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In the Mix

Oct 01, 2020 06:48AM ● By Paul Cotruvo

In the Mix

Remembering Ron Dallimonti

 

Our community lost an incredible man last month. The wonderful Ron Dallimonti passed away. He and his wife, Christy, ran the extraordinarily successful Dallimonti’s Restaurant in Pleasant Hill, where Ron was a legend. Ron was instrumental in bringing live music to Pleasant Hill. His love and passion of music created a music scene that was, for the most part, non- existent in Pleasant Hill and surrounding communities. Without Ron, I do not think we would have a music culture in this area. And what an environment he and Christy created! Nowhere else could you step through the front door and have the band on your immediate left and dancing on your right. I compare it to having a live band playing in your living room. Where else could you dance next to the bass player? Or share the mic with the lead singer? He created a fun and intimate environment.  I will always be eternally grateful for Ron, who took a chance on many unknown bands and musicians and gave them a chance to perform. I have so many memories -- too many to share in this article -- but one of my favorites is when he hired a band I was in called Sunstorm to play New Year’s Eve in 1999-2000. As most of you remember, we were all nervous about Y2K. None of us knew what would happen at midnight. Would we lose power? Would the world end? But as soon as the clock hit midnight, I looked over at Ron and he just gave me that big smile of his, hopped over the bar, and joined in singing with the band. Another wonderful memory is when Ron had a jukebox in the early days. My brother and I had recorded a single (a 45rpm record, the one with the big hole in the middle, for all you millennials). He had added the single to the jukebox, and just about every time I came in, he would run over to the jukebox and play our record. It is extremely hard for me to think that Ron is gone, but I know his legacy will live on. I have asked a few friends to give some of their memories and thoughts.

 

The legendary David Martin: That smile could light up a room and fill up your heart. Ron Dallimonti was a man who had a giving, loving, positive spirit. He adored his immediate family and chose to embrace his immediate community (wherever he might be)! Ron's choice was to share himself and his life with people in the private and public domain - and always to be of service and support. For me, it was a joy to watch him run his cherished Pleasant Hill restaurant with wife, Christy, note his uncanny ability to "work a room," marvel at his energy and technique behind a bar, adore his love for music and laughter, see him celebrate being Italian and a San Francisco native, respect his work ethic and total commitment, and feel his true camaraderie with most everyone he met, knew, or would soon be introduced to. Ron's energy was often like a big, young, beautiful lab dog, and at other times he was your kindest, sensitive, and most sincere confidante. Of course, somehow, he was never far away from a microphone, ready to sing at a moment's notice. Music flowed through his being and he truly cared for and embraced musicians. He understood the fever. Ron's life ultimately reflected an authentic impact on thousands of people over too short a lifetime; so many of us are eternally grateful for having shared his unforgettable energy and bicycled a little bit along the journey with him. The ability to appreciate the simple, "in the moment" pleasures of life is the foundation of memories, lessons, and inspiration that I will always associate with Ron Dallimonti ... and that smile! Salud!”

 

Another great local musician and one of the first people to play at Dallimonti’s, Ken Cooper: Ron always loved coming up to sing with the band, and with years of doing it together, we had a tight act. Ron used to say, “I think we’re ready to take it on the road.” Sometimes, to start his set, he would face into the band. We would start playing and he would start singing and then turn around to the full dance floor in front of him! It never got old. Good times, always.

 

Pleasant Hill City Councilman and neighbor Tim Flaherty: One night I brought my dad and mom to Dallimonti’s for dinner. We had a lovely meal, and when the bill came my dad, as usual, insisted on paying and presented his San Francisco fire credit union Visa card to our server. A few moments later, Ron came running up to our table asking who the San Francisco firefighter was. Ron looked at me and I looked at him and introduced him to my Dad, a retired assistant chief in the SFFD. Ron and I were shocked that after all the many hours we had spent speaking across the bar and sharing our experiences growing up In San Francisco, we never informed each other that our fathers were firefighters. Ron had many questions for my dad about his father who had died when Ron was a teenager. My father was able to share with Ron his personal experiences with Ron’s dad at the firehouse and also identified all of the people in many of the photographs that Ron had of his father at the firehouse. It was a special moment that created a bond between Ron and me that endured. Some years later after my father passed away, I invited Ron to a memorial lunch, where I was able to introduce Ron to other retired firefighters who were also acquainted with Ron’s dad. It was a special time and a special moment that Ron and I often revisited.

 

I will leave you all with this wonderful quote by Irving Berlin, “The song has ended, but the melody lingers on.”