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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Donn Ringold would agree that he had a heart of gold. He was kindhearted with a spirit of generosity that was truly unmatched. Blessed to spend the best years of his life with his true love, Donn was a bit of a softie who was known for his willingness to give every request a wholehearted “yes!” A problem solver who strongly believed in doing something right the first time, others knew he would always come through in ways both great and small. Life will never be the same without Donn here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young servicemen and women were serving while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods like coffee, paper, tin, and sugar. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great joy in the lives of Donald and Dorothy (Moore) Ringold as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Donn Richard on October 27, 1942, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Raised in the family home at 123 Ransom Street in Grand Rapids, he was in the middle of his siblings, Donna, David, Diana, Doreen, and half brother Thomas. To support their family, Donn’s father worked for Michigan Bell Telephone Company while his mother was an auditor for the IRS. Together with his family, Donn attended Park Congregational Church.
In many ways Donn was a young boy of his generation. He enjoyed going to the movies at Creston Theater, sometimes seeing movies twice a week. Donn and his siblings looked forward to going to Uncle Clarence and Aunt Ruby's farm near Luther, Michigan, for a couple weeks each summer. There, the Ringold kids had plenty of outdoor adventures and of course, work and good food as well. Donn and his brothers and sisters also enjoyed their Uncle Harold's Christmas gift each year - a huge bag of popcorn. He attended Fountain Street Elementary School and went on to Grand Rapids Central High School where he was in the glee club. Donn enjoyed collecting coins and stamps as well as bowling. It was while in high school that he met his lifelong best friend, Al Williams. Also of great significance during Donn’s formative years was his grandma’s 1919 Essex classic car that has been handed down in his family.
Not to be forgotten during Donn’s younger years was his introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Sharon Curtis, and they met because she is Al Williams’ cousin. When Donn came over to visit Al, he couldn’t help but notice her, and they invited Sharon to go bowling with them. The rest is history as they say as Donn and Sharon began dating. They spent the following two years courting, and Donn worked with his father as an electrician during this time. He joined the Air Force. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Donn and Sharon were married on May 25, 1963, in Jamestown, New York, as that is where Sharon was from. They began their married years at Wurtsmith AFB in Oscoda, Michigan. They then moved back to the area, settling into a place on Livingston, NE near Look Out Hill in Grand Rapids. Together Donn and Sharon welcomed three children including Donna, Ted, and Dale into their hearts and home. There were memorable family trips to amusement parks like Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Great America.
Throughout his life Donn was known for his strong work ethic. He made a career as an electrician for 65 years, working for his father and then for several contractors. Donn was a member of the union, IBEW, and worked for Strain Electric, Whitaker Electric, and others. Eventually, Donn went to work for Anchor Electric and later purchased the company. In this midst of working as an electrician, Donn also took over his father’s locksmith business, Grand Rapids Key Co. Donn was also a problem solver. He continued working until he had his first stroke two years ago. He and Sharon enjoyed a trip to England where he learned more about his heritage. In his time away from work, Donn enjoyed dabbling with old cars as he bought classics to restore. However, he never really got the time to restore them fully. Among his favorites were his grandmother’s 1919 Essex, his ’57 Thunderbird, and his 65 Mustang, which he wasn’t able to fully restore. Donn was on various bowling leagues for years and loved going to movies throughout his life. As his family and friends can attest, he had a soft spot for original Coca-Cola and sweets of all kinds.
Caring, forgiving, and accepting of everyone he met, Donn Ringold was a blessing to everyone he met. He was a genuine handyman who could repair anything, and he was incredibly generous as he was always there to help anyone in need. There was no greater gift in Donn’s life than his family, and he just might have argued that becoming a grandfather was his richest reward. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
RINGOLD, Donn R., Grand Rapids, MI, Age 75, passed away with his loving family by his side January 8, 2018. Donn was born in Grand Rapids, October 27, 1942 to the late Donald and Dorothy (Moore) Ringold. He was also preceded in death by his brothers & sisters, Donna, Doreen, Thomas and David. Donn was a veteran of the United States Air Force and an electrician for 65 years. He will be remembered for his love of sweets, of bowling and his willingness to do anything for anybody. On May 25, 1963, Donn married Sharon Curtis in Jamestown, NY. His wife of 54 years survives, as do their children, Donna (Joe) Ringold-Kersjes of Grand Rapids, Ted (Janice) Ringold of Sterling Heights, Dale (Susan) Ringold of White Cloud; grandchildren, Joseph, Ryan, Mandi, Jordan, Arianna, Tiffany; and great grandson, Finn. Also surviving are his sister, Diana (Richard) Locke of Grand Rapids; sister-in-law, Lisa Jacobs of White Cloud; and his best friend, Al (Judy) Williams of McKinney, TX. A funeral service will be held Friday, January 12 at 11 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Friends may visit on Thursday from 5-8 PM and Friday beginning at 10 AM. Interment will be in Fairplains Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Salvation Army of Grand Rapids. Please visit Donn's personal web page to learn more of his life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.