Welcome to the memorial site for Ronald Dewitt Carlston, beloved husband, father, and papa.  His family encourages you to create an account and leave testimonials below or upload photos to the right.


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Memorial Service

The memorial service for Ron was held on Wednesday, August 24th at 1:00pm at Peace Lutheran Church in Danville, CA (  Ron was honored by eulogies from business associates and friends Don Harvill and Geoff Dettlinger, cousin Edith Carlston, and church/family friend Gun Johnston.  Ron's daughter Jeanne and grandchildren Jamie, Haley, and Jackson also shared their thoughts and memories of their beloved father and grandfather.  Where possible, the words spoken at the service have been added to the "Stories" section of this site.


Ron had specified the following charities as those he would like to support with donations in his name:

The Yosemite Fund

Now the Yosemite Conservancy, Ron's family has a long history of visiting Yosemite.  Visit the following website to donate:

Donations can also be sent to:

Yosemite Conservancy
101 Montgomery Street, Suite 1700
San Francisco, CA 94104 

Boy Scouts of America, Mount Diablo Silverado Council

Ron was an Eagle Scout, and had fond memories of summers at Camp Wolfboro.  Donations are handled via an external site linked from the MDSC website.  Click on the "Donate Online" button on the following page:

Donations can also be sent to:

BSA, Mount Diablo Silverado Council
800 Ellinwood Way
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 

Peace Lutheran Church

The Peace community has been very important to the Carlston Family for many years.  Donations can be sent to:

Peace Lutheran Church
3201 Camino Tassajara
Danville, CA 94506

Please contact the church at (925) 648-7000 or if you have any questions or concerns.



