Remembering Ron Henon

Ron Henon is not a name that most in the juggling community are aware of, but he was an accomplished juggler for several decades. He was born on January 24, 1938 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He taught himself to juggle and ride the unicycle around the age of 13. He soon met the famous clown Emmett Kelly and was greatly influenced by the circus star. When he was 16, Ron auditioned for the Cristiani Brothers Circus to work as a clown. The audition went very well and he was hired to join the show, doing so with his parents’ permission.

A teenaged Ron Henon in clown garb and makeup

Eventually, Ron Henon established himself as a talented juggler. He performed both a standard juggling act that featured clubs, rings, ball spinning, combination tricks, and golf club balancing as well as a sword and dagger balancing act performed on a swaying ladder. He sometimes performed under the stage name Tristan. Ron performed for USO shows during the Vietnam War, as you can see below.

Ron also performed a comedy music act with Albert Moreira, the father of Albert Lucas. The duo called themselves the Odd Brothers and featured Ron’s banjo playing skills.

The Odd Brothers

The Odd Brothers

Ron was an early and important influence on Albert Lucas. Albert speaks very highly of Ron as both a juggler and a person.

Ron appeared on television on the very popular children’s program Captain Kangaroo in 1961 and on The Detectives in 1962 as a clown.  He also juggled in the film Billy Rose’s Jumbo in 1962.

Ron and his wife Stephanie had three daughters: Marsee, Stephanie, and Lia. Ron retired from performing in 1971 and joined the carnival industry, which his wife Stephanie’s family was part of. Her parents owned Foley & Burk Shows, the last carnival to travel by train in California. Ron’s father-in-law, Lloyd J Hilligoss, moved it from the train cars to trucks and owned one of the largest shows until the early 1980’s. Ron and Stephanie owned several carnival attractions like fun houses, haunted houses, mirror mazes, and a spiral slide. Ron also operated several Shoot out the Star games. He continued this until he was 80. Ron passed away on October 18, 2021. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Below are many photos and some videos showing Ron Henon’s great juggling skill. Photos and props displayed here are used with permission from the estate of Ronald Henon.

Stephanie and Ron Henon

Ron and Stephanie Henon

llustrations by Artist Donald “Putt” Puttman ©️Ron Henon Estate

llustrations by Artist Donald “Putt” Puttman ©️Ron Henon Estate

llustrations by Artist Donald “Putt” Puttman ©️Ron Henon Estate

Ron was a member of the IJA and even competed in the first IJA Championships in 1969, winning the Ball Mouthstick Manipulation competition and the Auxiliary Equipment competition. You can see Ron juggling 4 rings while heading a ball in the following video from the 1969 IJA Convention at the 3:41 mark.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-four books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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