San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD)

CA: Former Transit District Director W. Ronald Coale Dies

On April 17, former Stockton transit district board member W. Ronald Coale passed away at the age of 81. Ron Coale served 1973-83 as a member and chair of the board of directors for the Stockton Metropolitan Transit District (SMTD), predecessor to the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD).

Coale joined the board in 1973 and served as Chair from 1975-83. During his tenure, SMTD began the provision of demand-response (Dial-A-Ride) services. In 1979, SMTD moved into a new, expanded facility from the location where it had begun years earlier as Stockton City Lines. Coale was present at the groundbreaking, cornerstone-laying, and grand opening celebrations for the Metro facility and was one of the featured speakers at its closing ceremony in December 2013. Coale led the effort for an impressive cornerstone dedication ceremony for RTD’s Downtown Transit Center in 2006.

Following his time at SMTD, Coale went on to serve in numerous capacities supporting local government and transportation, including: councilmember and vice-mayor for the city of Stockton (1983-1990); member and chairman of the Stockton Port Commission (1991-2013); member of the San Joaquin Council of Governments Board of Directors; transportation and distribution instructor and advisor to San Joaquin Delta College; manager of the Stockton District Office of the California Public Utilities Commission, where he oversaw passenger and freight transportation matters; and local government consultant for the California Trucking Association.

In addition to his work in the transportation industry, Coale served many local non-profit and service organizations, including the Stockton Salvation Army and the YMCA of San Joaquin County. He was very active in area Masonic organizations and was a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason. He was chairman of the Stockton Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center, which partners with the University of the Pacific Speech and Language Department to provide free speech therapy to about 100 children a week.

RTD appreciates Coale for his many years of service to not only the transit district but to the transportation industry and to our community. He will be greatly missed by those with whom he worked to significantly improve public transit and the transportation system for our region.