By Kristopher Storey
The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council will hold a celebration of life for the late Ron “Ronzo” Shapiro tonight at The Powerhouse.
An icon in the Lafayette Oxford Community, Shapiro touched many lives during his time in Oxford.
The celebration will begin at 7 p.m. tonight and will give everyone an opportunity to share memories of Shapiro and take some new ones home.
This event will be a cocktail party that will have live music, food and a Hoka wall for photos.
Shapiro died at the age of 75 in August of this year after a long-fought battle against liver cancer. He was originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to Oxford during the 1970s.
Shapiro was known in the LOU community as the former owner of The Hoka Theatre—bohemian coffeehouse/movie theater, named after the Chickasaw princess who had once owned the land that would become Oxford.
A U.S. Army veteran, Shapiro loved his country and state and wanted Mississippi to do better.
He often pushed for social change. In 2006, he ran for Mississippi House District 12 and in 2011, he ran for Mississippi’s First Congressional District because of that love. Shapiro also ran for the Oxford Board of Aldermen in 1989 and 2013.
Shapiro became friends with anyone he came across with many of those relationships lasting more than 30 years.
“For Oxford, particularly “old” Oxford, as well as three generations of Ole Miss students, the passing of Ron Shapiro is a heartfelt loss,” said Oxford historian John Cofield in August after Shapiro’s death. “Much more than a cafe owner, a theater operator, a political candidate, and entertainer, he was part of the town’s soul. Irreplaceable, he will always be remembered with a smile for as long as Oxford’s history is kept alive.”
The role that Shapiro played will forever have an impact on the city of Oxford and the Lafayette community.
Donations will also be taken at the event to support cultural events and community arts.