Twenty-five years after Ella Ron and her husband got T-shirts printed up in
Nepal during a year-long trip around the world, she wore her “Ron’s expedition”
shirt as she greeted mourners at her home in Oranit on Tuesday
Hours earlier, her husband, Lt.-Col. (res.) Noam Ron,
died along with 31- year-old Maj. (res.) Erez Flekser when the Cobra helicopter
they were flying crashed outside Kibbutz Revidim early Tuesday
The shirt was a little faded but bore testament to a man who had
loved traveling the world with his wife and three daughters – a handsome, Type-
A personality who, to a stranger catching a glimpse of the life he left behind,
seemed to fit the classic mold of the Israeli pilot.
The family set up a
small computer screen in the living room, which displayed a gallery of dozens of
photos from Noam’s and Ella’s trips, with and without their daughters – hiking
in South America, trekking in Africa, braving the Himalayas in
Nepal seems to have held a special place in Noam’s
According to his father, Zvi, he named his hi-tech company
“Sagarmatha,” the Nepalese word for Mount Everest, where he had hiked to the
base camp during a trip with Ella decades earlier.
This was not the first
tragedy to strike the Ron family. Sixteen years ago, Noam’s younger brother,
Ayal, also a pilot, fell to his death while rappelling in the Judean Desert. On
Wednesday, Noam will be buried alongside his brother in a spot he had reserved
at the Morasha cemetery outside Ramat Hasharon.
His younger brother,
Yoni, stood in the kitchen of the house on Tuesday, greeting well-wishers and
sending photos of Noam to Israeli media outlets.
“What was Noam like? He
was a winner, in everything he did,” he said. “He always did everything to be
the first, and was so dedicated to his family.”
Asked if he felt an extra
burden now that he was the last son left, Yoni said he didn’t see it that
“We’re a very strong and caring family,” he said. “We’ll take care
of each other.”
Ella described her husband as a man who “was so many
things, it’s hard to sum him up. He had this tough-guy image but had such a
sweet heart – he always wanted to help anyone who needed it.”
had been highly devoted to the air force, she said, noting that for years he had
spent one day every week serving in reserve duty.
Zvi, a geography
professor at Tel Aviv University, watched his son’s photos cycle across the TV
screen and recalled how Noam had become a sort of father figure when his younger
brother’s death shook the family years earlier.
Speaking with a father’s
pride, Zvi described his son as a man who had loved to travel and fly
“He loved to fly so much,” he said. “I remember I asked him
recently: ‘You’re 49 years old. How long are you going to do this for?’ He told
me, ‘I’ll keep flying as long as I can.
They’ll have to throw me out of
the air force before I’ll stop.’”