed in Fort Smith, and he did some things to make it more beautiful.  I’m reminded of this every day, because I live in a community Ronnie developed.

The Fianna Hills subdivision was built during the late-1970s and early-1980s.  I wasn’t even born when the first shovel-full of dirt flew.  But today, Fianna Hills is surely just what Ronnie dreamed it would be: a livable community that’s a pleasure to come home to every day.

Ronnie built the Fianna Hills Country Club, where Ellie and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner.  (As to the wedding itself, I’m still rehearsing after 12 years, but that’s another story.)  It was a fantastic way to kick of a great life together, and every time I recall those days surrounding our wedding, I think of Ronnie.

Some people teach.  Others lead by example.  I like to place Ronnie Udouj in that second category.  He never had to sit Ellie and I down and explain every facet of the real estate business.  All he had to do was be Ronnie, and that was all the example we needed.  He was truly instrumental in the success we’ve enjoyed as “Nick & Ellie the real estate agents” since we began with Bradford & Udouj in 2009.

Looking out my front window, it’s easy to see Ronnie’s influence in our sector of Fianna Hills.  And more to the point, it’s easy to see how that mental pastime we call “dreaming” can result in something lasting and important for our city and the people who call it home.

Goodbye, Ronnie.  We’ll watch over your masterpiece while you’re gone.