After graduation, many people go into the business world to start their careers.  Unlike many of his brothers,Ron Bond ’59 didn’t take an ordinary career path after graduating; Ron joined the Air Force for 28 years of service.  Ron spent most of his time in the service flying a 707, which is a KC 135 Tanker that refuels other planes.

His duties shifted during the Vietnam War however.  Due to need, Ron flew an RF-4 as a fighter pilot during the war.  “It was exciting taking pictures of North Vietnam and Laos, but I didn’t enjoy getting shot at,” Ron recalls.  He then spent the last 8 years of his service time flying congressmen and their families around the world.  After leaving the military, Ron worked with the Army Corps of Engineers as a contractor flying up and down the Mississippi River repairing dam sites for 14 years.

Needless to say, as busy as Ron was, he lost contact with Penn Theta.  Two years ago, Ron attended the funeral of his back-seater from Vietnam at the Arlington National Cemetery.  He was a major from New York City and his wife asked Ron to speak at the funeral.  

The same weekend as the funeral, Ron decided to take a visit back to Philadelphia for Penn’s homecoming weekend, where he got to reconnect with many of the brothers he hadn’t seen in so long.  “After being away for so many years, it was great to see the guys I lived in the house with.  For someone that’s been away for so long, reconnecting with that many brothers was really refreshing and exciting,” Ron says.

Attending that reunion at Penn reminded Ron of the joy he got out of his SAE experience.  Ron didn’t intend on joining a fraternity when he first attended Penn, “I was a small town boy from Downingtown with no intentions of joining a fraternity when I began college, but I realized that you couldn’t do anything on campus without joining,” he explains.  While working in the dining hall, Bob met Bob Lamb ’58 and Lloyd Swainand they convinced him to check out SAE.  “I ended up really liking SAE and the brothers so it was a natural fit,” Ron says of why he joined SAE.

While at Penn Theta, Ron made many great memories, but initiation still stands out as a memorable experience more than 50 years later.  Ron also enjoyed being the house manager, “When I was house manager, I spent many exciting days trying to patch things up and keep them working around the house, I really enjoyed it,” he says.

One interesting point of note is that Ron’s name changed during his college years.  He became adopted at age 21 and his last name changed from Jefferis to Bond.  A few years ago he ran into a brother in Portland that was pledging during Ron’s name change.  The brother recalled his pledge class having a hard time with Ron because they continuously confused Ron Bond with Ron Jefferis.

Ron ran into another brother recently as well.  He was at Penn State attending the Nebraska game with his wife during Veteran’s Day Weekend and ran into Bob Lamb for the first time since 1958.  Despite all of the years between encounters, the two recognized each other immediately and enjoyed spending the weekend together catching up and reminiscing on old times.

Enjoying his retirement in Omaha, Ron stays busy with his model train set.  He initially became interested in model trains when his father bought him his first train set at age four.  His father worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad for several years and Ron loved taking train rides with him as a child.  Ron continued to enjoy this hobby while traveling in the military by setting up model train sets for boy scouts and other organizations.

After retiring, Ron began collecting model trains again and currently has a 1,100 square foot layout in his basement that’s really something to see.  He even had a national convention stop by and visited his display last July.  “I have a great collection; it’s been going on for 11 years and is always under construction,” adds Ron.

Brothers can connect with Ron at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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