The Ronald G. Michels Center, Greenville, NC, is a tribute to the life of Ronald G. Michels, MD. Ron believed everyone has God-given talents. He always encouraged everyone to “Find the Gift of God Within” and to maximize those talents. Ron Michels tried with every fiber of his being to do the very best he could at every single endeavor in his life. In high school, Ron was the captain of the football team, and he was both president and valedictorian of his graduating class. After finishing at the top of his class in both pre-med and medical school at UNC Chapel Hill, Ron was offered the prestigious residency in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. With undeviating determination, Ron spent two years at the Bascom Palmer Eye Center in Miami, Florida where, together with Dr. Robert Machemer, he was instrumental in the development of an operation called Vitrectomy.This operation revolutionized the ability to prevent blindness and restore sight to hundreds of thousands of diabetics worldwide. In his spare time, Ron authored three textbooks, including the authoritative text on Vitreous Surgery. Ron’s clinical and research work at Johns Hopkins elevated him to become the leading authority on Vitreoretinal Surgery. Many celebrities and athletes sought Dr. Michels when their sight was threatened. He operated on Sugar Ray Leonard and Ernie Shavers. Also, during the Cold war, Ron was flown to Russia to operate on one of the Russian heads of state (the name remains classified).
Ron was a family man with his lovely wife, Alice, and two children, Allison and Randy. He was a devout Christian and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Albert Einstein was once asked about the best way to teach others. His answer, “There are actually three ways: Example, example and example.” All of us who were privileged to be associated with and tutored by Ron Michels know that “He walked his talk.” Like Churchill, he “never, never, never gave up.” He left a legacy of innovation, determination, inspiration, motivation, and education. He undeviating and tireless effort encourages all of us to bring forth “The Gift of God in Each of Us!”
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