Dr. Norman Edward Ringer retired from his practice in 1984, but is vividly remembered by the medical community and families in Modesto.
He was an obstetrician and gynecologist for 32 years in Modesto, a skilled horseman and one of the founding physicians of Doctors Medical Center, then known as Doctors Hospital.
Dr. Ringer died Saturday at DMC after a long bout with a respiratory illness. He was 86.
"He probably delivered half the babies in town for many years," said William Roan Smith, an obstetrician who worked with Dr. Ringer from 1975 to 1980. "He was very committed to his patients."
Dr. Ringer firmly believed one had to "work hard to play hard," family members said. His playing days started on the gridiron at Ione High School in Amador County. The lineman played for the University of San Francisco beginning in 1938 but his career was cut short by a knee injury.
After graduating from USF, he went on to medical school in Nebraska and extensive training for a medical career before returning to California to start an obstetrical-gynecological practice in Modesto in 1952.
According to his family, he delivered more than 6,000 babies in Modesto.
"Norman was pretty much a perfectionist," said Joan Ringer, his wife of 57 years. "His father told him to get all the education he could."
His passion for horses inspired him to breed trotters and pacers on his ranch outside Modesto.
He served as a trustee at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club for 35 years and at the time of his death was president of the board of trustees.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Michael Ringer, Patrick Ringer, Christina Ringer, Linda Fitzmorris and Diana Ringer; one sister; and 10 grandchildren.
A vigil will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Colonial Chapel of Franklin & Downs. A Mass will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.
Remembrances may be made in his name to build a meditation room in the new St. Stanislaus Catholic Church on Maze Boulevard in Modesto.