After 61 years, referee still driven by passion

Ron Mousel
Ron Mousel. (Oct. 23, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ron Mousel couldn’t tell you many times he’s blown a whistle.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, no,” Mousel, of Fremont, laughed.

But he can certainly tell you why he does it.

“God put me here to work with kids and I love it,” he said. “This is the beginning of my 61st year as a referee.”

He has officiated contests in seven different sports ranging from elementary school through college.

His career began in 1958 when he was simply trying to earn money for college.

“I would referee a junior varsity basketball game for $5,” Mousel said.

Those earnings helped fund Mousel’s education, which eventually led to a career as a school superintendent. He retired in 2002.

Retiring as a referee is not an option. Even at 78 years old, Mousel doesn’t want to hear about hanging up the whistle.

“I aspire just the opposite, to be honest,” he said. “You’re doing what you’re doing for the kids. That’s my passion.”