By Julie Engelhardt | Photos by Melissa Donald
As people look toward retirement, they may ponder how they’ll fill the many hours once dedicated to a 40-hour-a-week job or other scheduled activities. How will they stay engaged, active, and involved as they get older? The Reverend Ronald L. Loughry had the answer years ago — be intentional with your life.
Reverend Ron, as he’s known to his friends and colleagues, gave his first sermon when he was just 16 years old as a lay minister. He became an ordained minister years later, and this past January he celebrated his 50th anniversary in the ministry. January also marked an important event in his life—he retired from Fern Creek/Highview United Ministries after serving there for 23 years.
He began his career with Fern Creek/Highview as the director of the Adult Day Center, and in 2003 he was asked to become the executive director for the entire ministries operation. His life has been filled with a variety of activities and services, including work as adjunct faculty in history at several universities, plus involvement with numerous civic activities.
Reverend Ron says he wanted to ‘retire at the top of his game.’ “I was very intentional about what I wanted to do with retirement,” he says. One goal was to make certain that United Ministries was in a position to go forward without any financial issues. “I also wanted to make sure we had a great team of staff and volunteers,” he says. “I wanted to look back and say, ‘I’ve done well. I’ve left this in the best shape I could leave it in and move forward.’” Having this sense of accomplishment was important to his retirement.
Since retiring, Reverend Ron looks forward to spending time at his ‘private’ resort. “We have a ‘beach’ in our backyard, with over 40 tons of sand, and on the side of the garage we have a mural painted of the ocean and a lagoon. You can find me there with my wife when we have time together with our family and friends,” he says.
What do you do first thing in the morning?
I get a cup of tea and check e-mail, and look at the Courier-Journal, or I exercise. When I’m not exercising, I try to get outside early enough to work on projects before it gets too hot.
What do you do in the evening to relax?
My wife still works, so I may cook dinner. If we don’t have something going on, we sit around and chat and catch up on our day. We both like to read before we head to bed.
Do you have a cherished memento?
When my wife and I got engaged, our nieces and nephews created a big banner for us that says, “A Perfect Pair,” which we had laminated. We have it hung in our office/music room with other items from our engagement and wedding.
What is a favorite thing you’re doing right now?
The travel opportunities have been fantastic now that there’s more time. This past May we had a 19-day trip involving five days in Venice, Italy, two days in Athens, Greece, and a 10-day Greek Island cruise.
What do you do to unwind overall?
I’m very unwound now. Just being able to get up in the morning without having to get up at six or not having to worry about a phone call in the middle of the night has helped me to unwind. But, the best way is to get out into our backyard ‘beach’ and take my shoes and socks off, put my feet in the sand, and read a book or chat with friends.