When the Bethesda resident's husband, Ron, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis last November, she started Gator Ron's, which sells Bloody Mary mix, and wing and barbecue sauce, to honor his memory.
Why Gator Ron's?
Before [Ron] got sick, we had people requesting he make the sauces for them, and he decided to start this business. Then he got sick with ALS, and it took a backseat, but he never stopped talking about it. He taught me how to make the sauces. He made me promise not to give the recipe out to anyone. When he was very sick at the end of the ALS, he made me promise that I would do something that made me happy when he was gone. The thing that I could think of that would make me most happy was to bring his dream alive.
What do you do with the proceeds?
Ten percent of our sales go to the [Robert Packard Center for ALS Research] at Johns Hopkins [University]. We need to help these poor people that have no hope when they are diagnosed. My husband was hoping it was cancer because there is no cure for ALS. It was awful. He was young, vibrant, strong and healthy. At age 58, he passed away. He suffered for four years. He lost everything but his mind.
Why the name "Gator Ron's"?
That was his nickname. He was an alumnus of the University of Florida, and he lived, breathed, talked everything Gator. He didn't leave the house without a Gator hat on or a Gator shirt. We called him Gator Ron and I was Gator Connie, and we never missed a game.
Did Ron have a favorite sauce?
His wing. His Bloody Mary was a hit -- we had season tickets to the Redskins games, so he would make the Bloody Marys for that -- but the wings he prepared all the time.