TRUCKEE, Calif. — Former Truckee Mayor Ron Florian passed away peacefully at his home in Boise, Idaho, on April 13, 2014. He was 61 years old. Truckee has lost a dear friend.
Ron Florian was born in Sacramento, Calif., on Oct. 1, 1952. He followed his father’s footsteps as a grocer working for Safeway for 28 years.
Ron came to Truckee to manage the old Safeway where Mountain Hardware is today, and to open the new Safeway in 1992. In January of 1995, Ron married the love of his life, Patti, who will tell you Ron was “the sweetest, kindest husband with the quickest wit.”
Truckee, Calif., is where a bond between a man and a place was forged. A bond that was so exceptional many were simply blessed to have borne witness to a union of energy, caring, giving, friendship and of loving a community and the people who comprised it.
Ron Florian was generous in many ways, giving of his time and labors to the benefit of others, many of whom he did not know personally. Ron was a past president of the Truckee Rotary and a member for many years and although that provided an avenue to serve, it did not define him. He gave in so many ways both in the open and quietly on the side.
Perhaps the most prideful achievement of Ron’s life was his service of two terms on the Truckee Town Council, including two terms as Mayor.
Mayor Florian had a sense of what it was to be a part of something big, and very big for a small community. As a member of the Council, Ron was instrumental in establishing Truckee’s Police Department, and in negotiations regarding the Highway 267 Bypass.
Although he might not have been as verbose as others, he had compassion, vision, and an unyielding drive to do what was best for Truckee. Ron conducted himself with reverence for the trust and honor bestowed upon him by his community always ready to do the people’s work with a crisp freshly starched white shirt and smart tie.
Ron Florian enjoyed himself, but more importantly he enjoyed the pleasure of working side by side with the people of Truckee. He treated his colleagues as friends, never adversaries.
Although not always in agreement with them, he loved them and cherished the bond of service together. Ron accepted accolades for accomplishment, but then credited them to the staff, whom he valued, loved and felt did the heavy lifting. He represented the Town with grace, wonderful wit and sense of humor.
Ron and Patti dreamed of owning their own business and together opened Florian’s Fine Wines & Specialty Foods in 1999. Ron was generous with his business, providing raffle items for charities, gift baskets for events, catering personally in his “whites,” and judging the 4th of July parade each year.
There was no opportunity to serve that was too small. Florian’s became a “meeting place” of sorts. A place to catch up on gossip of the day, grab a sandwich, lobby the Mayor-or at least try to. It was also a place where, if timed correctly, one might be invited to “taste” something fine, or have a “pop”in the backroom, if Ron happened to flash you that impish grin.
There was a lot of tasting going on. Eventually, the backroom at Florian’s became known as the “Frank Fat’s of Truckee,” the place where many a good idea was hatched and even a few implemented. It was a pleasure and an honor to be there.
One of the greatest gifts that Ron Florian gave was his commitment to young people. He hired them. He gave them jobs. He taught them how to work. He taught them how to talk to people and look them in the eye. Above all else, he mentored them. He took interest in them as people, treated them with respect and cast them out into the world with something they shall value years from now.
With any luck, they too might forge that bond in another town, in another place and carry forward the legacy of one very special man, Ron Florian.
A memorial is planned for late June in Truckee. Condolences can be sent to Patti Florian at email@example.com or mailed to 6216 N. Park Meadow Way, #210, Boise, ID, 83713. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ron’s name to the American Lung Association.
— Ted Owens is a former Truckee mayor and former Nevada County supervisor.