Ron Goben — top editor at Bay Area newspapers
Ron Goben, a longtime Bay Area journalist who was a top editor at the Palo Alto Times and Peninsula Times Tribune for more than two decades, seemed to subscribe to every newspaper and magazine ever published.
He was passionate about newspapers, reporters and the written word. He was also passionate about dogs, cats, politics and banana cream pie.
Mr. Goben died June 20 of cancer at a hospital in Placerville (El Dorado County). He was 88.
A native of Rock Island, Ill., Mr. Goben was a graduate of Northwestern University and a U.S. Army veteran. He worked in Tokyo for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes and for the Honolulu Star Bulletin before moving to the Bay Area in 1964.
From 1964 to 1988, Mr. Goben was a reporter, assistant city editor, city editor, news editor and editorial writer for the Palo Alto Times and the Peninsula Times Tribune, which was formed when the Times merged with the Redwood City Tribune in 1979. He directed those newspapers’ local news coverage, calmly mentoring young reporters and inviting staff members’ children to bang away at the manual typewriters in the hope that they might some day become as hooked on newspapering as he was.
“He was patient and even-tempered, in a profession that often wasn’t,” recalled former Chronicle news editor Jay Johnson, who was a cub reporter under Mr. Goben four decades ago. “He was a pro and a gentleman. I remember when I was just starting, I was told to watch Mr. Goben and to do what he does.”
A series of stories by Mr. Goben in the 1970s about dyslexia was among the first to describe in detail the littleknown medical condition.
After leaving the Times Tribune, Mr. Goben served as a spokesman for Stanford University Medical Center. In 1992, he moved to the Sierra foothill town of Camino (El Dorado County), where he wrote a column for the local paper and served as chairman of the County Democratic Central Committee.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lorraine; his daughter, former Chronicle copy editor Jan Goben of San Francisco; his son, Gregory of Rohnert Park; and two granddaughters.
Plans for a memorial celebration later this summer are incomplete.
Ron Goben wrote one of the first series on dyslexia in the 1970s.