June 30, 2005
REMEMBERING REG OLIVER
NOTE: Reg Oliver, a board member and former president of the Napa Valley Wine Library Association, passed away on Friday, June 24th at the age of 66. This tribute is by the current president of the Association.
"Reg poured his energy into his profession, his family, tennis and numerous good causes: where I saw him at work was as a board member and leader of the Napa Valley Wine Library Association.
He and I came on the board at the same time, in 1987. I was an enthusiastic amateur; he was an experienced leader and razor-sharp businessman with a great love for our local history and tradition and of our quirky little organization, now in its 44th year. Over the years I watched and learned and tallied his obvious and also more subtle contributions to our efforts: he managed and oversaw our investments and financia1 arrangements; he was personally generous and sought contributions from his equally generous friends to make possible some of the most valuable acquisitions to our estimable collection; he worked tirelessly to see that our renowned annual tasting for members in August retained its dignified yet friendly tone as it became ever larger and he personally met its logistical and organizational needs. He served three eventful terms as president of the association and later worked with Allen Price to organize and present our most memorable field seminars. He worked with Jim Cross and Diana Stockton to produce our colorful REPORT to members, full of in-depth interviews and summaries of our events. He arranged with Ehren Jordan for Turley Wine Cellars to produce and bottle our "Barney's Backyard" magnums which we distribute to local charities for their fundraising.
My fellow board members and I recall a meeting or two when Reg showed what we called his "imperious" side. But when all was said and done, I for one recognized that his reasoning was unfailingly sound and that he always had the good of the organization at heart.
When I began my first term as president, I found myself turning frequently to Reg for advice and direction. I would stop in at his office and chat with Marilyn or Jane or Jack until Reg could get off the phone and talk with me, and he couldn't have been more helpful, supportive, wise and insightful. Sometimes we only needed a good laugh to resolve what I thought to be a sticky situation.
All of us on the wine library board will miss Reg's energy and capabilities, his friendship and his loyalty. I feel particularly sorry that my successor as president will not have Reg to turn to as I have. We extend our sympathies to Marie and Lily and Jack and their families and can only assure them that we'll try to carry on with the wine library as Reg would have wished."
Julie Dickson, president,
Napa Valley Wine Library Assn. June 30, 2005