Posted by Kloe Knoll on August 19, 2021
I can’t believe that 10 years have passed by because I can still hear your hearty laugh! You left me with a wonderful memory of a man that that thoroughly enjoyed life! ❤️
Posted by Larry Carilli on August 19, 2021
Ten years gone.
Your memory is still fresh in our thoughts and in our hearts.
Thank you Ron for all the good you did for so many.
Your heart and kindnesses live on as examples to us all.
My thoughts and prayers continue for the Carlston family.
Larry Carilli
Posted by Larry Carilli on July 18, 2020
Another year gone by and yet you have left a lasting impression on so many.
You are still missed Ron. Still speak fondly of you when I brag about my friend that showed up at my new house with a bulldozer and leveled my entire yard and spent a weekend helping me build a wall. Your heart was huge and your memory intact with me and so many others.
My fondest regards to the Carlston family
Posted by Larry Carilli on August 19, 2019
With a smile today, I still think of a man that left a lasting legacy of a warm heart, kind soul and a reminder of a man so well respected.
Ron, you are greatly missed.
Best regards to the Carlston family today.
Posted by Susan Burleson on July 18, 2019
We miss Ron. We think about the wonderful times we enjoyed with Ron & Nancy. Ron was bigger than life --- so generous and a wonderful guy. He was an example we could follow ... he lived a full life, doing what many only dreamed about doing. God is protecting Ron ... Ron is with our Lord & Savior.
Posted by Larry Carilli on July 18, 2019
Good thoughts today of a man that led by example and loved from his heart.
I am certain the Carlston family are remembering you fondly and the great smile you shared with them and the others in your life.
Still miss Ron.
Posted by Jeanne Carlston Kaplan on July 19, 2018
We miss Ron every day, and today especially. Many of life's most precious events--the marriages, births, graduations--have happened in his absence. At those times, we always leave a seat at the table for him. Somehow, we always find a sign (like a ray of sunshine, a dragonfly, or a perfect meal) that reminds us that as long as he remains in our hearts, he is with us. Happy 84th Birthday, Daddy. We are so lucky that you were ours.
Posted by Larry Carilli on July 18, 2018
Seven years later and I still think of Ron.
Miss our conversations and his insights.
Ron, hoping you are at rest and smiling knowing the legacy and kindnesses you left behind are still remembered.
Good thoughts and prayers to the Carlston family on this anniversary date.
Larry Carilli
Posted by Susan Burleson on August 20, 2016
Ron is truly missed. We can hardly believe he's been gone for 5 years. We miss the wonderful times we had with Ron & Nancy --- the trip to the Kentucky Derby, Tahoe, the many dinners, and Milt's lunches with Ron. So many good times --- wonderful, special memories of a great guy and dear friend!
Posted by keith willig on August 19, 2016
I have to say that I always looked forward to hearing Ron's voice. We heard it when we visited or they visited with my folks..... always a good time.
Posted by ellen carlston on July 18, 2016
RON Sr....You are so missed by everyone!...XO Ellen and kids
Posted by Larry Carilli on July 18, 2015
Nancy and Family,
Even though Ron has left us, he still remains a presence in my life.
When I think of Ron, I think gracious, caring, integrity and loyal.
I am sure you know that he led by example and was a positive influence on everyone that knew him.
Larry Carilli
Posted by ellen carlston on August 19, 2014
We miss you so much is not the same without you...
El& kids xoxo
Posted by Arlene Reed on August 19, 2013
Dear Nancy and Family,
Just wanted you to know my love and prayers are with you. We will always miss and treasure Ron.
Posted by Kloe Knoll on July 18, 2013
I still think of you every Friday night ! Your smile that would light up the room and warm my heart is not forgotten. Whenever I see Nancy, I get a little lump in my throat because you should be following her thru the door to give me a hug! i feel like your daughter is my beautiful sister! I can't look at the bottle of Crown without thinking of you. I raise my glass to you!
Posted by Betty Daniels on July 19, 2012
Erle an I always enjoyed visiting with you and Nancy in California. love, betty and erle
Posted by ellen carlston on July 18, 2012
Happy Birthday Papa! i finally got my new car it wasnt the same without you! I love and miss you so much! your always and forever in my heart<3 Love, Haley Rae
Posted by ellen carlston on July 18, 2012
Dear Ron Sr ...Thank you for being the best father in law!!! I miss you!
Love,Ellen & kids Xo
Posted by Jamie Carlston on July 17, 2012
Well it's your birthday tomorrow Papa... not a day goes by that your not on my mind and heart. I miss our talks, and your infectious smile. I'll be sure to enjoy a scoop of our favorite Nocciola gelato tomorrow.
Love you. -Jamie Lee
Posted by Luisito & Jesusa Herce on November 27, 2011
We are deeply saddened about the passing of Mr. Ron Carlston Sr.
He was a well respected and highly dignified employer, and will always be remembered for his kindness and generosity. Our sincere condolences and prayers to the whole Carlston family.
Posted by Larry Carilli on September 5, 2011
I can only say that the world has lost one of the best men created. He was a generous and kind human being, with a heart and an ear for everyone. I am proud to have known him. My love and prayers to his family. Peace Ron
Posted by Pat Metcalf on September 4, 2011
Ron was one of a kind!! So sad to hear this news, The Metcalf family sends our prayers and know he will be missed by many. I remember him as a very kind and loving person, he always had time for his employees and took time to make you feel welcome. We will all miss him.
Posted by george philpott on August 27, 2011
Ron was simply the best. Our families had a long business relationship, which was always special. Everyone that knew Ron was better for it.
Posted by Laurel Carlson Knapp on August 26, 2011
Ron and I met in 4th grade, 1944, atg the Pinole "school on the hill."After RUHS graduation in 1952, our paths crossed only at HS reunions. Our last names creatged a bond that remained and I enjoyed our chats every 5 years. So sad that he is gone.
Posted by Laurel Carlson Knapp on August 26, 2011
Ron and I met in 1944 in 4th grade at the Pinole "school on the hill." After graduation from RUJHS in 1952, our paths crossed only at HS runions. It was always a pleasure to chat with Ron and Nancy and I will miss that. My condolences to the family.
Posted by Ola Irvine on August 24, 2011
My sincere condolences & prayers to the Carlston Family. I'm grateful to have known a very special, compassionate, generous, kind, respected & humurous man. Not only was he my employer, but he was someone I respected w/ many admirable qualities. Thank You Ron! See you in Heaven.
Posted by Jeff Barnes on August 24, 2011
Ron’s honesty and integrity made him one of the most respected people in the industry and a definite pleasure to do business with. He will be missed by all. My condolences to his entire family.
Posted by Anna Mollerup on August 24, 2011
