Photo caption for inside the store: Inside the store in 1906 with Ira J. Earl on the left, Ed Clark in the middle, and C. C. Ronnow on the right.
By Ranae Kanet
Charles Christian Ronnow was born 29 July 1865 in Ephriam,Utah.
He was the first of 9 children. He was named Carl Christian Ronnow because both grandfathers were named Carl, but they called him Charles.
His parents, Laurine Emilie Hansen and Christian Peter Ronnow, were both from Denmark. They had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Denmark and then immigrated to America. They had trekked across the plains with a company that had ox pulled wagons and handcarts.
When Charles was almost a year old the family was called by church president Brigham Young to settle the Muddy Valley which was about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas at St. Thomas near Moapa. The family traveled as far as Panaca when news of trouble in the Muddy Valley led to a request for them to stay in Panaca.
There the family home was a dugout and later a one room home built of rough rock with a dirt roof. A shed with a willow roof behind the house was used for a kitchen in the summertime.”
After 3 years the family was asked to undertake a 2-year mission to the cotton factory in Washington, Utah. Christian had trained as a dyer in Denmark and his expertise was needed.
When the family returned to Panaca they built a three room adobe home with both a front and back porch. As the family grew, they added on and eventually had an 8 room house.
As Charles grew up his father worked as a farmer and also in the mercantile business.
The family was very active in the church and also civic affairs. As the children grew, the parents insisted that each receive a college education. Charles attended the Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah and became a teacher.
Ronnow and his brother, Joseph, both ran ore teams in the early days
Charles returned home to Panaca to teach school for a few years. He became a principal and also served as Panaca postmaster for 16 years. He was also Justice of the Peace for 8 years.
In 1888 he married Ada Melissa Lee, but after only a year of marriage she died of complications of the flu and childbirth.
Two years later he married Alice Elizabeth Wadsworth in the L.D.S. St. George Temple. A year and a half later Charles and Alice had a baby daughter, Ada Irene, but she lived less than a month. They went on to have 2 sons, Charles Leland born in 1895 and James Leon born in 1898. He accepted a leadership role as bishop in the Panaca Ward for his church in 1894 at the age of 31. He was called by his church to go on a mission to Scandinavia when his youngest son was a year old. He left his wife and children in Panaca and went to do missionary work in Denmark and Norway.
The family moved to Las Vegas on July 2, 1905, just 2 months after the railroad land auction. The Ronnow home was built that first summer at the corner of First and Clark Streets.
Ed W. Clark, (Clark High School was later named after him) was Ronnow’s business partner and lifelong friend. Clark never married. He lived with the Ronnow family. The Ronnow children called him Uncle Ed. Both Ronnow and Clark were active in politics. Ronnow, a republican, served on the County Commission and Clark, a democrat, was the county treasurer. They were instrumental in getting Clark County formed in 1909 with Las Vegas as the county seat. The area was previously in Lincoln county.
During Ronnow’s time on the county commission, they oversaw the construction of the Clark County Courthouse. Partner Ed Clark and Ronnow started their Vegas store in a large canvas tent in July 1905 while they built a wooden store. The store was on South Main Street. Ronnow installed a solar water system on the roof to provide hot water.
Ronnow, along with Clark, developed 2 ranches near Las Vegas. One was 8 miles south of town, which is now part of the Whitney area. Ronnow was responsible for some of the first artesian wells in the valley. Through his efforts a branch of the L.D.S. church was organized, with C.C. Ronnow as the presiding Elder. He later became a member of the Moapa Stake High Council. He helped build the first 2 meetinghouses for the LDS church in Las Vegas.
Charles Christian Ronnow died at age 83 in 1945. He is buried in Las Vegas at Woodlawn cemetery.
In 1966, to honor the Las Vegas pioneer Charles Christian Ronnow, an elementary school was named for him
Louis G. Denoncourt
Ronaldo Cesa was born on March 20, 1967 in Lian, Batangas, Philippines. He earned his United States citizenship on July 10, 2009.
Ronaldo Cesa was C.C. Ronnow’s cafeteria manager from 2009-2019. He passed away on March 31, 2020.
Ronaldo Cesa dedicated his life to our community. He was such a good man and he worked two full-time jobs to support his family back in the Philippines. In addition, he saw his cafeteria managerrole as an important public service because he fed kids that would otherwise go hungry. Ronaldo Cesa said he loved C.C. Ronnow Elementary so much and felt a sense of purpose feeding kids that were food insecure.
Ronaldo ran a very tight ship. As a result, he was named Region 3’s 2019 Cafeteria Manager of the Year. He was so good at his job that food service kept asking him to be a trainer of other kitchen managers. The food service department tried to entice him with a raise and he really did not want to leave Ronnow. He loved working at C.C. Ronnow so much and stayed in his position at Ronnow as long as he could. Before leaving, he made sure that Ronnow had a good kitchen manager. He trained Mai Macapagal-Malimban ( his dear friend and coworker at both his jobs) on how to run an effective C.C. Ronnow kitchen. He had so much Ronnow pride he would buy every single Ronnow shirt. He had field day shirts, reading week shirts, and his favorite shirt was his Team Hopson shirt to support a teacher with cancer. He wore all his C.C. Ronnow shirts with pride.
Ronaldo will truly be missed and our entire community is devastated by his loss. We are thankful for the light he put in our lives. Ronaldo will live on in how we conduct ourselves with pride, dedication, and love.
It is hard to put into words how dedicated Ronaldo was to our community, so I will let him tell you. Here is his last Facebook post: