May 20, 1934 – September 10, 2022
Bob Ringgenberg died peacefully surrounded by family on September 10th from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Bob was born in Chicago, Illinois to parents Herman and Martha Ringgenberg and raised in Whiting, Indiana where he attended George Rogers Clark High School. In high school Bob wrestled, played football and the tuba, often on the same Friday night keeping his football uniform on while performing at halftime with his bandmates.
He became a Purdue Boilermaker and graduated with an Aeronautical Engineering Degree in 1956. During college, he borrowed $2,000 from Martha and Herman and bought his big brother Bill’s pizza mixer at a family discount and opened the first pizza parlor in West Lafayette, IN, home of Purdue. Within one month he’d paid back his parents and the kids were lining up ‘round the block for hot pepperoni pizza. He would continue to delight family and friends through the years with both his thin crust pizza as well as his entrepreneurial spirit and savvy.
With his newly minted college degree he headed west, as many adventurers do, settling in San Diego where he worked for General Dynamics. Bob also served his country in the USAF at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Greene County, Ohio where he learned to fly airplanes.
As a young man, Bob set his sights on business school and was admitted to Harvard Business School in 1960. Between his first and second years, he interned at The Boeing Company and fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.
He graduated from HBS in 1962 and joined The Boeing Company as an engineer. Bob collaborated on a team that hand-calculated missile paths using a slide rule during the height of the Cold War.
Deciding he didn’t want to be in the bomb business any- more, he made a few career moves along the west coast taking him to the Bay Area then back to Seattle where in 1974 with partner Robert Burns he founded Vacation Internationale (VI), one of the first time share companies in the U.S. and the first to offer flexible point based reservations in multiple locations throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Bob spent 25 years creating jobs in the Pacific Northwest and Mexico. In a show of Bob’s unparalleled gift of persuasion, and a highlight of the first year of business, VI owners generously volunteered to schlep bed linens, bath towels, kitchen utensils, and other holiday essentials in plaid three-suiter suitcases via VI’s week- ly charted Mexicana Airlines flight for a week in paradise at Vallarta Torre, Puerto Vallarta, MX.
Upon the sale of VI and throughout his retirement, Bob enjoyed playing golf with his best friends Jim Irwin and Jack Nelson, traveling with beloved wife Yvonne and friends, as well as planning and executing complicated fishing expeditions to the Karluk River on Kodiak Island, AK. He also spent time litigating various grievances with patience, determination, and humor.
Bob never had an unkind word for or about anyone. His care, patience, counsel, and love for family, friends, co-workers, and community showed in a quiet and impactful way.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Bill. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne, sister Shirley Gilbreath (Eagle, ID), children Allyson Spencer, Roy Ringgenberg, Jennifer (Tim) Porter, and John Phillips, grandchildren Robert and Reed Spencer, and Jimmy and Phoebe Porter along with beloved nieces and nephews.
To honor Bob’s life, remembrances can be made to St. Joseph Parish Homelessness Advocacy – 732 18th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112.