We received the news of Ron’s passing with such sorrow. Ron and Nancy have always opened their home to me and my family from Denmark with love and generosity. I will never forget Ron taking my mom for a ride in that Ferrari! Our thoughts are with Nancy, Jeanne and the family
Posted by Elaine Lucia on August 24, 2011
I had the pleasure of working for Ron at Western Machinery. He was a very generous and kind man. Ron made a huge impact on my life. I am so blessed that he was a part of my life and I will forever be grateful for that. God bless Ron and his loved ones during this difficult time.
Posted by Marvin Boock on August 23, 2011
Ron was more than the owner of Western Machinery. He was a mentor, father figure and friend We were blessed to know and work for this extraordinary man who lived life on a grand scale, yet was genuine and kind. Ron, "a hui ho", till we meet again.
Posted by Greg Smith on August 23, 2011
We at Allied Construction Products, LLC are saddened by the passing of Ron Carlston. Ron's Western Traction Company was one of Allied's premier Distributors that was the "longest-running" with a 30+ year affiliation with Allied. Our deepest sympathies to Ron's family.
Posted by Joseph Donovan on August 23, 2011
Ron was my competitor and then my employer but through it all he was a good friend. I'll truly miss him.
Posted by Janice Fassiotto on August 23, 2011
Many have been touched by Ron's generosity, so kind and sincere. One of his gifts was his sense of humor and the smile that went with it. It was a privilege to know this special man and be part of his life. May God be with your family and give you strength in the days ahead.
Posted by Thomas Boergers on August 23, 2011
I was sorry to hear of Ron's passing. He was a good business man and true to his word. He never forgot a promise. I enjoyed talking to Ron and gaining his insight on issues. My best to the family
Posted by keith willig on August 23, 2011
Ron and Nancy are l o n g time friends of our family, not sure but maybe even before i was born. Ron was there when my father passed away, this year. We all had dinner the night before. My family and i will always appreciate his kindness and treasure his pressence in our lives.
Posted by Grace Butler on August 23, 2011
Ron was an amazing man to know; though years may have passed, my fondness of Ron has never waned. Ron was always a caring and thoughtful person, and continually challenged me to be prepared for the future, or the unknown for which I am grateful.Until we meet again, Ron. Godspeed.
Posted by Douglas Sim on August 23, 2011
Ron Carlston was a tough competitor. Through all the deals we competed for - win or lose - he did it with class. I have always admired the man.
Posted by Milt Burleson on August 23, 2011
Ron was a real icon in the construction industry. His passion for integrity and performance was only exceeded by his bigger than life personality and generosity. I will miss our lunches and car talk...
Posted by Karen Brower-Hunt on August 23, 2011
Jerry and I send our prayers to your family. Ron was a very important man in my father's (Tom Brower)life. My father respected and appreciated everything Ron did for him. Sincerely - Karen Brower Hunt
Posted by Karen Brower-Hunt on August 23, 2011
I enjoyed working for Ron through the years and sharing our experiences about growing up in Richmond. We send our deepest sympathies to your family. Sincerely - Jerry Hunt
Posted by Roxanne Morgan-Sconza on August 23, 2011
Thank you Ron for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Western Traction Family...when I didn't even know the difference between a front loader or a backhoe. It was an honor & a privilege to be taught by the BEST!!
Posted by David Whiteside on August 22, 2011
Since meeting Ron, I have always been inspired by him.
He is a man of integrity, with remarkable character and spirit. We will miss Ron, he was one of a kind.
My condolences and prayers to Nancy and the entire Carlston Family
Posted by John Carlston on August 22, 2011
Always a warm, firm handshake, always a big grin, and a great sense of humor. Ron was a real gentleman. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy, his children and grandchildren.
Posted by Betty Tietsort on August 22, 2011
My dearest Nancy, I send my love to you and your incredible family, all have been guided by your wonderful Ron and you my dear friend. You have always been a fantastic lady. A great team for all who shared your life. Cherish the memories, build some new ones, Love Betty & Dick
Posted by Lou Pacheco on August 22, 2011
Our hearts are heavy and our memories full with the joy of the generous and caring man we knew as Ron Carlston. The guidance he provided to his family and the loving partnership he had with Nancy was inspiring. May the blessing of his life sustain the family in their sorrow.
Posted by Greg Miller on August 22, 2011
Ron Carlston was a man of character, integrity, and his reputation was second to none. A very honorable man. Heartfelt condolences and prayers to the entire Carlston family.
Posted by Robert G. Brosamer on August 22, 2011
I met Ron in the late 50s when he ran a Hopto 500 in a
demo. He always had that bigger than life personality.
Ron was our go to guy for cranes.His enthusiasm and support picked Nate and I up during the tough times
Posted by Robert E. Smith on August 22, 2011
Ron, I have always loved you. every time I was in trouble(that was a lot of the time) you always there to bail me out. I thank you for every thing you've done for me. we met in 1957 when we were both still kids. It's going to be hard to go forward without you to take care of me.
Posted by Arlene Reed on August 22, 2011
Dear Nancy and Family,
The tributes written about Ron underscore his integrity, generosity, and love of family. We, at Peace Lutheran, have been blessed to have him as our friend and advisor. My deepest sympathy and love to each of you. Arlene
Posted by Chris Wolford on August 22, 2011
Ron meant so much to so many, he was always such an inspiration to people he touched. His integrity and never ending inner strength provided all of us an example of what we should strive to be. Such a strong yet kind man. My heart goes out to Nancy and the entire Carlston family.
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Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Kloe Knoll on August 19, 2021
I can’t believe that 10 years have passed by because I can still hear your hearty laugh! You left me with a wonderful memory of a man that that thoroughly enjoyed life! ❤️
Posted by Larry Carilli on August 19, 2021
Ten years gone.
Your memory is still fresh in our thoughts and in our hearts.
Thank you Ron for all the good you did for so many.
Your heart and kindnesses live on as examples to us all.
My thoughts and prayers continue for the Carlston family.
Larry Carilli
Posted by Larry Carilli on July 18, 2020
Another year gone by and yet you have left a lasting impression on so many.
You are still missed Ron. Still speak fondly of you when I brag about my friend that showed up at my new house with a bulldozer and leveled my entire yard and spent a weekend helping me build a wall. Your heart was huge and your memory intact with me and so many others.
My fondest regards to the Carlston family
Recent stories

