Hey, Spike! profiles a most generous man | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! profiles a most generous man

Norm Ringhand with grandnephew Eli Hsu.
Special to the Daily |

Norm Ringhand died nearly a year ago, but his work on our behalf continues.

A Frisco resident for decades, the longtime civil engineer, decorated Vietnam veteran and civic do-gooder, Norm passed away at age 71 on April 7, 2014, at his home. It was recently learned that he left his entire estate to The Summit Foundation.

Now you can add “philanthropic benefactor” to his legend.

Norm’s gift to the countywide community is said to exceed $1 million.

“He was a gentleman of the old school.”Rob Philippe

“It is with deep sadness, in conjunction with great honor and appreciation, that The Summit Foundation is in the process of accepting a significant gift from Norman L. Ringhand,” says Kasey Geoghegan-Provorse, the foundation’s development director.

“This estate gift has been dedicated to a new board-designated fund within The Summit Foundation’s Endowment Fund, The Peaks Society Fund, which recognizes the legacy of individuals like Norm that have made planned gifts to the foundation,” she explains.

The fund allows immediate community impact for those who make planned gifts to the foundation, particularly when the donor has not communicated a specific intention for his or her gift, according to Kasey.

Norm’s family and the foundation provided his personal background, saying:

“Norm graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula with a bachelor’s degree in forest management in 1966. He entered the Army in service to his country through the ROTC program as a second lieutenant on Aug. 2, 1966, where he served in Vietnam as part of the Army Corps of Engineers as a combat engineer until his honorable discharge on Aug. 21, 1968, as a first lieutenant. Norm received many honors, including the Purple Heart for a wound he received during his service.”

His professional life as an engineer includes these achievements:

After positions in Madison, Wisconsin, and then in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Norm relocated to Frisco in 1978, where he worked for Craig and Betty Robillard and Associates. After Robillard, Norm created Ringhand Engineering and Management and through this enterprise he served as the district administrator of the Snake River Water District in Keystone. He worked for the district from 1984 to 2002. During his tenure, the River Run base area at Keystone was developed.


Friscoites knew Norm was proud of his military service, always flying the U.S. flag above his front door over at Third and Galena. He always wore his dog tags and some medals on Veteran’s Day. His friends would often hear stories of his service.

A major part of Norm’s civic duty included his long-term service on the Frisco Sanitation District board.

“Norm spent his life in service to Frisco,” recalls Butch Green, the chief of the sanitation district. “He told me he was on the design committee to pave Main Street the first time. He served on the board — except for a short hiatus — during the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, until the day he died. His engineering expertise on the board many times saved the ratepayers from having to hire outside engineers, helping the district to become a tax-free utility.”

“It’s no surprise that in death he’s still serving Summit County by giving to The Summit Foundation,” Butch adds. “The world could use more Norm Ringhands.”

Norm also loved cars. During his early years in Frisco he purchased a Model T from a friend. He enjoyed his cars a great deal and would drive them in parades and take his nieces and nephew for rides. He eventually donated his Model T to the Frisco Historical Society and today that black Ford sits in Rob Philippe’s Antique Emporium on Old Main Street Frisco.

“Over many years Norm and I wrestled back and forth over issues involving my developments on Main Street. He was a gentleman of the old school and we were always able to reach a compromise and end a conversation with a smile and word of wisdom,” says Rob.

Norm’s survivors include his younger brother, Ronald LaVern Ringhand; brother-in-law Ronald Vines; cousins Anne Christensen, Gaye Knudsen (Earl), David Christensen and Bill Robbins; and three nieces and a nephew.

In a personal Spike! note: Norm was a quiet, unassuming kinda guy, and we’d always speak at the Frisco post office. Back in Oregon, Wisconsin, he attended the Lutheran church where Mary’s dad, Rev. Andrew P. Staby, who died 11 years ago at 90, was the minister — that always seemed to make her a special person to Norm.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com.

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