March 25, 1944 - December 4, 2020
Ronald J. Rickenbach, resident of Oelrichs, S.D., was born in Hot Springs, S.D. on March 25, 1944 and passed away on December 4, 2020 at the Chadron Community Hospital at age 76.
He was the son of Joel C. (1918-2003) and Rose A. Hulburt Rickenbach (1919-2018) who preceded him in death. Growing up on the ranch, he was active in the Oelrichs School band and sports as well as in the local 4-H chapter of the Horsehead Ranchers.
Ronald graduated from Oelrichs High School, and then earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Chadron State College, Chadron, Neb.. His teaching majors were in Geography, Art, Biology, and Chemistry. His postgraduate work was in art first doing Summer School at Montana State University at Bozeman, Mont. and then finishing his Master of Fine Arts degree from Ft. Hays State College, Ft. Hays, Kan.
First as a member of the Oelrichs United Methodist Church, and then of the Prairie View Methodist Church, Smithwick, S.D., Ron was very active in the planning of the new church building of Prairie View as well as teaching a Sunday School class in his later years.
He was a high school teacher in his teaching majors at various high schools. Starting in 1966 at Chugwater Wyo., he then taught in Nebraska, and finally in South Dakota including Oelrichs High School in the early 70s, finishing his teaching career in 1987.
Ron was a lifetime artist ever since he was a small child. He was greatly inspired by his oldest cousin artist Alvin Alkire and began with his still life drawings, expanded into paintings, and then sculptures both in metal, wood, and stone. He started Gallery 2000 in Oelrichs and was able to sell a number of his art pieces.
His love for trees was revealed in his various drawings, as well as photographs of trees that always included an impactful Christian message. He also took a great interest in maintaining the fruit orchard on the Rickenbach Ranch for several years as well as planting numerous new trees.
One of Ron’s quotes found recently on one of his many sketch pads was, My Life Goal is to witness through my visual ART. I want to do this through my drawings and sculptures. I have known this for many years, and the God-purpose becomes clearer with each passing year.
Ron was adventuresome. He enjoyed traveling to historical sights, and one of his most memorable recent trips was assisting the survivors of Hurricane Harvey in Texas with the Greater Black Hills Methodist Parish mission group in 2018. His early adventures included bicycling from the ranch in Oelrichs to the Montreal, Canada’s World’s Fair in 1967, hopping a train to Saskatchewan, and then returning on his bike through North Dakota, and South Dakota.
He was survived by Joel S. Rickenbach of Oelrichs; Mary Rickenbach Seidel of Detroit Lakes, Minn.; and Lee O. Rickenbach of Hillsboro, Ohio; along with twelve nephews and nieces: Joel T. Rickenbach, Rachel Edelen, Joshua Rickenbach, Adam Rickenbach, David Rickenbach, Matthew Seidel, Nathaniel Seidel, Jonathan Seidel, Daniel Rickenbach, James Rickenbach, Esther Rose Rickenbach, and Andrew Rickenbach.
Visitation will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at Hillside Cemetery in Oelrichs. If you desire, please bring your own chair and Ron’s family thanks you for practicing social distancing.
Committal services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at Hillside Cemetery in Oelrichs. If you desire, please bring your own chair and Ron’s family thanks you for practicing social distancing.
Memorial services will be held July 17, 2021 during the Rickenbach family reunion.