Henry Ellsworth Ringling Jr.


Died July 28, 1962

College: Timothy Dwight

A number of us who spent a lot of time with Hank Ringling senior year remember that his glasses had really thick lenses. They let him look out at the world, but we were very limited in what we could see inside him. We knew many things about Hank — that he was from Baraboo, Wisconsin, the son of a member of the Ringling family (as in Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey) and that he thought he was the last male Ringling. We knew that he was one of the eleven candidates for class officer, that he majored in electrical engineering, was a Merit Scholar, that he dated a lovely model, had a red Alfa Romeo that very few friends were permitted to drive, that he loved the sounds of racing cars and listened again and again to tapes recorded at racing tracks, and that he was interested in theater.

We also understood that he was very unhappy, but never understood why. While many of us spoke of dreams and ambitions, Hank was silent. In our confidence of youth, we assumed that one day he would find his dream, but that was not to be. Hank died as he lived, uncertain about what direction to turn; on the night of July 28, 1962, he failed to turn fully onto the off-ramp that led to his home in Baraboo.

—by Bill Sargent