We should begin these stories under the disclosure: “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!”
As Mike and I began to sit down, we realized that this is the middle of the month of March, and this is a past memorable month for a Marty Ruberry Birthday party.
Now Marty and Mike have August birthdays, but Marty looked around and realized there was a plethora of friends who had March birthdays. Marty also knew that Mike had partial ownership in a suite at the Shark Tank. The Sharks don’t play in August.
Marty felt all the March birthdays should be aggregated and Mike should throw a party in his suite at a Sharks’ Game.
I also believe that he felt he was doing Mike a favor by exposing him to all his friends, who a lot of them had March birthdays.
So, about this time, every March until Mike no longer owned the suite, there was a birthday bash thrown in Mike’s suite at The Shark Tank.
So, it’s only appropriate that all the March birthdays in the room stand up for one last March Birthday Bash thrown by Marty Ruberry.
By the way, Mike do any of these birthday celebrants owe you money from those parties?
I remember the beginning like I remember where I was when JFK was shot, where I was when the Loma Prieta Earthquake hit. Without exaggerating, looking back, meeting Marty Ruberry impacted my life.
Marty and Mary Ruberry, Bob and Jan Paul, became members at SHGCC in mid to late 1989, which means our first social event at Sharon Heights was the President’s Ball in early 1990, which was coincidentally the inauguration of Dave Miller as Club President.
Jan and I knew nothing of what to expect at this event. As we arrived in tuxedo and gown, we were greeted with a reception line where before we entered, we had to pin on our outfits a silver oak leaf designating us as rookies.
We felt as being under the microscope without any inkling of what we were trying not to do.
My wife’s short or long list of anticipated life experiences never once came up membership in SHGCC as a MUST.
Well, standing in that reception line, Jan looked at me and very emphatically stated: “I know this membership is very important to you, and I know you truly wanted this to happen, I am very happy for you. All I’ve got to say is take a good look at me and a good look at this place because THIS will be the last time you’ll see me here.”
We sat for dinner with two or three other “Silver Oak Leaf” rookies and it was ok…not exactly momentous. I won’t use an actual name, but I will use an imaginary one. This one couple that we knew previously were the Figlietti’s. Around town he was called “Fig.” But that night, as I recognized him, he started introducing him to others he corrected my pronunciation as Mike Fihletti! I thought to myself, oh so this is what the Silver Oak Leaf breeds!
It so happened as I went to the bar for another cocktail, I ran into this very friendly guy, with not only a silver oak leaf, but a white dinner coat. A guy named Marty.
Within moments we were brothers from another mother and as our conversations went the way of a couple of inner-city guys sharing the stories of our city Civil Service employed Dads, growing up in Irish Catholic grammar and high schools. I had found my coach.
We met Mary from the Bronx who found a pal of Jan from the City. Our two ladies transformed what was a bland evening into a previously mandated “coats on” to a “coats off” Mexican hat dance. Most importantly I found my coach who would get me through not only this inaugural evening but also the truly great journey of membership at SHGCC. It was our first of many “Final-Final” occasions
As we continued to party, we discovered Mary had said the same thing to Marty upon arrival.
The irony was that less than 5 years later we were in the greeting line again, for the inauguration of President Marty Ruberry.
I was at best an occasional golfer and because of my SHGCC “Coach” I was involved in games and matches that if Marty hadn’t been there, I would have never experienced “The impossible Dream”
games, the trips to Ireland, Scotland, England and the adventures in the deserts of California and Arizona.
Before “The Beginning”
Marty and I shared some very funny experiences before we were actually accepted into SHGCC.
Our respective first sponsors didn’t work out for a myriad of reasons, which is a story in itself.
Through unrelated other contacts, we were finally able to coercive enough people to re-start the process.
SHGCC during that period had spent some capital on making the club more family friendly and with that a weighted parameter was potential members with families.
We both had work to do.
Work to do with mates that were NOT excited about entertaining men coming to our houses to check them and the house out.
Both our partners were very successful in their respective arenas and this part of the membership process was to them weird.
After many frantic phone calls and “WTF are you?” to our brides, who levels of interest were just about zero. Marty’s lead interrogator, an MD, and Membership Committee Chair, recognized that Marty was CEO of Black Mountain Water.
The good doctor spent most of the “getting to know you” segment citing medical cases where some patients had dark colored stools that he felt were caused by mega amounts of Black Mount Water.
My Caddy Mary
It was a Saturday morning game, playing one of many rounds with Marty, and as we made the turn, out of the parking lot comes Mary.
I gave her a hug, but soon realized there was some other agenda going on.
Marty said they had a little spat, so Mary was there to patch things up. Her plan was to accompany us as a spectator.
Well, situations like this become appropriately complex, especially back in those days, women were not allowed on the golf course on Saturday before noon.
So, Marty allowed Mary to stay, but she had to charade as not only a caddy, but a young boy caddy.
