Thai Rugby Union

PHUKET VAGABONDS R.F.C. - THAILAND

RONDA BUTLER

Ronda loved heading off to Thailand for holidays, doing several trips just over the border in to Hatyai with family and friends. She fell in love with Koh Samui and said one day she would love to return and just let life pass her by. She did several trips to Bangkok with other wives from the RAAF contingent at Butterworth in Penang where we are stationed. She loved her last days being out on the Similians was one of the best times we had together, although a lot went a stray that holiday she was happy.

She once told me that the Thai's are the most genuine people in the world, they have very little or nothing but will always welcome you with a smile and are always willing to lend a hand. She would say that "those with nothing, give all they can and yet those with everything seem to give so very little if anything."

Ronda also had a passion for rugby, she was devastated last year when the Poms beat us in the world cup, and although her father was born in Swindon England and ex-RAF, she could not bring herself to barrack for those "cheating Poms" as she said. Although she was born in Sydney NSW Australia, she always swore that she was a Queenslander at heart, I told her she that her grass roots were in NSW and she had to barrack for the Waratahs in the super 12's. She is having the last laugh on me now, as the Reds don't look so hot this year.

Ronde was also involved in the local rugby here in Penang, often coming down to watch the boys play and hurl abuse at the referee when a decision didn't go our way. She helped out in the stalls during the Penang 10's, spending 2 days running beer to me while trying to sell merchandise. Whilst helping to coach the Penang side for the Sukma games last year she would often say " go away with the boys for the week end, you need a break and they need a hand." This usually resulted in jewellery being bought or me being out of pocket for something else.

Melanie and Win's memories of their time in Penang with Ronda.

We'd like to thank Harry, Sharmaine and Shantelle for asking us to share some of the lighter moments of being Ronda's friends and to share these with you today.

We got to know Ronda and Harry while tutoring Sharmaine and Shantelle and we both became close friends with the whole family. Some of the funniest moments I experienced in Penang were because Ronda was around, just being her injudicious ( Mel this means not always judging things correctly, ill judged, unwise) gorgeous self.

We all know Ronda was a vegetarian, so Win and I tried to introduce her to some wonderful vegetarian food at our home on our Balcony Bar. One of the first trials was with sushi. In true Ronda style the questions came in thick and fast. What is this? What is that? You expect me to eat seaweed? What do you mean raw fish? But the most priceless moment was when she spread the wasabi onto the Sushi and put it in her mouth. Her face, her watering eyes and then the light-hearted abuse were hilarious. This was most definitely a Ronda moment.

The next incident I'd like to share also occurred at our Balcony Bar. Someone, who will remain nameless, ( look directly at Harry)decided that we should let off some cherry bombs to help celebrate the New Year, and to pay back the Hungry Ghosts. Anyway, Win was relaxing in the hammock when Ronda lit a Cherry bomb, held it in her hand whilst staring at the rapidly shriveling wick. Reality struck, she panicked threw the Cherry Bomb up so it hit the ceiling and bounced back into the hammock between Win's legs. Win then panicked, flipped the hammock, fell out and the cherry bomb burnt a hole through the fabric. This was most definitely a Ronda moment.

Ronda had a passion for darts, bowling and cards. She introduced us to the card game called 'May I?'. We would stay up for hours at the Butler's playing this game drinking mango slushies. Harry would get tired and announce 'a quick game is a good game' which was Ronda's cue to slow down proceedings. The card spies, constant banter and winding up other players were part of her strategy. These games are another cherished Ronda memory.

Last but by no means least…dare I mention the car? On a regular basis, almost as if planned, Ronda would tell me about another typical Penang driver who attacked Harry's car while she was driving it. Harry's car seemed to be in constant need of repair when Ronda was around. The funny thing was that the damage always happened in similar places, with a similar repair cost and it was always the same person's fault. That is, not Rondas! If you ever need car repairs, Harry knows exactly where to go and who to blame it on. This is called "doing a Ronda."

It must be said that Ronda was great fun to have around, her antics and banter were a constant source of laughs, her faces down the web camera once we moved to China and her love for the simple things, Jack Daniels, John Denver, Mango Slushies…. but more importantly her friends and family. We, who are lucky enough to have known Ronda, appreciate her for herself. A person who would go out of her way to help those she loved and those whose lives she touched. She has left us a wonderful man and two fantastic children who will help revive the good memories. We will miss her.

Ronda, thanks for the memories.