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Elder Hans B. Ringger dies at age 84

Published: Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

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Elder Hans Benjamin Ringger, emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, died at his home in Basel, Switzerland, on Oct. 18, 2010. He was 84.

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Elder Hans Ringger

Described by President Thomas S. Monson in his biography To the Rescue as "one of the great moving forces in the expansion of the work in Europe," Elder Ringger was known for his service in the Church — especially in the European/Mediterranean area.

"During Elder Monson's visits to Europe, he was often accompanied by whoever was serving as mission president of the North German Mission. Elder Hans B. Ringger, a stake president in Switzerland who eventually became a General Authority, accompanied him on many of his visits. Elder Ringger's unique background, devotion to the Lord, Swiss citizenship and multilingual capabilities made him invaluable in working with the Saints in the Eastern bloc countries. Brother Ringger praised the many experiences he had during those years working at Elder Monson's side, saying that 'his great spirit and love for the people' was a significant boost to the Saints" (Heidi S. Swinton, To the Rescue, The Biography of Thomas S. Monson, pg. 296).

Elder Ringger was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 6, 1985, at age 59. During his service as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Ringger served in several area presidencies in the Europe/Mediterranean Area.

He served as second counselor, first counselor and president of the Europe Area in the years 1985-89. He served as second counselor and then first counselor in the Europe/Mediterranean Area during the years 1993-95. He was named emeritus General Authority on Sept. 30, 1995.

His service in the Church includes responsibilities as Regional Representative, sealer in the Bern Switzerland Temple, patriarch of the Bern Switzerland Stake, president of the Zurich Switzerland Stake, bishop, elders quorum president and Scout leader.

"He was a pioneer," said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve. "He was a third- generation member of the Church yet he was a pioneer. He was a doer, a builder. Professionally, he was an engineer and architect. He undertook to establish the Church physically and spiritually."

At the time of his call as a General Authority, Elder Ringger was a partner in an architectural firm. He had studied to be an electrical engineer when his father-in-law approached him about studying architecture. At the age of 32, with a wife and two children, he decided to go back to school to become an architect. In addition to being an engineer and architect, Elder Ringger was a retired colonel of the Swiss army and served as a member of the constitutional council, city council and held many other responsibilities in the political arena.

"He was fearless," Elder Nelson said of Elder Ringger's role in helping establish the Church in Eastern Europe. "He loved the people he served, he loved his wife and he loved his children. "He was uniquely equipped with everything that was needed to assist the Twelve Apostles."

Elder Ringger was born Nov. 2, 1925, in Zurich, Switzerland, as the sixth of 10 children born to Carl and Maria Reif Ringger. He is survived by his wife, Helene Susy Zimmer Ringger, and four children. At the time of his death, he was serving as a patriarch in the Bern Switzerland Stake and as a sealer in the Bern Switzerland Temple.

mholman@desnews.com