The Passing of Ron Ellis, the founder of the finca in Ecuador that LVBM is based upon

I know it’s been awhile since I have posted an update. I hate excuses, but here I am… Yes, I have been busy. More importantly, some events transpired in Ecuador that I wasn’t at liberty to share with you until now out of respect for the family who owns and runs the finca (farm), the anchor of this entire project. So here it is:

As you may know, Ecuador is a beautiful mountainous part of the world and a fairly inexpensive place where westerners have been known to retire comfortably. Before Deborah moved to Ecuador, her father Ron Ellis retired there.

Ron Ellis was in early 70’s and wanted more than a place to live out his golden years in luxury. He wondered to himself if it was possible to turn a life-long dream into a reality, a reality where people of diverse cultures can thrive together. He asked himself: “Can a harmonious cohabitation with self-sustainability exist?”

On a hunch, he rolled the dice and purchased the finca – “as an experiment to test this belief”.  Soon after he asked Deborah to leave her life in the states and come manage it.  Together, father and daughter began planting seeds of sustenance and hope on this neglected, forgotten piece of land in an impoverished community.

Ron & His Daughter Deborah on the Finca

In the month I stayed with Ron, I learned a lot about him. We took long strolls and had extensive conversations on the way to the finca to see Deborah. Ron was a peculiar person, a man of science, yet he frequently made decisions on gut instinct alone.  He was an open book, a generous person. He shared his worries as a father of his daughter Deborah’s future. But that never stopped him from believing in her. With conviction he spoke of her dynamic personality and intellect combined with the natural good will of the people of La Calera was a winning formula.

Ron had flaws like anyone else and sometimes drove the women in his life crazy, but his heart was bigger than most. His greatest weakness, in my opinion, was being a human male with a scientific mind and dreamer’s heart on a quest to live a better life, a life that enriches the lives of others. He deeply wanted that philosophy to catch on until the whole world understood we can have positive change without the violence and the destruction of our planet.

Unfortunately, Ron will not get to witness his dream realized, at least not in the physical form. A few months ago, Ron fell extremely ill and began a long process of visits to and from various Ecuadorian hospitals and doctors. Deborah asked me to keep things quiet until they knew what was going on, so the family could focus on his healing and not feel bombarded with inquiries from friends and relatives from around the world. His illness would require every ounce of strength Ron had.

For months I had been praying and hoping along with Ron’s family that Ron would get better. He did not.

It is with a heavy heart I report to you that on the morning of August 24th, 2017, Ron Ellis passed away.

Deborah called me that evening distraught. Her Daddy was gone. But, she was full of hope and conviction that she would persevere and see Ron’s vision through. The finca was his one last good deed before leaving this world. He wanted Deborah to continue developing the finca and I have no doubt Rob’s legacy will shine through Deborah’s great work.

With the money spent on Ron’s treatment, and the time spent away, the finca is in financial trouble. Sadly, Deborah had to let some of her employees go. Her beloved foreman Alonzo is staying on and working at a discount to help do whatever is necessary for the farm’s survival.

Now more than ever, I want to help Deborah and Alonzo keep this dream alive and turn it into a reality. One of the 1st things I am doing is donating my birthday on Facebook to Deborah and the finca so they can pay a few more bills and keep things afloat while they go through this adjustment.

Here is the link so you can donate directly to Deborah and the finca.

Dad's Memorial presentation

Stay tuned for more news coming soon.