Ron became interested in Lepidoptera upon finding a freshly emerged luna moth in his backyard at age six in Lansing, Michigan. He indicated that he intended to update Holland's Moth Book upon completing the ninth grade. He received the BS  and MS [1957 from Michigan State University where he was strongly influenced by Roland Fischer. Then, he went to Cornell University to work with John Franclemont. During this period he did extensive field work in New York, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Ecuador. He became deeply interested in the microlepidoptera, particularly the Gelechioidea, and was awarded the PhD in 1961. He received a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and commenced working on the genera of Gelechiidae. This project was interrupted when he accepted a position with the Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL) [U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service] located in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. He had several roles in the SEL, including Laboratory Chief. He stepped down from this position to continue field and labortatory research on gelechioid moths. He retired in January 1997 and moved to Eugene, Oregon.
Ron became involved The Moths of America North of Mexico in its preliminary stages in 1969. This project will for the first time present a taxonomic/systematic survey of the estimated 16,000+ species of moths that occur in America north of Mexico. It is projected to require 130 volumes. Since then, he has written volumes on Sphingidae, Oecophoridae, Cosmopterigidae, and Gelechiidae [Dichomeridinae and Gelechiinae, genus Chionodes that collectively treat 709 species, including 217 that were new to science. He was responsible for the Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico that appeared in 1983. He is Managing Director of the Wedge Entomological Research Foundation that publishes the series and is editor-in-chief of the publications.
He is a current or past member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association for Zoological Nomenclature [president 1993-95], American Entomological Society, Entomological Society of Canada, Entomological Society of Ontario, Entomological Society of Washington [honorary member, 1999-], Michigan Entomological Society, The Lepidoptera Research Foundation, The Lepidopterists' Society [president 1973-74, honorary member 2004-], Maryland Entomological Society [president 1973-74] Ohio Lepidopterists, Northwest Lepidoptera Society, Sigma Xi, Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica, and the Washington Biologists Field Club [1963-present, president 1974-74 and highly acitve on various committees, work, and field days].
He received the Thomas Say Award from the Entomological Society of America for his editorial oversight of MONA , the Karl Jordan Medal from the Lepidopterists' Society for research on gelechioid moths . He was elected as Honorary Member of the Entomological Society of Washington in 1999 and an Honorary Member of the Lepidopterists' Society in 2004.
Ron and his wife [deceased June 2006] live near Eugene Oregon where he continues to work on moths and to edit and publish The Moths of America North of Mexico. Gardening with a highly diverse array and plants and developing and maintaining a collection of pleurothallidine orchids are among his major interests.