Mary, without missing a beat, tucks her hair under her cap, rolls her pants up and heads to the 10th tee.
In transit, she grabs my bag.
I said, “Mary please, you don’t have to carry my bag, just tag along.”
Mary immediately said: “Bobby just give me the f—— bag!”
After a few holes, the spatting couple had made up and Marty sent his caddy back for refreshments.
Mary, being Mary! Marty being Marty!
I’ve always told her: “I have never met a woman who is so in love with a man as you are with Marty.”
Marty wants happiness, until….
I was extremely fortunate to play many rounds of golf with Marty, often with players of new acquaintance.
There was a very typical underlying compassion towards especially those who were new or sufficiently inferior to his game.
Marty wanted everyone to have a great time until….
Marty would console, give putts, mulligans and guarantee it wasn’t their fault if someone was hitting sideways.
I know, I often was one of those until…
Until the 18th tee when he looked at the scorecard and realized he was down 3 and 1.
Then, the games began.
It was an automatic railroad or Aloha bet with 1 ½ , 1, or ½ stroke given for $50 on a $5 Nassau.
He wanted you to have fun…he just didn’t want to lose.
Back in the day, SHGC would have a group of kids show up for Saturday morning rounds to carry bags, for a fee.
The kids would line up on the far end of the old clubhouse and wait in line for a bag. As players left the practice range, they’d selectively grab one of them and give them a loop.
Marty was typically in one of the final groups going off the 1st.
As that final four or fivesome was teeing off, Marty would look over to the kids and see if any of them left without a loop. The last thing he wanted is to have one of those kids have to call home for a ride back with no game.
He’d call those unemployed kids over to the tee and he’d tell the caddy-less players: “OK you take Johnny, you take Larry and you take Mo.”
And pay them well!
If there were more than 4, Marty would take two.
At any given time, Marty had a caddy running back to the clubhouse to make sure no one was dehydrated.
One of those money needy kids, because of this caddy program, ended up with not only a summer job at Black Mountain Water, but a 4 year funded education at a prominent University by one of his clients.
St. Patty’s Day
Many years ago, there was a St. Patty’s Day that will live on in somewhere between infamy and renown.
St. Patrick’s Day started with Mal Lynch extending an “invitation only” lunch at Herrington’s on Front Street in San Francisco. Mal got us the invite into the limited field of diners and drinkers. Herrington’s the year before had a shooting there, so they had to minimize the attenders.
So, Marty donned a huge green tie that reached all the way to his shoe tops.
Remember Marty was 6’3”, so this was a HUGE tie.
We had lunch at Herrington’s, and nobody was shot.
With a designated drive, Jan, we continued the celebration.
From Herrington’s on Front St. to the “Double Play Tavern” in the mission then across town to Funston playground where St. Ignatius was playing Sacred Heart to the Cliff House to the Irish Cultural Center, we partied on.
At the ball game we find ourselves in the stands, sitting in front of Jesuit Priests watching their respective student bodies for poor conduct.
Marty excuses himself and comes carrying 1 large paper bag and 6 smaller bags.
From his South Side Chicago days, he knew we couldn’t consume open containers of beer at a public park so each of us “mature men” (sans Jan) were sipping out of small paper bags while the parents and Priests turned their heads looking for students misbehaving.
And on the expedition proceeded, down Great Highway to the Zoo where the Irish Cultural Center was not so surprisingly built.
Forgot to mention that Bev Lynch, Mary Ruberry, Mike and Myrna Kelly were scheduled to meet us at the Irish Cultural Center scheduled about 2 hours earlier.
So Bev, Mary, Mike and Myrna were there conversing with the Irish Cultural Center locals who were, by the time we arrived, speaking Cherokee for nearly 2 hours. And of course, by this time me, me, Marty and Mal spoke it fluently.
After 10 pm, Jan drove me home.
Mike Kelly, being still relatively fresh, had heard of a renown BBQ place on Sloat Blvd., so for them and the Ruberry’s the night was not quite done.
Did I mention who won the SH/SI game…I can’t remember. Better check the trophy.
Marty, like most of us, especially the older version of us, have become particularly quick to evaluate acquaintances and their theories.
Marty, unlike most of us, was reticent to label the obviously insufficient acquaintances or theories as “Jerks or idiots.”
Marty would use “Interesting.”
The net of this story, what you didn’t want to be was an “interesting” person or have an “interesting” idea or be part of an “interesting” concept
If you were FOM, you had many memorable dining experiences with Marty, and they weren’t always in the Men’s Grill.
What I had become accustomed to was in a restaurant, with always a gang at the table, we weren’t always a quiet group, Marty had a premonition that other diners within earshot were not going to be ecstatic we were there.
Instead of asking the people at our table to “quiet it down” he’d simply get up and inform our close proximity dining neighbors:
“We’d like to buy your dinner!”
Then of course, their addresses were recorded and sent to Bev for eternal free home water deliveries.
