California Railroad Museum key figure Carolyn Slobe dies at 92
Carolyn Dean Johnston Slobe, a low-key Sacramento philanthropist and a full-fledged figure in turning the California State Railroad Museum into reality, died Friday morning. She was 92 years old.
“She was tireless,” her son Bob Slobe told the Sacramento Bee over the phone. “She cut a wide swath in Sacramento.”
Carolyn Slobe, born August 19, 1929, was a co-founder of the Sacramento Trust for Historic Preservation, which worked to restore old Sacramento.
When the trust has harbored then-Gov. Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan for a dinner in the Gold Coast wagon to secure the governor’s commitment to fund the railway museum, Carolyn Slobe set the table with her finest porcelain and tablecloth, and Bob Slobe and his high school friends serving as waiters.
Slobe was an active volunteer and philanthropist, focusing much of her time and attention on her hometown of Woodlake, but also giving generously to the Crocker Art Museum and the Sacramento History Museum. She also helped out at the Sacramento Children’s Home.
“Mom, mom and dad were all very active in many charities,” recalls Slobe’s daughter, Wendy Blakemore. “We would follow and be little helpers. “
She once quietly paid a friend’s school fees. She learned braille so that she could convert books for the blind, her son said.
“She’s always been kind of an actor,” Blakemore said.
A native of North Sacramento, Slobe graduated from Grant High School at the age of 16 and received her BA in Psychology from Stanford in 1950. She married Robert John Slobe the following year.
She gave birth to their first child, Gary, in Mexico City in 1952, where Slobe obtained her Masters in Latin American Studies. The family returned to North Sacramento later that year and had three more children, and they also raised Slobe’s nephew, Steven James.
Robert Slobe died in 1971, at the age of 43. Carolyn Slobe succeeded her mother, Myrtle Dean Johnston, who died within three months of Robert’s death, as president of the North Sacramento Land Co., which was founded in 1910 and worked for years to redevelop Boulevard Del Paso and other parts of the region. Slobe remained in this role until 2007, when her son Bob Slobe took the helm.
Bob Slobe said his mother and grandmother have run the family business for 53 years combined out of its 103 year history.
“So, thinking about the fact that women in real estate were a pretty rare commodity (at the time), not only was she running the business like her mother, but she developed it,” he said. declared. “It’s a pretty remarkable thing.”
Sport was a must for the children of Slobe, board game nights were frequent and the holidays well celebrated. Slobe loved to travel the world, traveling regularly until he was 80.
“Even when we brought her to live with assistance a year and a half ago – unfortunately terrible timing with the pandemic – even when she was there, she still did every activity,” Blakemore said. “She made friends easily and made the most of the situation she found herself in.”
She also loved painting and later in life became adept at intricate crafts. She created jewelry, turned painted velvet into cushions, and made decorative baskets with pine needles.
“She always worked with her hands, tinkered with and painted, and encouraged us to do the same,” recalls Bob Slobe. “This led to our volunteer work at the Crocker from an early age and at the Railway Museum.”
Slobe was predeceased by her parents, husband Robert, older sister Nancy James, daughter Sari Kristina, son-in-law Kit Blakemore and nephew Steven James.
She is survived by her children Bob, Gary and Wendy; stepdaughter Kim Mueller; grandchildren Katy Blakemore Evans and Patrick Blakemore; great-grandchildren Wyatt and Nala Blakemore and Kit and Ryan Evans; and her sister-in-law, Mary Lynly.