I believe I met Ralph once, although I was unaware of his ledgendary status. It dawned on me later that Geezer Way and "The Ralphie Rule" (2 drives on first hole) can be attributed to him. RIP Ralph. Condolences to those that were close with him. I will be forever grateful for 2 on 1.
"Remember boys this ain't therapy"-Jub.
PDGA # 42821
Push-ups owed to: thebakedone 1,856.
I'll miss Ralph and turbotubing with him in the parking lot at Lakewood. Fry freely, my friend! Here's a great tribute Skippy Jammer wrote up yesterday:
I'm so saddened to hear of the passing of Ralph "Head Geezer" Williamson. At the same time I am full of admiration for a life lived so fully. I've known Ralph since the beginning of my frisbee experience and have had many joyous times together with him. He always had a twinkle in his eye, a clever remark to make and the patience to tutor many a young player. He was also staunchly individualistic. I remember following him and some of the Super Geezers at a Master Cup here in Santa Cruz. Ralph had the tee and walked up to the next hole, surveying the difficulty and planning his shot. Then out of nowhere he pronounced "This Tee pad is ridiculous, we're teeing off from over here" where by he walked about 30 yards closer to the hole and on a better angle to the hole and dragged his foot making a new line from which to tee. Of course he birdied the hole. Ralph made a surprise appearance at the FPA Worlds last summer in Seattle. All the old timers paid tributes to him and regaled him with warmth and admiration. I'm sure his greatest wish was for all of us to continue to find joy in the miracle of flight with each throw of the disc.
Thanks for sharing that... I would love to hear more stories about Ralph's friendships and adventures.
It would be nice to do some sort of memorial tournament/dedication in honor of Ralph. Perhaps a fundraiser tourney at Lakewood in order to purchase a plaque or something for "Geezer Way" to remember him by. Maybe everyone could be given two drives with their first drive required to be a roller.
I never saw Ralph play a round of disc golf without a garbage sack, picking up trash the whole time-- maybe we could all pay tribute to Ralph this weekend by chucking discs and picking up trash at our local courses...
Here's an old article I found to share:
WASHINGTON MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1995 | FEATURE
Addicted to a Flying Disc
Visit Frisbee aficionado Ralph Williamson.
A small black and white sign above the entrance to Ralph Williamson's basement reads "Frisbee Museum: Plasticus Addictus." It was a birthday present from his wife, who obviously understands his passion for those familiar flying discs.
Williamson lives in a modest split-level home tucked neatly into a hilly Seattle neighborhood just east of Sandpoint Way. Here, covering makeshift tables, swaying from homemade ceiling racks and shelved in perfect rows along the walls, is one of the largest known Frisbee collections in the world. Williamson says the largest sadly remains boxed up at a collector's home.
Williamson has more than 4,200 discs in his collection, each with a handwritten number on the back. Each number is linked to a computer database, which lists every Frisbee in his collection by manufacturer, model number, description and weight to the nearest gram.
His obsession began at a church picnic in 1969 at Matthews Beach Park, a few blocks from his present home. "Some kids were throwing one around and I asked to try it," he recalls, speaking in the Texas drawl that's somehow managed to survive 30 years of living in the Northwest. "I threw it and it wouldn't work, even after 15 or 20 tries. But I got hooked, and I've been with it ever since."
At the Frisbee Museum, metal pie plates are stacked on a rectangular table.
"In 1871 in Bridgeport, Conn., the Frisbie Baking Co. starting baking their pies in metal pie plates. These later became toys; delivery drivers would throw them around for fun." But it wasn't until the mid- 1940s that Wham-O sought to mass produce a plastic version of the flying pie plates. The toy company was issued a misspelled patent and, because it was unable to correct the error, the trademark "Frisbee" was born.
After almost three decades of collecting, Williamson's Frisbee museum boasts discs from around the world, including China, Japan, India and Russia. Each has its own story. "A friend on vacation in India found these in a toy shop," he says of two oddly shaped discs with triangular protrusions out the top.
