Make us your home page

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 or (727) 893-8857.


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

  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs


    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with critical series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater


    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks


    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater


    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]