Photo: Officer Ralph. M. Phillips with the Los Gatos Police Department taken in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Ralph Pearce.
My grandfather Ralph Moses Phillips (1905-1981) was a tall, stout fellow; strict, yet generous and fair-minded. After graduating from Los Gatos High School, he married my grandmother in 1925. As a young husband and father in the late 1920s, he worked a variety of jobs. He was a bus driver for a while, and later a truck driver for Bailey Lumber Company (across from the grammar school, now Old Town).
Granddad Phillips recounted one occasion when he was hauling lumber through the Santa Cruz Mountains and there was a problem with the brakes. He added that it wasn’t too bad though, as the old trucks were very slow and he was able to maintain control through down-shifting. My grandmother happened to be with him at the time, and he didn’t let on that there was any problem at all!
Photo: A young Ralph Phillips (center) with his family in Cambria about 1910. Photo courtesy of Ralph Pearce
During the Depression year of 1932, Granddad Phillips had the good fortune to land a job with the Los Gatos Police Department. In 1943, he became Chief of the small department, a position that he held until his retirement in 1970. In 1967, my father decided that he wanted to leave the field of electronics to join the San Jose Police Department. When he told my Granddad Phillips (his father-in-law), Granddad recalled the Depression days with his response, “Well, it’s steady work.”
Photo: Association President Ralph Phillips leads a procession on the Los Gatos Gymkhana Grounds in the 1940s. The Los Gatos Gymkhana Association was open to people who were interested in owning and training horses. Photo courtesy of Ralph Pearce.
Further Reading in the California Room: