Lawrence F. Ring
During his last and final moments, Larry was surrounded by his family – all of whom ensured to remind him how much he is loved, appreciated, and valued. Larry’s wife, Mary, remained faithfully at his side until the end. Larry was a military veteran, a gentleman, an entrepreneur, an outdoorsman and – above all else – a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. To his family and friends, Larry will always be lovingly remembered and revered for his benevolence, integrity, sense-of-humor, down-to-earth and realist personality, and his confident approach to life.
Larry’s life started on February 8, 1937, the son of the late Frank and Dorothy (Lichtenberg) Ring. He was born in the rural outskirts of Neshkoro, Wisconsin. Born during the Great Depression, Larry was immediately introduced to the plight of that era. Like many others during that period, particularly those living in the rural regions of Wisconsin, his family’s home did not have running electricity or water. As a result, it influenced Larry’s formative years and most certainly produced a set of values that he carried throughout the rest of his life, such as a noble standard of personal responsibility, financial prudence, a high work-ethic, and an admirable sense of resiliency, vigor and self-drive.
While still a young child, Larry and his family moved to Milwaukee, where he spent his childhood until his graduation from high school in 1955. Shortly thereafter, Larry joined the United States Army and proudly served his Country. He was on active duty from November 1955 to August 1958. While on active duty, he was stationed in the Marshall Islands. Upon his return, he served in the Army Reserves until his honorable discharge in October 1961.
Larry lived in many places throughout his life, which included various places in Wisconsin, such as Neshkoro (his birthplace), Milwaukee, Appleton, Brillion, Waupaca, Princeton, and elsewhere. He lived in San Francisco, California, briefly as a young man. Beyond Wisconsin, both he and his wife resided in McAllen, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada, for many a year.
During his life, Larry forged a long and prosperous career in the food and beverage industry, which was marked by many notable accomplishments and interesting experiences. While his earliest taste of the industry was first served-up as a teenage busboy, he ultimately ripened into a seasoned professional of his trade. For example, while in his mid-twenties, Larry worked at the renowned, but now-defunct, restaurant of Frenchy’s – which, during its reign, was arguably the top-rated restaurant in Milwaukee and is now considered by many as one of the finest and most unique restaurants in the city’s history. In the mid-1960s, he tended bar at yet another locally famously bygone restaurant, the Left Guard Charcoal House in Appleton, owned by former Packer-players Max McGee and Fuzzy Thurston. In 1966, Larry met Mary, who he would later make his wife, while she worked at the Left Guard as a waitress. To exemplify their chemistry, Mary, to this day, still affectionately recalls word-for-word her first ever exchange with Larry when they first met, and for which proved to be the genesis of their relationship enduring over the next fifty-plus years. During his time at the Left Guard, Larry rubbed elbows with various members of the legendary 1960s-era Packers team, including the iconic Coach Vince Lombardi. As a natural self-starter, around 1970, Larry, together with other business partners, embarked on an entrepreneurial endeavor of his own, thereby launching an establishment entitled “220 North Lynndale” in Appleton (Grand Chute). Thereafter, in 1975, Larry and his wife, Mary, purchased a tavern in Waupaca, naming it the Crystal Lounge, that quickly became a popular local watering hole, and established a reputation for its superb bar food cooked-up on a behind-the-bar charcoal grill, for its then state-of-the-art stereo system, and its overall lively atmosphere. Larry and Mary successfully operated the Crystal Lounge until 1985. Throughout his career, Larry also worked at or managed various well-known establishments, including River View Country Club in Appleton, and the Heidel House Resort and the Carvers on the Lake Restaurant both in Green Lake. Interestedly, from 1994 to 1998, Larry managed the food and beverage operations at the historic, since-demolished Frontier Hotel and Casino, formerly located on the famous Las Vegas Strip. Larry officially retired from his career in 2003.
