Ringer chronicled local history through photos

November 07, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro resident Bob Ringer, known for his collection of thousands of local historical photos, died Tuesday.

Ringer, 81, spent his life in Waynesboro and as early as age 15, he began assuming the role of local historian by collecting photos of the area in its early days.

Ruth Gembe didn't meet Ringer until later in life when he sought out her help in researching the history of some of the photos that came into his possession.

"He would find pictures and would want me to help him find the history for it," said Gembe, library assistant for reference and genealogy at the Coyle Free Library in Chambersburg, Pa. "He would work for months at a time trying to get the names of all the people if it was a group photo. It was a challenge to him."


Gembe said the most recent project she knew he worked on was identifying pictures given to him from a local hotel that he hung in "his room" at the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library in Waynesboro just last week.

A back room at the library is crammed with hundreds of photographs, some taken in the 1800s, that depict in black and white much of the history of the community.

But that is only a sample of the old photographs Ringer spent more than 65 years gathering.

Jeff Mace, owner of the Parlor House Restaurant in Waynesboro, said he met Ringer more than a decade ago through his own interest in local history. He has many of Ringer's photos on display in the restaurant.

"His main passion was collecting old photographs," he said. "He spent a lot of his day at the library working on his photographs."

Mace also described Ringer as feisty and outspoken.

"You always knew where you stood with Bob, but he was a true friend," he said.

Ringer was a Marine Corps veteran who saw combat on Guadalcanal in World War II, and he co-authored three books in the 1990s with the late Carl V. Besore that used the photos to depict Waynesboro's history.

The Herald-Mail Articles