David Robert Ringrose
June 1, 1938 - September 10, 2020
David R. Ringrose, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California San Diego, died on September 10, 2020 after a three-year struggle with metastatic pancreatic cancer. He was 82.After nearly a decade at Rutgers University, David joined the UCSD history department in 1974, where he taught Spanish and world history for 34 years. Widely admired as a scholar and a mentor, his research and many publications on the Spanish economy fundamentally recast the narrative of Spanish modernization, establishing Spain's particular path to prominence and setting it in a global context. David is remembered fondly by family, colleagues and graduate students alike for his dry wit and extraordinary collegiality, calm demeanor, steadying influence, and selfless commitment to helping others, both personally and professionally.Born in 1938 to Robert Ringrose and Leona Krengel Ringrose, David grew up in Minneapolis, one of four siblings. He graduated from Carleton College where he met Kathryn Mackay, his spouse, intellectual collaborator and travel companion. Together they traveled to dozens of countries all over the world, never passing up the chance to ride an elephant, swing on a jungle vine, sample regional delicacies, or participate in a dusty archeological dig. In 2010 they spent a semester at sea teaching and living in close quarters with 500 undergraduates while touring the coasts of Africa, India, and Asia.David's passion for ships shaped his retirement into a second career. No maritime museum, no matter how small or remote, escaped his notice or a family visit. At the San Diego Maritime Museum he trained dozens of fellow docents, indulged anyone who would listen with mini-lectures on the Spanish in the Americas, and organized a spectacular conference for the Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies in 2016. He delighted in sharing the details of the museum's hand-built, full-size working replica of Juan Cabrillo's San Salvador and took every opportunity to set sail along the California coast.The only prickly side to David was his thriving and ever-expanding collection of desert succulents and cacti, whose drought resistant properties were well suited to his off-handed watering style. He was much loved by the family's Boston Terriers, Zoe and Lola, who took every opportunity to interrupt his reading and editing. He also loved classical music and opera, and his fondness for organ music, Bach, and renaissance choral music was such that for years grandchildren were told that was all the family car radio could play. He patiently chauffeured family members to lessons, attended their concerts, and promoted community and professional music throughout San Diego County. He led by example and supported his family's activities even when he didn't understand what they were doing.The opportunity and intellectual curiosity afforded by his Carleton experience remained a constant connection that wove in and out of his and Kathryn's lives. He was a veteran of years of reunion planning, fund raising, and college-sponsored travel. This, combined with sharing the experiences of his spouse, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter as they too became Carleton alumni, created a deep pride in the institution and drove his desire to replicate that experience for others throughout his life.David's wife Kathryn survives him, as do his three siblings Donald, Margaret and John; his sons Daniel and Robert; daughters-in-law Kathy and Megan; and three grandchildren, Alexander, Celia, and Susan. In recognition of David's deep appreciation for education and travel, please consider donations in his name to the Carleton College Scholarship Fund and the San Diego Maritime Museum.
Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on Sep. 24, 2020.