Larry possessed a wide variety of passions, interests, and hobbies throughout his life. To list only a few, Larry harbored a lifelong affinity for Mother Nature and absolutely relished all of her beauty. He loved being in the wilderness, experiencing nature’s fresh air, and observing all its magnificent scenery. Larry admired the simple beauty of trees and flowers; indeed, he looked forward to watching the trees bloom in springtime. Notably, while Larry lived in many places throughout his life, the serenity provided only by the outdoors, most particularly the many woodlands of Wisconsin, never waned. Naturally, he was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed the sport of hunting, with some of his preferred game including deer, duck, pheasant, and grouse. Larry was also a dog-lover who, when younger, trained his dogs for bird-hunting and loved taking them out on hunting adventures. Larry possessed a fine appreciation for art, jewelry, antiques and, most especially, oriental rugs. As such, he enjoyed frequenting various antique, jewelry and rug shops all over the country and aimlessly perusing for an item that captured or piqued his interest. In fact, one of Larry’s grandsons fondly recalls various travels over the years that involved countless spontaneous stops at vintage-type stores to simply forage about. He was also a fan of good cinema and he, particularly in his younger days, often frequented movie theaters. Like most pastimes in Larry’s life, he genuinely reveled in sharing his interests with his family and friends by inviting their direct involvement, and committedly ensured to create memorable experiences for those in his company. For instance, Larry’s daughter fondly remembers her many memorable theater-outings with him throughout the years. Larry held an insatiable appetite for reading, and often cycled multiple books at once. His voracious reading habits likely contributed to his remarkable aptitude at correctly answering questions as he watched the trivia game show of Jeopardy. But his appetite for reading was arguably only outmatched for that of a well-made pizza or a slice of a Wisconsin-made artisanal cheese, preferably of the bleu variety.
On a personal level, Larry was compassionate, generous, trustworthy, and honorable. He genuinely cared for the interests of others and proved to be a person who could be leaned on by family and friends. During his life, he was a longtime member of the Lions Club and also donated substantial sums to charity and other organizations that aligned with his beliefs. Larry most certainly was a man of principle and never wavered in his own personal values. He was a man of integrity: to all those familiar with him, he was recognized as the kind of person in which one may confidently rely on his word alone and assuredly “just know” he’d do the right thing when it mattered in life’s most important affairs. Put differently, he surely embodied the maxim of “say what you mean; mean what you say.” As his wife, Mary, describes it, he “lived life with no pretenses.” Amongst his many notable traits, Larry was both resolute and respectfully assertive. Indeed, within moments of meeting Larry, any person quickly realized that he was as candid as they come. Larry never shied away from openly speaking his mind and always told those around him his honest opinion, even if it was not what one wanted to hear. Professionally, whether as an entrepreneur or within a management role, Larry often took a no-nonsense approach to business, invariably prioritized high-quality service and products, and treated those around him with respect. As a by-product of his own work ethic, he made it a point to recognize those around him whose standards aligned with his own and further aimed to treat people well and with generosity, particularly those whose individual merit earned it.
Larry loved life and his family, he impacted many, and surely created countless wonderful memorable experiences to all those around him. He particularly enjoyed time spent with his family and friends, which was demonstrated by his countless instances of taking others on adventures and trips and showing those around him a good time. But, of all the people Larry impacted and of all his accomplishments, his most proud achievement in life was meeting and spending the majority of his life with his wife, Mary, who supported him in endless ways and lovingly supported him physically as he approached the end. Throughout their life together, including in his final moments, Larry would faithfully and frequently proclaim Mary as the “love of my life”; and in light of Larry’s actions throughout life, those words – coming from a man of unreserved and sincere speech – are unquestionably some of the truest he ever spoke.
Larry is survived by his wife, Mary Ring (Luft); children: Barbara Arnoldussen, Timothy Masterson, and Mark Masterson; grandchildren: Brittney, Collin, Jason, Chantal, and Joy; great-grandchildren: Jacob, Ethan, Jada, Neveah, Matthew, Jayvion, Marcus (whose middle name carries Larry’s namesake), and Geneva; and his brother, Daniel Ring. Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Dorothy Ring; his son, Robert Masterson; and his siblings, Thomas Ring and Gerald Ring.
A commemoration of Larry will occur privately and amongst close family members in accordance with his personal wishes. Finally, for those who were a part of Larry’s life, they, without a doubt, are proud and fortunate to call him a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.