The heart of Ron Carlston

Shared by Larry Carilli on August 19, 2014

Three years and I can't believe he is gone.  He was someone that stood out with his heart and his genuine, sincere deeds.  He cared.  Just cared about others.

Ron left that kind of impression on people.  

Many years ago, Ron was a customer (and a friend) of our family restaurant business.  One day in conversation, I mentioned I was taking my wife and two young children on a three week camping trip, to learn about our country.  He asked me how I was traveling.  I told him we were driving the family car from site to site.  Ron imediately said NO!  That would not be a comfortable way to travel and camp with kids.  The next day he showed up at my house and presented me with a beautiful, custom, luxury van for us to use.  He said this is the way you are going to do your trip.  Even years later, I am still touched by such a generous, heartfelt gesture.  I have many more such stories of his generous heart, but you all probably have very similiar stories of your own.

I will always think of Ron with that great big smile and with gratitude of knowing him.

Larry Carilli

Ron's Eulogy by Geoff Dettlinger

Shared by Peter Kaplan on September 22, 2011

Nancy asked that I say a few words today.  I was also asked several years earlier by the man we are here to remember.  I think we were at lunch, or maybe a bar, when he said, “I want you to do my eulogy”.

I said, “WHAT?  WHEN?  WHY ME”?

He said, “You know me best and I’ve always liked the way you tell stories”.

Nancy has asked, as did my wife Judy, to “try to keep it light and humorous.”  Well, that is going to be tough to do, as every time I think about Ron I am saddened, and he’s all I’ve thought about for the last 10 days.  Please bear with me as I reflect and share some stories of our times together over the years.

