Ronald Kay Greenslate passed away in the small hours of October 30, 2022, at his home in Vacaville, California; he was 89 years old. Ron was born January 21, 1933, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Harry and Mary Greenslate. He married Barbara Ann Haugen, on June 13, 1952, in Yuma, Arizona. They were married for 62 years. He is survived by his children, Larry of Vacaville, Michael of Cobb Mountain, and Kelly of San Mateo; five grandchildren, Megan, Emily, Drew, Gavin, and Victoria. He is also survived by four great-grandchildren, Kaden, Jenner, Adelie, and Magnolia.
Ron was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, father Harry G. Greenslate, mother Mary Greenslate, brother Marvin Lee Greenslate and step-brother Don C. Salmon.
He graduated from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he was President of the National Honor Society, Quill and Scroll and Tri-State Hi-Y, Y-teens. He was the managing editor of the high school newspaper and was a delegate to Boy’s State. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in Combat Information Center aboard the attack aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Essex (CVA-9). He received the Navy Commendation Medal, the Korean War Medal with four combat stars, the Good Conduct Medal, and other awards. Following his honorable discharge, he attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Journalism.
He was hired as news director at KPRL Radio Station in Paso Robles, later becoming general manager. While in Paso Robles, he served several terms as President of the Area Campfire Girls Council and was the recipient of the Gullick Award, the highest honor in Campfire. In 1966, the family moved to Napa, where he was a minority owner and general manager of KVON Radio Station.
He ran unsuccessfully for the State Assembly in 1976. He served ten years on the Napa County Board of Education and was building chairman for Wintun School. He served as President of the Napa County School Board Association and as chairman of Young Audiences of Napa Valley. He served 15 years as founding chairman of the Napa-Iwanuma, Japan Sister City Committee. He was vice president of the Napa Chamber of Commerce and served two terms as chairman of the Napa Downtown Merchants Association. He was a past president of the Napa Kiwanis Club. A member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a Life Member of the National Rifle Association.
Ron was a dedicated blood donor and was pleased to be able to be a 100-pint donor to the local blood bank.
From 1973 to 1976, he was employed as executive director of the Napa Valley Economic Development Council and was a driving force in getting three major projects funded and built: the Southern Crossing, Lombard Crossing, and Brazos Bridge. He also represented Napa County on the Golden Gate Bridge District’s Board of Directors.
For many years, he worked with the late Herb and Jane Gunn and later their children to create a new vision for development of 471 acres in the Napa Airport area. The land had been in the Jane Greenwood Gunn family since 1860. Greenslate helped design a plan to attract a clean industry and provide good jobs in an employee-friendly environment. To that end, the Gunn family contracted with Pacific Union Company, with Charles Slutzkin as project manager. The Gunns, Slutzkin, and Greenslate worked in harmony to attract such companies as The Doctors Company, Santen Pharmaceuticals, Applied Pressure Technology, Prolab Orthotics USA, Domaine Napa, the Napa County Sheriffs Department, and Wine Service Co-op. Great attention was given in the planning process to design, infrastructure, landscaping, architecture, setbacks, parking, and the preservation of Sheehy Creek. Greenslate was instrumental in the activation of Community Service Area No. 3, which resulted in construction and operation of the Greenwood Ranch Fire Station.
For 21 years, Ron’s office was located on the second floor of the historic Greenwood House off Airport Boulevard. He said it gave him great satisfaction to look out the windows and see people going to work at jobs he helped bring to the community.
Above all else, Ron loved his family and cherished friends, all of whom he and Barbara showered with love and affection. Their many Fourth of July parties on Delbrook Drive were special events. They traveled the world together and called both Napa and El Paso de Robles home. For more than 30 years, he enjoyed deer hunting with friends in the most beautiful place on earth, Cedar Canyon, out along the Bitterwater Valley east of Paso.
Ron was an ardent and accomplished correspondent and storyteller. He wrote letters to the papers, to strangers, to the children he supported abroad, and to his beloved friends and family. Many of those letters are treasured keepsakes; all of them were full of advice, appreciation, and encouragement. “Live below your means, travel, and enjoy life,” he counseled. He wrote ghost stories for his grandchildren and led them and their Grandma on wild adventures. He designed elaborate contests and was the braggiest winner and poutiest loser imaginable. He loved laughter, palmistry, birds, reading, marbles, dominos, cards, and jigsaw puzzles. He enjoyed the morning paper and his view of the Riverpark turning basin and south valley skies.
At the end, Ron carried two notes in his wallet: From The Kasidah, 1880, this couplet of four imperishable lines.
“Do what thy manhood bids thee do, from none but self expect applause;
He noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps his self-made laws.
All other Life is living Death, a world where none but Phantoms dwell,
A breath, a wind, a sound, a voice, a tinkling of the camel-bell.”
. . . and on a torn scrap of paper, the names of his and Barbara’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Ron will be inurned and reunited with Barbara in the Main Mausoleum at Tulocay Cemetery. There will be no services.
Barbara Ann Greenslate
In dappled sunlight on the evening of June 2, 2014, Barbara Ann Greenslate peacefully succumbed after a long and courageous battle against the ravages of Alzheimer’s. Barbara was born February 3, 1931, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Rueben and Bertha Haugen. Her family came to California in 1944 as part of the war effort when her father went to work as a welder building ships for the Navy.
Barbara graduated from Mountain View Adventist Academy in 1949 and then attended Pacific Union College in Angwin. During one summer’s employment with the Pacific-Connecticut Insurance Company in San Francisco, she met her future husband, Ron, at the old Key System Terminal. Barbara married Ronald K. Greenslate on June 13, 1952, in Yuma, Arizona. Following Ron’s discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1955, the family moved to Paso Robles, California; and then in 1966, they moved to Napa, California.
After many years as a successful homemaker, Barbara began a second career in the Napa County Election Department, becoming County Election Supervisor and Assistant Registrar of Voters. Upon her retirement, she continued to work as a consultant and supervised elections throughout California and from Alaska to Florida.
Barbara was always young at heart. She was happiest when she was with her family and the many treasured friends she made in Paso Robles and Napa. Her beautiful smile and signature hugs will never be forgotten by anyone who received one. Barbara was adventurous, and she and Ron traveled the world together. She enjoyed tennis, hiking, playing cards, and especially a rousing game of marbles or reading mystery novels, which she loved.
Barbara was survived by her beloved husband of 62 years, Ron Greenslate, of Napa; children, Larry, Michael, and Kelly; grandchildren, Megan, Emily, Drew, Gavin, and Victoria and great-grandchildren, Kaden and Jenner, all richly and dearly loved. Her cherished sisters, Bonnie Bradford and Betty Blackwood; lifelong friend and brother-in-law Don Salmon; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews that she adored also survived her.
Barbara’s family is very grateful for the loving care given to her by the team at Courtside Cottages of Vacaville, California, where she lived since November of 2008.
Inurnment was at Tulocay in Napa, California. No services were held.
As their lives were to us, may their memory always be a blessing.