Ralph Poole passed away peacefully in his sleep at home in Arroyo Grande on Friday, June 29th. He was 93.
Born in Los Angeles to William Wiley Poole and Ouida Jane Low, Ralph was raised during the great depression. He attended a variety of schools in southern California, including the Carlin and Marcel Military Academies.
He was attending Fremont High School in L.A. when World War II began. Like many of the “greatest generation” he wanted to join the fight, but he was too young and the U.S. Navy turned him down. Finally in January 1943, still just 17 years old, he dropped out of high school and joined the U.S. Coast Guard. Sent to training on Catalina Island, Ralph became an Apprentice Seaman and joined the crew of the USS Glendale, a Tacoma-class patrol frigate. He was sent to the south Pacific where the ship and crew saw lots of action in and around the New Guinea Theater.
Discharged in April 1946, Ralph loved life at sea, so he decided to join the Merchant Marine. He spent two years running oil tankers between the Gulf States and the mid Atlantic. During these voyages, he became interested in photography and decided to use the GI Bill to attend photography school. After two years of school, he began work for the brand new magazine, Road & Track Magazine, which in turn, led to a lifetime career in publishing.
Ralph met Carlotta Souza while at a dance at the Green Hotel in Pasadena. They immediately fell in love and were married on February 21, 1953. During their 62 years of marriage, they raised four children (William Thomas, John Stanley, Leslie Rena and William Wiley), had eight grandchildren, and nine great-grand children.
Ralph began freelance photography work in 1963, working primarily in the automotive field. However, an active interest in boating led him to find work in that industry for companies such as Glasspar Boats and Chrysler Marine, as well as others.
An adventurer by heart, Ralph joined writer and friend Spence Murray on two long cruises of the Gulf of California aboard a 25 foot boat, producing a couple of well known, pioneering books on the subject of cruising in Mexico.
The two friends thirst for adventure led them to try and break the automotive speed record from Tijuana to La Paz, which was the holy grail of rugged off-road adventure. They succeeded beyond any expectations, breaking the existing record by almost half, while driving a stock American Motors Rambler. The sanctioned Baja 1000 race began the following year and he is credited for helping to start this famous event.
In 1971, Ralph & Carlotta started their own publishing company, launching the first issue of Trailer Boats Magazine. While the first decade was tumultuous, with grit and determination they survived, and by the 1980s a second publication, The Western Boatman, was started. Eventually five different magazines were created and in 2003 they sold the company after 32 years of ownership.
Retirement found Ralph & Carlotta cruising aboard their trawler, Poco-A-Poco. They went from Alaska to Maine, via the Panama Canal during their many years of cruising. Taking along many of their kids and grand kids, they helped teach valuable life lessons and a sense of adventure throughout the family.
Funeral services will be held Friday, July 6th at 1:00 pm at the Marshall-Spoo Sunset Funeral Chapel in Grover Beach, CA and he will be laid to rest next to his beloved wife at the Arroyo Grande Cemetery.