I met Ron in Pomona, CA in 1976 at FMC Wayne Street Sweeper Company where I had just started as sales manager.  I was mostly impressed with his stature, his presence, and his wardrobe.  As I got to know and see more of Ron, I experienced the warmth, the character, the knowledge, and the casual but professional demeanor he was best know for.  Four years later he asked me to join him at Western Traction as Sales Manager.

What truly impressed me was his extensive knowledge of the history of road building, underground construction, structure, and foundation work in our market.  He knew ALL the principals and key employees of every firm he called on.  I was equally amazed that they all knew him.

For many years he did most of the selling himself.  Well, no wonder, nobody knew the products, their applications, and capabilities better than he.  He could masterfully operate everything he offered for sale.

In my first years with Western Traction I watched Ron negotiate with several equipment manufacturers that he represented.  These were the tough economic days of the early 80’s, with 21% interest, tight credit, and slow sales.  Most suppliers would have inventory (tractors, cranes, rollers) at their dealer locations and were charging interest until the items were sold.  The high interest costs were crippling many dealers and distributors, and in many cases putting them out of business.  I watched Ron take on these big giants one at a time, and at the day’s end he had negotiated positive and amicable terms with all.  On the plane home I asked him, “When did you know you had the horsepower to take on these chiefs of industry and MBA account types?”

He answered, “They put on their pants on one leg at a time just like you and I do.  I know my business and what it takes to sell and service their products, and in many cases better than they do”.  He continued, “My job in this situation was to convince them of my abilities and intention to ride this recession out and make them all more than they would by ‘pulling the plug’”.  It was oh so true.  It did all turn around and Western Traction grew like never before.

Ron valued honor and honesty above everything else.  Tell him the truth and he was in your court regardless of the circumstances.  He could almost always see the falsehoods and would steer away from people who would bend the truth.

Ron was my “go to guy” for advice, sports questions, construction queries, and almost every and all of life’s questions.  He was positive and assuring in his advice.  Probably my favorite of Ron’s qualities was his loyalty.  When you entered his inner circle you were there forever.

One day while working the Sacramento territory with Ray Irwin, one of the senior salesmen, Ray referred to Ron as “Captain”.  When I asked where the term came from he said, “I consider Ron to be the captain of the ship Western Traction”.  That night I shared the story with Judy and she has addressed Ron as “Captain” ever since.  When he would call on the phone, she’d say, ”Hello, Captain”, and with the first hug every Friday night at Salvatore’s…”Hi Captain”.  It was the only nickname I ever knew he had.

Early in the mid 80’s there was a thing called investment tax credit, which I think Ronald Reagan initiated to stimulate the recessive economy.  One day at lunch Ron said, “Why don’t we buy a limousine?”

“HUH?” I said.

“Yeah, we hire it out for local special occasions. Proms, Napa trips, city shows, dinners”.  George (not yet a son-in-law) and my sons, Steve and Berger could be the drivers.  “It will be cool” he said.  “We’ll get uniforms. Whaddya Think?”

Well he was the “Captain”.  I did the research and we booked one way tickets to L.A. where we selected our navy blue Lincoln stretch limo with all the “jazz”.  We didn’t get out of there until late afternoon, and spent the first 4 or 5 hours on I-5, sitting side by side in the front seat planning our new venture.  Along the way we made a pit stop for gas.  I went in the mini mart for sodas and snacks and when I returned to our new toy, I found Ron stretched out in the back seat watching M*A*S*H reruns on the TV.  He looked up and simply said, “Home, James.”

When I first met him he was strictly a Coca Cola guy, then all of a sudden it was 7UP, and then iced tea.  First VO & water, then Crown on the Rocks.  Lunch was almost always a club sandwich, and dinner out was usually Veal Marsala.  In Hawaii, it was Piña Coladas; in Australia, Jameson’s Irish whiskey (they don’t have Crown Royal).  Many of you, I’m sure, are aware of some of these and other creature of habit tendencies: the same restaurants, watching the same old movies over and over, clothes and jacket shopping, and despite Nancy’s begging him to stop – buying clothes and never wearing them.

