Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue| David "Ron" Slinker

Losing one fight led to a lifetime in martial arts

TAMPA — When David "Ron" Slinker was a boy, he got into a dustup with another child. He narrowly lost the fight.

He never wanted to get that close again.

He enrolled in martial arts classes, and worked his way up to earn a second-degree black belt in judo and sixth-degree black belt in Yoshukai, a Japanese style of contact fighting. And he brought his family into the mix.

"He was pretty strict," said his son, David Slinker Jr., who took martial arts lessons from his dad. "He was the type of instructor that didn't just talk. If he wanted you to do something, he'd show you. He expected a lot of you."

At home, though, his child­ren said Mr. Slinker was laid back. The family took vacations together to the mountains and had big holiday gatherings.

"He was lots of fun," said his daughter, Dina Myers. "He was just like a big kid."

Mr. Slinker, who died Friday at age 62, had a fun-loving personality and partied sometimes, his family said. He also had his share of struggles. He was arrested a number of times over the years, on charges including theft and a 1982 charge of conspiracy to deliver drugs.

David Slinker Jr., 34, says his dad struggled with addiction, including drinking that damaged his liver. But, he said, his father tried to turn his life around. And he never brought the troubles home.

Instead, he told them to focus on having a good work ethic, earning good grades and loving with a big heart.

Mr. Slinker joined the Marines at 17. He graduated from the University of Tampa and was a Tampa police officer for 10 years.

Once, his daughter said, he went undercover to catch a purse snatcher by dressing up as a woman. He taught self-defense to other officers. He was comfortable in tense situations and enjoyed patrolling the streets.

But his passion was fighting.

Mr. Slinker, 6 feet 1 and muscular, competed in 29 full-contact karate tournaments, winning all but two. He was a member of the United States judo team in 1971, his family said.

He was a professional wrestler with the National Wrestling Association, and his photos and videos of television appearances dot the pages of the Internet.

Sometimes, he competed under stage names such as "the Spoiler" and "Captain." He appeared on TV more than 200 times. In the 1990s, he was a booking agent, trying to revive regional wrestling in the Tampa Bay area.

When they were young, his kids and their friends would watch their dad's wrestling matches. Back then, it just felt normal.

But now, they admit, it was pretty cool.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8857.

>>Biography

David "Ron" Slinker

Born: Oct. 30, 1945.

Died: March 28, 2008.

Survivors: children, David Slinker Jr. and Dina Myers; grandson, Elijah Myers; mother, Mary; twin brother, Don, and brother, Bill; sister, Mary Jo Harman; many nieces and nephews.

Service: 6-8 p.m. today at MacDonald Funeral Home, 10520 N. Florida Ave., Tampa.

Losing one fight led to a lifetime in martial arts 04/02/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  2. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  3. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  4. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  5. Man injured when small helicopter crashes into Odessa home

    Accidents

    ODESSA — A small manned helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County on Monday, injuring a pilot, officials said.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]