Ron WoldPhoto by Paul Neevel

Ron Wold (revisited)

November 2013: “Our family hobby was rock hunting,” says Ron Wold, who grew up in Beaverton and majored in geology at Amherst. He got a master’s degree at the University of Montana, then came to Eugene to pursue a Ph.D. “After two years, I took a job as a geologist with the Bureau of Land Management,” says Wold, who became a realty specialist in the agency’s Eugene office. “I managed right-of-way agreements on 320,000 acres.” After 30 years of service, he retired in 2004 at age 56. Though he knew at an early age that he was attracted to men, Wold took a conventional path, married a hometown Oregon girl, and had a son, Eric. The marriage lasted five years. Two years later, he met Ken Hinds, an RN at Sacred Heart. “We’ve been together 36 years next month,” he says. “He helped raise my son.” Wold became politically active in the failed 2004 effort to defeat Measure 36, which banned gay marriage before being declared unconstitutional. Wold took part in the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns with his own personal project, a voter-registration table, parked outdoors in front of the Eugene Public Library. “I recruited friends to staff it,” he says. “I found that one person can make an impact.”

2018 update: Wold and Hinds were married after the gay marriage ban was overruled in 2014. “We registered 900 voters in 2008,” Wold recalls. ‘It went so well, we did it again in 2012, 2014 and 2016. We do it in a non-partisan fashion.” This year, the library table was fully staffed by volunteers six days a week for eight weeks preceding the election. It also traveled to community events such as Saturday Market and Eugene Sunday Streets. “Overall, we collected over 1,500 registration cards,” he says. “It’s fun explaining to newcomers how the Oregon vote-by-mail system works.”