Ron Kam 1942 - 2024

Ron Kam, 81 years old, passed away June 25, 2024, with his cherished grandchildren and daughters by his side. Born  December 7, 1942, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Ron grew up on the island of Oahu before leaving for the mainland at the age of 17 to swim for the University of Oregon. There he met the love of his life, Yvonne (Von) Blocher, and they married on January 18, 1964.

To make ends meet, Ron worked several jobs during the school year, and worked even more in the summers, including lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons. It was at this time he coached his first swimming team at a small private pool in Eugene. In 1968, Ron was the first swimming pool manager hired  by the city of McMinnville.

Ron played a significant role in the local community. He created and was most proud of the Survival Swim program that has taught countless children water safety for over four decades and continues today ( He also left his mark on the current McMinnville swimming pool, when he played a large role in its redesign and remodel opening in 1986.

Ron was the coach of the McMinnville Swim Club for over 30 years, and coached the McMinnville High School boys’ and girls’ teams. His personal drive for excellence in all he did set an unwavering example for any and all who had a desire to learn from him. From the beginning, the teams Ron coached experienced great success, culminating in back-to-back state high school OSAA Boys' Swimming Championships in 1997 and 1998 before he retired ( In 2010, he was honored as an inductee into the MHS Sports Hall of Fame (

Ron’s swimmers and the families who supported them were dear to his heart. He spoke openly about welcoming all onto his team. Everyone had something to learn and something to contribute, regardless of their athletic talent. Many swimmers under his care blossomed into athletes to be reckoned with. More often than not, it was the depth of Ron’s teams that scored the points to win championships. Beyond being a coach, he was also a mentor, teacher, surrogate parent, and friend.

Since his days in Hawaii, Ron’s childhood dream was to be a farmer. Supported by his wife, he made this seemingly far-fetched goal a reality by first owning one-acre and later a larger farm. He became a Master Gardener in 1971, attended livestock judging classes at Linn-Benton Community College, and read tirelessly on all topics related to agriculture. Together Ron and Von had two daughters, Wendy and Nancy, and created Kam Family Farms for raising and showing registered Dorset sheep that later evolved into a commercial sheep farm. Always the consummate teacher, he shared his knowledge through being a 4-H leader, offering city kids the opportunity to raise their own project lambs on his farm. After losing his wife of 43 years to pancreatic cancer in 2007, and later suffering continuing health problems, Ron had to sell his flock in 2021.

Ron was an avid fisherman and loved nothing more than taking his grandchildren, Raiden and Kaylani, fishing. He dedicated himself to being a formative role in his grandchildren’s lives, loving to teach them new recipes, gardening, and how to tie knots. When he could get away, he returned to Oahu to spend time with his childhood friends and boogie board in the ocean.

The legacy he leaves behind is the mark he made on all whose lives he touched, inspiring them to strive for excellence and live their best life. In lieu of flowers, consider honoring him by learning something new and sharing that knowledge to enrich the life of someone else.

A celebration of Ron Kam's life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 20, 2024, at the Yamhill County Fairgrounds Leslie Lewis Pavilion. The family welcomes all to come together on this day and share stories as Ron himself was so fond of doing. RSVPs, photos, memories, and connection are welcome online at


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