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Life Story / Obituary
Loving, joyful, and fun, Nancy Jane Brunn Ringelberg lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. A woman who embodied the principles of her faith, Nancy embraced every moment as a gift and lived life to its fullest. She led with her heart in all things and inspired much fun and laughter. In even the darkest moments, Nancy chose faith, hope, and love. She greeted each day with a smile, grateful for her many blessings, especially the people she so dearly loved. Nancy was a powerful role model for how to live wholeheartedly and inspired all who were blessed to share time with her. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Nancy will long be remembered and so very missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as Louis and Lois (Chaney) Brunn welcomed their daughter Nancy to their family on December 14, 1933.
The middle of three daughters, Nancy grew up in a conservative Dutch home, where she enjoyed the companionship of her sisters, Jeannie and Marilyn. Her father owned a hardware store in Ingomar, a neighboring town north of Pittsburgh. Nancy attended school in Pittsburgh and graduated from Perry High School with the class of 1951.
While walking along a street with her friend one day, Nancy caught the eye of a serviceman driving by with a comrade in an Army Jeep. Leonard Ringelberg, who was stationed with the Army in Pittsburgh, stopped near the ladies and asked them if they would like a ride home. Two months later, Nancy and Leonard were married, officially beginning their 55-year adventure together.
Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, when Leonard was discharged from the Army, the couple moved to Leonard’s hometown and settled on Richmond Street. In 1953, their family quickly grew when they welcomed their daughter Julie and, thirteen months later, their son Michael. The children quickly became the center of Nancy’s world, and she was delighted to create a loving and supportive home for her family.
Sadly, in 1956, the tornado that devasted the Standale area destroyed Leonard’s place of employment, his truck, and his parents' home. Losing everything, the family had to start over from scratch. Despite the hardships, Nancy loved being a homemaker and, most of all, being a mother. She strived to be her very best, having family dinner ready at 5:30 every day and pressing and laying out the kids’ clothes each night. An involved mom, Nancy, was loving, supportive, and encouraging. Leonard owned Windmill Meat Market on Alpine for many years. In addition to tending their home, Nancy was the market’s bookkeeper and cashiered when needed. She also worked for several years for Tripple R Trucking as a bookkeeper.
Faith was the cornerstone of family life. They attended Westend Christian Reformed Church and Fairview Reformed, which later became Orchard Hill Reformed. The family also enjoyed a week each summer at a cottage and a yearly trip to Pennsylvania to visit family. Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve were always spent with the extended Ringelman family, and Christmas Day was reserved just for their family to enjoy together in the comforts of their home.
Nancy always enjoyed an active social life. A member of the Elks, Eagles, and American Legion, Nancy was well known for her fun-loving energy. She and Leonard both played golf often; the game was an important part of their life. Nancy was a top player in the club. Usually “the life of the party,” Nancy liked to have fun. She loved to dance and was never afraid to flirt; even well into her senior years, she earned the name “Naughty Nancy,” which she didn’t mind. As her family grew, she enthusiastically welcomed her role as grandmother. Loving and attentive, she cherished every moment she shared with her grandchildren. Their greatest fan, she welcomed any opportunity to watch them and supported all their endeavors.
While the world feels significantly duller in the absence of Nancy’s bright and beautiful companionship, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying her heart-centered legacy forward. In each moment we chose faith over fear, greet a stranger as a friend, cheer on our loved one’s dreams, take to the golf course, and dance with abandon, we celebrate the countless ways Nancy made the world a better place. In this way, we keep her vibrant spirit alive and inspiring others as she inspired us.
Nancy Jane Ringelberg, age 89, passed away November 1, 2023. Nancy was born December 14, 1933, in Pittsburgh, PA, to the late Louis and Lois (Chaney) Brunn. She was also preceded in death by her husbands, Leonard Ringelberg and Don Swanson; son, Michael Ringelberg; grandson, Aaron Schultheiss; and sister, Marilyn. Nancy is survived by her daughter, Julie (Ron) Schultheiss; grandchildren, Shaun, Mike, Lani, Jennifer, Christian, and Piper; sister, Jeannie Cooper; and several nieces and nephews. According to her wishes, cremation has taken place. A private family gathering will be held. Memorials may be made to Emmanuel Hospice.