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Golf Loses Another Giant of a Man, Ralph Ashton

Utah golf has lost another of its greatest, Ralph Ashton.

When Ralph Ashton entered a room everyone noticed. He was tall, handsome, and dignified, and when he spoke everyone listened. His effortless voice could carry to all corners of a room easily; melodious, deep, and warm.  At a broadcasters convention he would have been the envy of all. Microphones were not necessary with him, but importantly, he could also whisper.

This was a man of the ages. Born in Vernal, Utah in 1922 and graduated from Stanford University in 1947, a rare linkage. His formal education was broadened through his service to his country in World War II where he was stationed in the Philippines.

After the war he returned to Vernal and joined his parents and brother in a vast array of very successful business ventures in and around Vernal.

He loved every association with everyone, and everyone knew it because he never forgot them. In an instant he could recall events and associations of his past friends and give them specialness because of his detailed recollection, and this memory was remarkably sharp right up to the time of his death at 92 years of age.

He was one of the community leaders who created the Dinaland Golf Course and was one of the sponsors and big promoters of the Dinaland Open for many years. He moved to Salt Lake in 1982 and joined the Salt Lake Country Club and with his wife, Virginia, was active in the Salt Lake area business and social clubs.

He was a high level golfer, but did not play regularly in tournaments. He was also a natural at basketball and tennis and he developed lifetime associations with his fellow competitors.

Ron Branca, head professional at The Country Club, said, “Ralph was very popular at the club and was consistently upbeat, happy, and wonderful to be with. He could tell stories with the best of them.”

He had broad interests that extended far beyond golf and athletics, including politics, religion, the arts, and the sciences. He was formally educated and could converse at ease with experts on a vast array of subjects.

At any gathering he was always dominate, but gracefully never dominating. He always had time for others in his life.

Please read the obituary for many of the details of his long and productive life. His character and grace are worthy of emulation of all and the UGA extends its respect to his daughters and sons and their families. He hasn’t left them. He will always be with them, and us.

To view the obituary in Salt Lake Tribune click HERE