Obituary: Ringwood, John P. “Jack”

RINGWOOD, John P. “Jack” John P. “Jack” Ringwood was born February 25, 1930, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane.

He died in Spokane on April 6, 2013.

Jack was raised on a wheat/cattle ranch north of Sprague in Lincoln County.

Jack attended grade school at St. Joseph’s Academy in Sprague and graduated from Gonzaga High School in 1947.

After high school, Jack attended Gonzaga University until 1949, at which time he went to the Jesuit Novitiate in Sheridan, OR.

After a year, he hightailed it back to GU, but left again, this time for public service, entering the Navy on December 9, 1950.

Jack met Joanne Yates, a Spokane girl, at a dance at Sprague Lake, and, putting the final nail in the priesthood idea, he married Joanne in San Diego, CA, on May 5, 1951.

While in the Navy, he served as a Communications Technician, 2nd Class (spook), and was stationed at Pearl Harbor Naval Radio Station.

He was assigned to the north Pacific and served on the submarine USS Pickerel and the battleship USS New Jersey.

After his Navy service ended in 1954, he returned to the family ranch in Sprague where he farmed and raised cattle, including those he called “the heifers,” which were, in fact, his lovely daughters.

He was a long-time board member of the Lincoln County Conservation District and received the Conservation Farmer of the Year award in 1990.

He was a member of the Cattleman’s Association and the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.

He retired from farming in 1987.

Jack and Joanne stayed on the ranch until moving to Spokane in 2004.

He continued his interest in radio communications as an amateur ham radio operator.

He was a lifelong member and past Grand Master of the Knights of Columbus #683, a member of the VFW Post #51, and the Gonzaga “Lunch Bunch.”

He was a great fan of Gonzaga sports and closely followed the Zags basketball team.

(Go Zags!)

Jack and Dan’s was a favorite place to tip a cold one and enjoy conversation with his many friends.

He was fortunate to fulfill a dream of traveling to Ireland, twice, to research family history (and pubs) and meet family members still living in the “auld sod.”

Jack is survived by Joanne, his spouse of 61 years, and his daughters, Kathy Brown of Spokane, Teri O’Leary of West Linn, OR, and Irene Ringwood (Bob Hayes) of Arlington, VA; along with six grandchildren, Jaime Shimek of Washington, DC, Danielle O’Leary of Tacoma, WA, Tracy Brown, Lisa Shimek and Jason Shimek of Spokane, Sean O’Leary of Lacey, WA; and three great-grandchildren, Lily Brown-Hayes, Cameron Hood, and Brayden Burnette.

Also out there are a passel of nieces, nephews, cousins, shirttails, ne’er-do-wells and down-right prevaricators.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Katherine Ringwood; his brothers William Ringwood and Edward Ringwood; and his sisters Harriett Ringwood, Dorothea Ringwood, and Regina Gaffney; his daughter, Carol Shimek; and his granddaughter, Meghan O’Leary.

A Vigil Service will be held at the Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home, 2203 N. Division on Wednesday, April 10, at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, April 11, at Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, Sprague, WA, at 11:00 a.m., followed by a social gathering from Noon to 2:00 p.m. Interment will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Spokane at 3:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Morning Star Boys Ranch, the House of Charity, or the charity of your choice.

Please visit Jack’s online tribute at, and leave a message of condolence.

Arrangements entrusted to:


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