For the last 12-15 years Ron would call to see if I could get away for lunch.  I always could.  He usually showed up at 11:30 and we usually went to 1 of 2 places: Emil Villas or the Claim Jumper.  He almost always ordered the same thing: a cup of vegetable soup and sliced beef with red sauce at Emil Villas, or Chinese Chicken Salad at Claim Jumper.

One day he showed up VERY early and said “Ready?”

I said, “Ron, it’s only 10:30.”

He looked at me with his usual grin and said, “Well, we could go get a hot dog first.”

Ron once asked if I would drive him to Tahoe so he could pick up his truck and drive it back to Danville.  I said there’s got to be a better way than to drive up in one vehicle and back in two.  He thought about it for a while and suggested catching the train in Martinez and taking it to Truckee.

“Sounds good,” I said.

So Nancy checked the schedule, Ron got the tickets, and Judy dropped us off at the station.  For the 5 ½ hour ride thru the valleys and mountains we dined on hot dogs, drank Pepsi, and had a great time.  What we didn’t know was that a docent from the train museum would get on in Sacramento to narrate the trip.  His anecdotes and tales included the history of building the railroad, tales of the Big 4, and all the trials of laying the track and engineering the grades.  Ron was amazed with the guy’s stories.  When we got to Truckee he said “I have to take the grandkids on this ride”.  He did just that a few months later.

Jeanne once told me Ron had almost 100 jackets.  I think the only thing Ron has had more of than new jackets are new cars and trucks.  Speaking of new cars and trucks, I don’t think I have ever met anyone who even matches Ron’s love for new vehicles.  Even his Western Traction vehicles were top of the line.  His service trucks always sported custom paint job and graphics.  They were better looking than any on the road.

I will miss him forever.  He was truly my hero.

Family tribute from cousin Edith Carlston

Shared by Peter Kaplan on September 3, 2011

Our cousin Ron: l am honored to speak for the Carlston family. There are twelve cousins. Those of us born in the thirties and forties were bonded together. Money was tight but we had fun. We climbed the hills, we had picnics in Tilden Park, we went to Playland at the Beach, we went to the San Francisco Zoo and had an unforgettable camping trip to Yosemite. We also worked together. Weekends were spent helping our grandparents, helping our Dads with the endless concrete projects and in the summer picking fruit in Brentwood and Fairfield. ln the fall it was walnut season. We went to the Knox Ranch in Danville and worked in the walnut orchards. Ron, being the oldest grandchild, worked the hardest. Even as a young boy, he worked hard building chicken coops and dealing with all things chicken. During Ron's teenage years he worked at service stations, and also made brushes for the Wayne Sweepers with his Dad. He even welded together a machine to help cut the fibers for making the brushes more quickly. I don't know of a time Ron didn't work hard.

Ron had the opportunity to know our Grandfather best. Just recently Ron shared some of the times he spent with Grandpa and I believe those times were instrumental in shaping Ron's values as to the importance of family. Later as we grew up and had our busy careers we still had family dinners and ski trips to Utah staying with Uncle Pete and Aunt Eleanor. Over the years, Ron has been a pillar supporting the family. He always made time to visit his Aunts and extended family. He and Nancy organized incredible family trips for their children and grandchildren. They provided lovely retreat homes in Scottsdale and Tahoe-Northstar. Ron kept alive his love of baseball, drums, all things mechanical and, of course, fast and beautiful cars.

Ron often mentioned how our fathers had married strong, bright and beautiful women. He followed that example when he married Nancy. They complimented each other in every way. Nancy told the story of the time they were dating and she mentioned that her backyard was a mess of weeds. Ron told her he would rototill her yard for her. Rototilling and doing yard work was something Ron had been doing for years. He showed up and in one day rototilled and planted a vegetable garden. Nancy said to herself " He's the man for me! "And he was. They built a wonderful life together with family being number one.

Ron was a leader with his family, with his extended family and with his successful career. He had strong values and principals combined with a work ethic that was unsurpassed. He will always be remembered as the real deal. With utmost love and respect, Edith