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Waterford receives valuable gift from late great R.C. Owens

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Waterford receives valuable gift from late great R.C. Owens

Phil Waterford with the late great RC Owens’ jersey.

Photo contributed/

POSTED August 24, 2012 10:25 p.m.

Phil Waterford, President and Owner of Manteca Ford, collects sports memorabilia, some of which he proudly displays at his North Main Street Ford Dealership. Waterford has autographed basketballs from NBA superstars Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Julius Erving. He also has autographed baseballs from Bo Jackson, Hank Aaron and Cal Ripken Jr. Phil has met most of these athletes personally, and has had the pleasure of accommodating many of their automotive needs.

In Phil’s office, directly behind his desk, is an autographed jersey of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., who was also known as “Mr. Perseverance.” Ripken played 2,632 consecutive games between 1982 and 1998 during his 20-year career with the Baltimore Orioles.

“I’ve always admired Cal Ripken Jr. for his perseverance in showing up to work every day with a positive attitude; he serves as a constant reminder of what it takes to be successful in any industry. Each day when I enter my office, I use this motto as a way to both start and end my day. This was the only way to maintain success, especially with the recent downturn in the automobile industry.

“I have lived by this philosophy for the past 5 years, until I had the pleasure of meeting San Francisco 49er great Mr. R.C. “Alley Oop” Owens, who became a mentor, role model and a man I am proud to call my friend. His outlook on life is that ‘it is more important to be significant,’” says Waterford.

There is no question that R.C. Owens lived a significant life. He certainly made his mark on the NFL. But he left an equally big impression on tens of thousands of youngsters in San Joaquin County,  ALWAYS encouraging the youth to give their best, whether it is in school, the arts, helping the community, or sports. He was active in fundraising and mentoring youth at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club. He implemented reading programs at Stockton’s University of the Pacific and Shasta School in Manteca. 

This outstanding man, who made a significant difference in the lives of so many, passed away on June 17, 2012. Phil Waterford had the opportunity to attend the Memorial Service that was held at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. “Prior to R.C.’s passing, he asked his wife, Susan, to deliver his jersey to me and requested that I display it in my office. She also informed me that they had been married in this same historical church. Needless to say this, brought me to tears,” he recalls. “His journey to be significant has tremendously impacted my life. R.C. Owens spoke highly of his love for God, his wife Susan, his family, his community, and humanity. R.C. is an inspiration for everyone who had the opportunity to meet him. I will proudly display his jersey in my office as a constant reminder of the acronym ‘WIN’ (What’s Important Now)”

As Waterford reminisces about his relationship with Owens, he realizes the importance of being significant. “It used to be important for me to be successful. But what I found to be equally as important was to be significant. Cal Ripkin Jr.’s philosophy of perseverance, and R.C. Owen’s belief in being significant have inspired me to maintain a level of success both personally and professionally,” he says. “You can be successful and make an awful lot of money but when you die that ends. When you’re significant, you take the opportunity to teach other people be successful and that lasts many a lifetime.”

R.C. Owens was significant because he added value to the lives of others. Waterford noted that he will miss his role model and mentor as he strives to follow in the footsteps of this great man. “I will never forget R.C. Owens,” he says. “His jersey is now proudly displayed in my office as a constant reminder of what it takes to be significant!”

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