Ronny Dean Newman began life in Lake City, Iowa on December 4, 1938. He enjoyed humorously noting that there was actually NO lake, and NO city. His parents, Harold and Verva Astleford Newman continued on to have 10 more children. Life for the large Newman family in rural Iowa was characterized by conditions typical of the Great Depression. Ron claimed that he and his siblings each got one pair of shoes per year - at the first snowfall. His mother took a job outside the house after the ninth child, leaving Ron in charge of "the little puppies," as he referred to the siblings under his care.
After graduating from Lake City High School, Ron enrolled in the Army, where he proudly achieved the shooting rank of Marksman. Being stationed in Nuremburg, Germany allowed Ronnie to "see the world," instilling in him a life-long interest in travel, and history. GI Bill in hand, Ron pursued an education, graduating from CSU Long Beach in 1964 with degrees in History and English. While in college, Ron married Donna Rafferty in August, 1962. He supplemented his income by "flipping pancakes" at the Pancake House.