Local woman turns heartache into happiness

Ron and Connie Griffith. (Photo: ABC7)

A local woman is keeping her husband’s dream alive with a summer food favorite.

“He said, in 2006, I’m going to start this sauce business because everyone was always asking him to bring the sauce,” said Connie Griffith, widow.

But that dream never came true.

In 2011, Connie’s husband Ron died after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, which is often referred to as Lou Gehrig Disease. But before this terrible disease debilitated the 58-year-old father of two, he would spend hours in the kitchen cooking up homemade sauce for family and friends.

“When he was sick he would have me bring him out here in his chair and sit by the stove and make sure I made everything exactly right,” Griffith said.

“He made me promise on his death bed that I would not give the recipe to anybody,” she added.

One of the last things Ron did was teach his wife how to make his raved-about sauces. Now, in a pot of Gator Ron’s Zesty Sauces and Mixes lives the spirit of a man who’s family says left them too soon.

“He said to me, he said, ‘I want you to do something that makes you happy.’ He said, ‘please promise me that when you go back to work, you'll do something that makes you happy.’ So when I thought about what I could do, I thought I could keep his dream alive.”

Connie, and her business partner and friend Debbie Kaufmann, started the Gator Ron’s company in Ron’s memory. Holding true to her promise, Connie is keeping the ingredients close to her heart, only disclosing that the sauces are all natural and gluten-free.

In a few weeks, Gator Ron’s sauces will be available for purchase online and across the D.C. region.

“Having watched people we love die of this horrible disease we are really, really, really hopeful that we can raise enough money that can put a dent in the research,” said Kaufmann.

The company is donating a portion of the proceeds to ALS research at John’s Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Both, Connie and Debbie, say they hope this money will help find a cure.

And even though Ron isn’t here to receive the benefit, Connie said, “I feel him when I’m talking about it, I feel energized and I feel happy and I think that he would be very proud.”{ }

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