Ronald M. Anton, retired BMI executive, died Wednesday, October 18, in an early morning fire at his home in Nashville. He was 71.
Metro Nashville firefighters were called to the Anton home around 3 a.m. by Anton's wife, songwriter Dene Anton. She awoke downstairs as fire swept through the house and was unable to reach her husband, who was upstairs.
Anton, a native of Milwaukee, worked with songwriters for more than three decades. After graduating from Northwestern University Law School, he was employed by MCI, Columbia Records and the William Morris Agency. He joined BMI in 1965 in the New York legal department and later headed the publishing department there. In the early 1970s he relocated to Los Angeles to direct all Writer/Publisher Relations activity, retiring in 1988 as Vice President, BMI Los Angeles.
At the 1998 BMI Country Awards: BMI's Frances Preston, Ron and Dene Anton, BMI's Roger Sovine
He and his wife, who maintained homes in Palm Springs and Nashville, were avid supporters of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). The Antons were among the founders of NSAI's Tin Pan South in 1992, an annual celebration in Nashville that has become the largest songwriter festival in the United States.
At the BMI Country Awards, October 3, 2000: BMI's Paige Sober, Janie West, Stephen Bishop, Dene and Ron Anton, BMI's Del Bryant
In addition to his wife, Dene, Anton is survived by children Peter Anton and Wendy Anton, Los Angeles; stepchildren Mark Mann, Oklahoma City and Dinn Mann, Kansas City, Kansas; granddaughters Brianna, Caroline, Dene IV, Anna Beth and Holly.
A private memorial service for Ron Anton was held October 19 at BMI Nashville. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the NSAI, 1701 West End Avenue, 3rd Floor, Nashville, TN 37203 (615/256-3354).