Ramon Eaton | USA


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Year Inducted: 2013 (deceased)
Years Active: 1958-1980
Home Base: USA

Advocate Accomplishments:

  • Developed a whitewater canoeing curriculum which became the foundation for the American Red Cross (ARC) Canoeing Curriculum, documented in ARC’s Canoe Manual.
  • Influenced the canoeing curriculum at many of the more prominent summer camps in the southeastern United States first in water safety in general and later in developing whitewater skills and trips

Other Accomplishments:

  • Red Cross representative and principal negotiator with the North Vietnamese for the release of POW’s and MIA’s for the United States.

Ramon (Ray) Eaton was an outstanding leader of networking among paddlers from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. As Vice President of the American Red Cross, his knowledge and expertise in whitewater instruction and safety influenced ARC’s role and involvement in whitewater canoeing and safety. He was an inspiring and pivotal leader throughout the southeastern United States in regards to the early establishment of prominent canoe clubs as well as instructional programs for a range of summer camps which produced many U.S. whitewater competitors. Canoe instruction across a comprehensive curriculum was also a metaphor for Eaton’s life where canoeing skills reflected and taught life skills. His influence and impact was felt very personally among many paddlers in the Southeast. Eaton became the elder statesman for Nantahala Outdoor Center during its formative years.

2 Responses to Ramon Eaton | USA

  1. John Burton says:

    I count Ramone among the very few most influential mentors in my life! As the bio says, he was the elder statesman for the NOC during its formative years, and I was one of the main beneficiaries of his influence. He and I taught an off-season open boat whitewater clinic at Mondamin Wilderness Adventures in 1973, before either of us was active at NOC. He was a welcome and positive presence on many earlier canoe trips at Camp Mondamin long before that, where I started as a kid in 1958! Ramone became a fast friend and mentor; his wisdom and advice and example of class and dignity became beacons of positive influence for me. He was beloved around NOC until the day he died. Hopefully his legacy lives on among many of us.

  2. Robert Dean says:

    Ray Eaton was a friend of Frank Bell, the founding director of Camp Mondamin where I was a counsellor in 1963. The subject of the first photo above appears to be Frank Bell, rather than Ray, perhaps running the Toxaway River prior to its impoundment.

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