Born in Taylorsville, Illinois on January 20, 1941, Ron grew up on a 2600 acre dairy farm.
“I could always draw when I was growing up, only I'd rather draw on people than on paper,” remarked Ron. “I got my first tattoo when I was 11 years old at the Illinois State Fair, and the rest is history.”
A master artist in Denver, who was impressed with how good he could draw, gave Ron his first job as an apprentice. Five years later he was on his way to what is not a 43-year career. Along the way he also drove a truck, worked on the farm, and was a coal miner.
The first tattoo studio Ron worked at was Brezzey's in Illinois.
“Back then tattoos were labeled as only for Harley-Davidson riding, biker gangs. Of course, now, it's the in thing to do.”
With over 1,000,000 tattoos to his credit, Ron also teaches the art of tattooing. He has trained a lot of artists who now work all over the state of Tennessee, including his own son-in-law.
“Vanderbilt Medical Center sends breast cancer mastectomy patients to me to add the final coloring details after the reconstruction surgery,” said Ron.
Down through the years Ron has had requests for designs that may strike some people as odd.
“It's an individual thing,” Ron explained. “What you might like I might not like and what I like you might not like.”
The Grand Ole Opry and Twitty City led Ron Kevie to Macon County. Vacationing in the Middle Tennessee area in the early 80's, he met his wife, Debbie Barber, of Macon County, at a convenience store, in Hendersonville, where she worked.
“It was love at first sight,” Ron grinned, “and we were married in 1986 at Panama City Beach.”
They moved into a log cabin in the Hendersonville area and Ron opened a tattoo studio on Old Hickory Boulevard which he owned and operated for several years before selling out and moving to Lafayette. He opened Forever Yours Tattoo Studio at 120 Hwy. 52 By-Pass West in 1996.
“I have six biological children and six other kids I raised as my own,” Ron said proudly. “I also have nine grandchildren.”
Ron thinks highly of the people here in Macon County and he thoroughly enjoys living in Lafayette.
“When I first moved here, people judged me because of my appearance. I suppose all my tattoos and piercings were a little intimidating, but now I am treated with respect and I, in return, respect the people here. I like the town and I have a lot of good friends.”
Ron specializes in free hand drawing, cover ups, portrait work, tribal hand celtic, people's imaginations and piercings, which his daughter, Kim, does.
With well over 60 customers a week, Forever Yours is open every day from 11 till 9, except Sunday.
“Once you get your first tattoo, you'll be back.”