A Tribute to Roy Ringenberg
by T. Jay Jones
The name of this firm is a tribute to my grandfather, E. Roy Ringenberg, who was one of the most influential people in my life. He was a man of integrity and one of the best investors, farmers, and businessmen I have known. Most of all, he was the World’s Greatest Grandpa.
I remember accompanying my grandfather to see his stockbroker, Pat, with Piper Jaffray & Hopwood in Grand Forks, ND. It was fascinating listening to their discussions before he made an investment decision. He was an avid reader and his favorite periodical was Barron’s. He used this publication to teach me how to read the stock tables and to provide my initial lessons in investing. I think of him every time I see a copy of Barron’s.
I remember his amusement at my fear and grave concern over some of the doomsday investment literature he received in the mail. He explained to me that it was mostly sales literature. The frightening information and dire predictions were meant to motivate him to buy precious metals or subscribe to some expert’s newsletter. I think of this often today when I see similar advertisements on television or other solicitations that include bad news and worrisome predictions.
Roy grew up in Indiana and North Dakota. After a road trip with friends across the western United States in a model T, he bought a farm in Brinsmade, North Dakota and married my grandmother, Dorothy Salisbury. I always enjoyed stories Grandma told about harvest time with the threshing machine and crew of hired hands. Grandma was an integral part of the farm operation. She tended to their children, kept a garden, and took care of animals in addition to preparing meals three times a day for the family and a work crew of eleven men. This was a huge undertaking in their farmhouse kitchen, which had no electricity for many years.
Roy contracted with neighbors to thresh their crops and harvested theirs first, leaving his own crops for last. I believe actions speak louder than words, and his actions certainly demonstrated his values by putting the interests of his customers before his own. While his formal education ended at the eighth grade, he was well read, quite knowledgeable, and a lifelong learner.
My grandparents retired from the farming business and moved to nearby Devils Lake, ND when I was still young. I was one of those fortunate kids who had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with his grandparents. They lived three blocks from school and I had lunch with them almost every day. When I stayed late at school, I went to their house to wait for a ride home. During this time, we often watched his favorite program, the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. Watching this program with my grandfather prompted questions and discussions about topics I probably never would have considered were it not for this opportunity.
While attending college, every trip home included some quality time with Grandpa. Sometimes we watched the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour during supper and we always discussed investments and politics. The conversations (and lessons) continued after I graduated from college and began my career as a registered representative for Edward Jones.
This experience with my grandfather was a precious gift. He was a great man and a wonderful grandfather. The Ringenberg Financial Group bears his name as a tribute to him, and we will do our best to ensure our values and actions would make him proud.