Ronald (Ron) Herbert Harding, described as a “Pied Piper of the travel industry who worked on the premise ‘if you build it they will come,’” has passed away at age 84.
According to an online obituary, Ron’s “peaceful passing” occurred on Monday, February 28, 2022, at Collingwood Hospital after a “life-altering accident.”
“Ron was surrounded by his loved ones who will continue to honour his legacy by living life with love,” the obituary reads.
Beloved son of the late Herbert and Lilian Harding (Clark), late sister Bethany-Joyce, uncle to Simone Johnson (England), great uncle to Sam and Joe Johnson, cherished partner of Fran Kartechner, bonus father to Shari Richardson (Kartechner) of Meaford and William Kartechner of DR, Ron was “adored and highly respected by a myriad of close life-long friends.”
Known in the industry as a “travel legend,” Ron, in 1966, started Great Places – the first company to fly charters with Wardair, offering destinations that, at the time, were new for Canadians, such as Austria, Aspen, Saint Lucia and San Juan.
“Ron was always a visionary with the natural ability to market to individuals, an example being 'Ski Movie Nights' at the Austrian Club in Toronto which was the impetus for filling airplanes of skiers for years,” his obituary reads.
In 1973, Patrick Brigham lured Ron to Sunquest Vacations, and with solid infrastructure backing him, Ron was “free to live his imagination marketing the WORLD.”
“There was simply no destination that Ron didn't conquer and have a ball doing so,” his obituary reads.
To read Ron’s obituary in its entirety, or to share a memory of Ron, click here.
“As tribute to Ron, please try to find a way to help someone have a great day. Coinciding with his love of animal’s contributions to local animal shelters would have pleased him,” the obituary adds.
A family gathering and celebration of life is set to take place in the spring.