Kent Arthur Ringkob, the son of Thomas and Esther (Hansen) Ringkob, was born on August 10, 1942 in Jackson, Minnesota. Kent was baptized and confirmed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Jackson. He attended Country School District 93 and Jackson High School, where he served as Senior Class Vice-President and graduated in 1960. Kent attended Iowa State University in Ames, IA, and graduated Phi Kappa Phi with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science in 1964. He was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity.
In 1965, Kent was selected to be a young delegate for the International Farm Youth Exchange Program and lived in Finland for a year, learning about Finnish culture and life while being hosted by nine different families.
Kent then became a country agent through the University of Minnesota Extension Education Service and served in two Minnesota counties, Lyon County (1965-1968) and Rock County (1968-1976). He worked closely with 4-H youth programs, agricultural programs, and horticultural programs. He always said that being a county agent was his favorite job in life.
He was united in marriage to Debra (Debi) Boelman on September 4, 1971, at Grace Lutheran Church in Luverne, MN. Kent and Debi were blessed with two children, John Eric Ringkob and Mark David Ringkob.
In the spring of 1976, Kent and Debi Ringkob moved to the Ringkob family farm northeast of Jackson, Minnesota. Kent managed the farm from 1976 to 2015, a responsibility he took seriously. Kent was a conscientious steward of the farmland, and he endeavored to protect his family’s farm legacy in Jackson County.
Kent taught evening Adult Agricultural Classes at Minnesota West in Jackson, Minnesota in 1976-77. He also served as an Enterprise Earners 4-H Club leader and a Peewee Softball coach, which provided many memorable days in Kent’s life.
He served on the following boards throughout his lifetime, working with many talented people and having as a goal the common good of the Jackson community:
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church: Pastoral Call Committee, Dedication Committee, Church Council, Youth Programs, Worship and Life Committee member, Sunday School teacher, Church Council Vice-President, and Council President.
Jackson County Farm Bureau Board member: As County President in 1981-85, Kent wrote the LDP resolution, which he presented at the Minnesota State Farm Bureau Convention. The resolution was adopted and subsequently presented at the National Farm Bureau Convention. Kent’s work contributed to a significant change in American agriculture: from a government loan price to a free market system.
Jackson High School Board: JCC School Board member in 1990-1994; Negotiation Committee; Chairman of the School Board three times between 2006-2012.
AgStar Board of Directors from 2006-2012; Jackson County Corn and Soybean Growers Board member, serving in different levels of leadership; member of the I-90 Wind Power, LLC. Kent was proud of the four large wind towers on the Ringkob farm, providing energy to America.
Kent enjoyed traveling with his wife to interesting and far-flung international destinations: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Russia, England, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Iceland, Mexico and Canada. He also visited every state in the United States except West Virginia.
Kent fought over a seven-year battle with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and received treatments through both the Mayo Clinic of Rochester and Fairmont and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. In 2017 he became a part of a clinical trial at MD Anderson in Houston to help with the continuing research and development of a cure for the victims of MDS (bone marrow cancer). After Christmas 2017 the fight for a cure became too difficult for his body to handle and he entered hospice care at the Lakeview Methodist Care Center in Fairmont, Minnesota, on January 9, 2018. Kent passed away at the Lakeview Methodist Care Center on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at the age of 75 years, 5 months, and 24 days.
Kent is survived by his wife of more than 46 years, Debi Ringkob, Jackson; two sons, John (Jeani) Ringkob of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and Mark (Jennifer) Ringkob of Edina, Minnesota; five grandchildren, Jacob, Leah, and Peter Ringkob of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Benjamin and Andrew Ringkob of Edina, Minnesota; siblings, Kathleen Starrs of Littleton, Colorado, and Marita (Gene) Rouse of Huxley, Iowa; mother-in-law Goldie Boelman of Luverne, Minnesota; four sisters-in-law and spouses, Paula Ringkob of Reno, Nevada; Trudy Boelman of San Diego, California; Gail (Rick) Harmelink of Inwood, Iowa; and Jodie (Art) Schott of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; as well as eight nephews and four nieces.
Kent was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Esther Ringkob; his sister, Mary Ringkob; brother, Thomas Paul Ringkob; father-in-law, Marvin Boelman, and brother-in-law, James Starrs.
There will be a Celebration of Life service for Kent Ringkob at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Jackson during the summer of 2018, with a date yet to be determined.
Arrangements for this service will be handled by Osterberg Funeral Home of Jackson, Minnesota.
Blessed be the memory of Kent Arthur Ringkob.