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Wayne Salter dies short of 101st birthday
Served on Ceres school, church and peach boards
Wayne Salter, seen here in February 2010 holding his 1927 eighth-grade graduation certificate, died Thursday at age 100. He was from pioneers who came here in 1902. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier file photo

Longtime Ceres resident and farmer Wayne David Salter who served on the Ceres School Board in the 1950s, passed away on Thursday, six days before his 101st birthday.

Mr. Salter was very involved in community service, spending 12 years on Ceres High School Board of Trustees ending in 1961. He was named Ceres Agribusiness Man of the Year in 1993.

Wayne also helped to start the Ceres Peach Harvest Festival (now called Ceres Street Faire).

He also served on the Board of Directors for San Jose Christian College (now William Jessup University).

An accomplished and well-respected farmer, Salter pioneered new methods of growing peaches and received visiting farmers from around the world. Wayne represented the peach industry on trips to Europe, South Africa and Australia. He was a founding member of California Canners & Growers, serving as its vice-chairman of the board for many years. He also served on the Growers Harvesting Committee, Ag Council of California, Cling Peach Advisory Board and Stanislaus County Farm Bureau.

In 2009 Wayne Salter's name figured in the community flap concerning the naming of the new junior high school. Daughter Claudia Grubeck nominated her dad as the school namesake and many lobbied for the suggestion. The School Board, however, parted with tradition of naming the school after a local person and picked Cesar Chavez. Wayne said being glossed over wasn't a big deal to him but humbly said, "I could think of other people more worthy than me."

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Ceres Franklin & Downs Chapel at 2561 Fifth Street. A Celebration of Life will be held at Ceres Christian Church, 3502 Roeding Road in Ceres on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Born at home on Nov. 5, 1913 to Frederick and Annie Salter, Wayne was the youngest of five children. His parents moved to Ceres from Hollister in 1902, purchasing 20 acres from Charles Whitmore. He was predeceased by his parents and all of his sisters, one of whom reached the age of 100.

Wayne graduated from eighth grade at Ceres Grammar School in 1927 and received his Ceres High School diploma in 1930.

He obtained an agricultural degree from U.C. Davis in 1933.

Mr. Salter was also a 40-year elder at Ceres Christian Church and a treasurer for a decade. He also taught Sunday school.

Wayne married Florence L. Western on Nov. 11, 1934. They were married for almost 67 years until her death on Sept. 13, 2001. On Feb. 7, 2003, Wayne married Peggy Saabye, who passed away in 2011.

Wayne is survived by five children, Claudia (Pete) Grubeck, Jeanne (Bob) Lackey, James Salter, Judge Timothy (Shirley) Salter, and Pastor Tom (Barbara) Salter; and 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 6 great-great-grandchildren.

The children said their dad will be remembered for his honesty, integrity, gentleness, wisdom, generosity and his love of family and God.

He was an avid golfer, scoring two holes-in-one at Turlock Golf and Country Club. He golfed until age 99, when he broke his hip. In earlier years he enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Remembrances may be sent to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto CA 95356; or to Healing Nations, 1025 Fourteenth St., Modesto CA 95354; or Barnabas Factor, 8327 Falcon View Drive, Antelope CA 95843.