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Published January 29th, 2014
Remembering Longtime Lafayette Resident Ron Wilbur
Ron Wilbur

A Bon Voyage Open House was held Jan. 11 to honor the passing of Ronald E. Wilbur, a 72-year resident of Lafayette. The freeway took the first house he lived in at age 4. It was at the end of Brown Avenue. Ron started Lafayette Grammar School in first grade, as there was no kindergarten, and then went straight to Acalanes, as there also was no middle school. He married Barbara Lawrence, who he had met in fifth grade. At his death, they had been married 56 years. Four children and eight grandchildren plus other family helped host the Jan. 11 event. Each child and grandchild made a poster of "Poppa" photos that were hung in a gallery, which they created in the barn.
Ron's vow when he completed college was "I never want to be a salesman" and yet life proved otherwise. He started with Penn Mutual; next, he was the youngest detail man ever hired by then Smith Kline and French. Later, he purchased J. Marie Martin Co., a small west coast table pad manufacturing business, and for 23 years he worked and expanded the company across the nation. He opened an additional plant in Rockland, Maine, where the family had acquired a summer home. He and Barbara developed a farm on Maui along the way. It later became a Bed and Breakfast.
Ron was an enthusiastic builder of houses, barns, farms, businesses, boats, friendships - but more importantly, a wonderful family. He hiked the John Muir Trail twice with friend Dave Brown, together they sailed the Atlantic coast and skied mountains; Ron pushed limits or he just didn't recognize their existence. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a fatal cancer of the bone marrow, almost five years ago. In those five years intensive research has been done. He was treated at UCSF which is cutting edge in the treatment of MM. Thanks to new research and treatments it is hoped the word "fatal" may soon no longer apply to this cancer.

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