Marty was the king of getting me in above my head.
I was flattered that he held me in enough esteem to do that.
Sometimes, it was brutally apparent.
Marty’s very best friend, Dave House, after seeing what a great time Marty was having at SHGCC decided he’d like to join.
Marty of course had many members who would have been honored to act as a Sponsor for Dave, but to my delight, Marty chose me.
I took the assignment seriously.
I was lucky enough to have been to Dave’s home
I was lucky enough to have been a guest of many dinners not only at Dave’s home but at remote dinner parties.
I was lucky enough to have been to Dave’s daughter’s wedding.
I was lucky enough to have shared many hospitality industries stories with Dave’s son in law.
I thought, “hell yeah, I can represent his friendship well.
And then the Membership Meeting occurred and right off the bat, a committee member asks me:
“Bob, do you think Dave is heir apparent to the CEO job at Intel?”
I said myself, can’t he ask me the hydrant pressure in Saratoga?
Marty, without missing a beat, killed them with words, and the bullet was dodged.
Dave Miller – SHGCC Member and Past President
I offer some thoughts of special memories Bebes and I have of time with Marty. Others, of course, will speak about Marty and golf as well as his unique gregariousness that served to bring everyone into his world and to feel liked they belonged there.
In my case, special memories flow from times around the piano where glasses were being lifted and singing old rock and roll tunes took place.
The night of the President’s Ball honoring Marty’s election as Sharon Heights President stands out among those many occasions. It was a special night for sure that rang in a very different way of honoring our Presidents and, for understandable reasons, in a way that hasn’t been repeated since. We were in the grill making music until well after 3:00. I have played a lot of gigs in my life in a lot of upscale and not so upscale joints. Never before or since for that matter) had my tip jar been filled with a bra. That beats cash any day! Not much more need be said about that evening which for Marty was another opportunity to make everyone feel they were an integral part of his family.
The Carmel Glide – Frank Marshall, MPCC Member and Close Friend
Marty and Mary stopped by our house early for the dinner we had later reserved that night.
We had a glass of wine, watched the sunset and then headed off to Christopher’s on Lincoln and 6th.in downtown Carmel. Marty offered to drive, and we accepted. We met another couple at the restaurant and began what was a great evening. Lots of discussion, lots of wine and a few jokes to top things off. We actually had quite a bit of wine and when walking out I remember saying to Marty, glad you drove tonight. He laughed, got in and we started off. I said to him not to worry if we got stopped, we could claim we really were not driving. We could put the car in neutral and just glide down the hill to our house.
Marty laughed in disbelief and I insisted it was possible. As we crossed Ocean on Lincoln Marty put his car in neutral and prepared for the journey. We rolled to the stop sign on Lincoln and 7th. We stopped, but because things are slightly sloped downhill, we started rolling after the stop. Right turn and it’s all downhill for 2 blocks to Casanova. The stop sign there is not a problem because the car is pointed very downhill. So, left turn takes you down to 8th, no stop sign, right turn downhill takes you to Camino Real, no stop sign, left turn down to 9th, right turn takes you down to Carmelo, no stop sign, left turn and you are on your way to 10th. No stop sign on 10th and a right turn heads to San Antonio. By now we are all laughing very hard as Marty was in disbelief.
We slowed at the stop on San Antonio and barely rolled on to San Antonio. It was then the evening turned shocking.
The streets in Carmel are very dark and as we started rolling on San Antonio, the police car behind us turned on his patrol lights and very quickly we went from fun to sheer panic. Marty looked at me and his eyes seems bigger than golf balls. We were done. We are going to jail. It was the longest 5 seconds on the road. The police car passed us and instead of pulling us over, he kept going on a call to some other place further down San Antonio. We were saved. Marty was beside himself, so happy he did not have to explain that his car was not really turned on but just gliding us home.
From that point on, whenever driving with Marty we laughed about the Carmel glide.
Marty was always very firm on expecting “Clarity” in epic proportions, in a structured and disciplined way.
I continue to audit myself regularly and would urge everyone here to, in some way, recognize the situations we are actually in and the unique opportunities presented to us.
What could I possible say that would adequately sum up my feelings of love, admiration and thanks for all that he gave me?
And so, in Marty’s honor and memory, I sum up Marty as the most ardent example of
“To Live. To Love. To Laugh. To Learn. And To leave a legacy.”
I truly believe those words come rushing to my mind when I think of Marty Ruberry.
None of us should need or want to be a clone of Marty’s. There’ll be only one Marty Ruberry. You would only become a silly imitator.
But I do believe that we, in some small manner, should honor his legacy of friendship and camaraderie, wherever we are, the world will be a better place.
So I urge everyone today, the next time we are confronted with maybe going out of our way to say hello, maybe mentioning a social reunion, whether it be dinner or golf, lunch or golf, or just plan golf, we ask ourselves: “What would Marty do?”