I had the great privilege of being Ron Rappaport’s law partner for over 25 years. Ron’s passing is a great loss for his family, the Island community and our law firm. He was one of a kind — larger than life. He was truly a force of nature. Although he was a good listener, in the end it was his opinion that usually carried the day.

I take solace that he was able to see his Celtics cruise to victory last Thursday night from the owner’s box. He was so upbeat on Friday as he usually is — talking on the phone, making the rounds and imploring those working on his projects to finish up quickly.

On Saturday, those who worked with him gathered at the firm to pay tribute. We shared Ron stories and finished with a Champagne toast to his life and legacy. That so many came to the firm on a beautiful Saturday is a testament to what he meant to all of us.

People spoke of his many acts of kindness and support. Karen Burke spoke of the support Ron provided when her brother unexpectedly passed and how her son, who had been unable to utter complete sentences, suddenly spoke in complete paragraphs when answering Ron’s questions.

He cared deeply about the people he worked with — always taking the time to chat and to learn about our children and families. If you made a mistake, he had your back. Things will not be the same without him, but we will carry on, grateful for having had his support and guidance.

Ron’s identity was as an attorney. He loved practicing law and providing counsel to his clients. He was first in the office each morning and often the last to leave. He was intelligent and wise and had the best judgment of any lawyer I have ever known.

Every firm needs a rainmaker and he was ours. He knew everyone here and how to get things done. He knew how to cut to the heart of an issue. His clients valued his judgment.

Ron lived life fully. He wasn’t one to miss a party or gathering. He genuinely loved people and was a friend to so many. He was great company. There was no pretense. He was who he was.

One of my enduring memories of Ron will be of him riding his bike to work, head down and hair akimbo. Although Ron was planning on cutting back at work (or so he said), it proved hard for him to step away from the work he loved.

He cared so deeply about the Island. From MV Youth, to Vineyard Youth Tennis, to the Covid test site, to the new Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, to the Steamship Authority and so much more — he had a hand in it all. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.

He told me that when serving as the Steamship Authority governor he looked at all decisions through one lens — what was best for year-round Islanders. On so many occasions he was able to build bridges between the year-round and seasonal communities to the benefit of both.

For those of us who practiced law with him daily, his voice will always be in our head. What would Ron do? What would Ron say?

We knew the real Ron and we are all better for it. He will be missed.

Fain Hackney is a partner at Reynolds, Rappaport, Kaplan & Hackney.