Some have high-pitched whistles, articulated tails or running lights. Others inflate, glow in the dark, launch from a catapult or fold up to pocket-size. A Styrofoam disc bears the familiar Rolling Stones tongue; it was picked up at a Stones concert 25 years ago. Another is fitted with a small marijuana pipe. The idea here is that the wind crossing the surface of the disc keeps the embers glowing. "A guy called me a few days ago for that one," Williamson says with a coy smile. "I sold him my second-to-last one for 50 bucks."
Williamson is a retired Boeing technical writer and, at 64, is dedicated to the Frisbee life. He holds five world champion titles in professional disc golf, a sport that involves hurling small Frisbees into metal baskets. He practices with a local disc golf team four times a week and plans to attend at least 25 tournaments this year, including one in Japan. He writes for several Frisbee-related publications, 1,200 back issues of which he displays in the museum. Within a year he plans to complete his book, "The Encyclopedia of Flying Discs," which he's co-writing with a fellow Frisbee guru who lives in California. Most recently, Williamson began logging in to a flying disc electronic bulletin board, where he exchanges Frisbee-speak with Internet users around the world.
With thousands of discs ranging in age, size, shape, value, design and materials, Ralph Williamson's Frisbee Museum has a Frisbee for everyone. Even his business card is printed on a Frisbee.
Truely a good friend and mentor. First time I met the "Head Geezer" was at Fort Steilacoom, I think it was 1988 or 89 and he pulled in the parking lot cranking Van Halens "Running with the Devil". I thank you Ralphie for teaching me how to throw rollers and how to do all kinds of trick shots I use today. I traveled with Ralphie to several tourneys including the 93' Masters Cup at Delaveaga. I cant remember how many PDGA World Championships he won, but it was alot! I wish you all could have watched him throw his legendary rollers in places nobody dared to roll. I know Ralphie,Steady Ed,Doug Newland and Johnny Roberts are all howlin at the moon together... Fly on brother I will see you on the back 9 someday!!!
Last edited by maynard; April 30th, 2011, 04:40 PM.
I have always played two on the first ever since i have been playing disc golf since 1994 and never knew where that came from. Wow..........glad to know it came from someone so great and a true legend. Thank you!!!
Well I think it is time to pay my respect to a truly great man, and a very good friend. Let us go back in time just a little, it was the summer of 1976 I had just graduated from shoreline high school and looking forward to a great summer. I would find myself at green lake in Seattle looking at all the hot women laying in the sun, and I remember watching what I called an older guy spinning a frisbee on his index finger, and I thought wow how cool is that, so I got enough courage to go up and ask him if he could show me how to do that, and with great kindness and much patience with in a few days I was able to nail delay, tip and catch the frisbee between my legs. Next came the throw, Ralph liked clockwise spin on the disc so he then showed me how to throw a thumber which I still have the scare on my left wrist where the disc would rub when I threw it. We would throw for hours on those beautiful Seattle summer days and would always draw a big crowd to watch that frisbee do things nobody had seen before, Ralph loved the attention and I know I did (met a lot of pretty ladies that summer) Jeff jorgenson was ralphs freestyle partner and I
thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen, and it was very cool they let me throw with them day after day it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because out of that I was introduced to Doug newland the person that got disc golf started in the northwest and gave me my frisbee masters test, Doug's life was cut much to short when he fell to his death at a church retreat up at snoqualmie falls. Ralph is #10 and Doug is #16 in the pdga. I know I'm just rambling on about the days gone by, but they were truly some of the best days of my life and I was lucky enough to see Ralph last summer at the worlds in Seattle and told him how lucky I was that he showed me the love of the game and all the good people that have touched my life. In closing I would just like to say that hero's are soon forgotten but ledgens never die. Say hi to Doug,Johnny,Ed and all the other frisbee freaks that are looking for a round of golf, remember the sonics half time shows we did there was nobody that could throw upside down frisbees from half court like you my friend. Love ya #163