Ranney, Richard L.
MADISON
Richard L. Ranney, age 89, died on Thursday, May 29, 2008, at the HospiceCare Center in Fitchburg. He was born on June 10, 1918, in Prineville, Ore., the son of Jenny and Clinton Ranney. Dick grew up in a lumber camp in Oregon and on the family farm in Menomonie, Wis. He attended elementary school in the lumber camp and at Lamb's Creek, a one-room school in Wisconsin. He attended high school at the Dunn County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, receiving a degree in agricultural engineering from UW-Madison.

In 1943, he married Lorraine Nesvig in Stoughton. Together they raised five daughters, Joan, Mary, Susan, Karen, and Ellen. During World War II, he worked in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., designing packaging for war material. Following the war, he and Lorraine settled in Madison, where he worked for Lincoln National Life Insurance for more than 50 years, specializing in retirement planning. He was a member of the Chartered Life Underwriters of Madison. He enjoyed gardening, watching Badgers sports and preserving family history. He republished a genealogy of the Ranney family dating back to the 1600s and was instrumental in connecting descendants across the country. He and his granddaughter, Julia, recently completed a memoir of his life titled, "Grandpa's Stories." He loved forests, especially his special piece of land, "the tree farm," near Arena. He planted thousands of pine trees over the years. Each year one of these trees graced the family living room at Christmas. He was even known to enhance the natural beauty of this tree by adding extra branches. The tree farm gave him many hours of solace and provided a retreat from the stresses of life. The family called the tree farm his psychiatrist. After transforming the land from a sandy wasteland to a plantation of all pine trees, he donated it to the University of Wisconsin in memory of his brother who died when he was a student there. Above all, he loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had a special touch with babies, often succeeding in calming crying babies with his signature off-key singing and gentle movement.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Lorraine; his five daughters, Joan (Jim) Westgard of Madison, Mary (Tom) Richards of Menomonie, Susan (Brian Shapiro) Ranney of Plymouth, Minn., Karen (Ira Druckler) Ranney of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Ellen (Jon Weiss) Ranney of Madison; grandchildren, Kristin (Gordon Kirsten) Westgard, Sten (Jill) Westgard, Kate (Grant) Applehans, Julia (Mike) Cechvala, Ben Shapiro, Rebecca Shapiro, Abe Uchitelle, Hershel Uchitelle, Kari Weiss, and Emma Weiss; and his great-grandchildren, Linnea, Alex, Maren, and Henry. He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Donald. He requested that his body be given to the UW-Madison Medical School. A memorial will be held at a later date. The family wishes to thank Jennifer of Meriter Home Health as well as his compassionate caregivers at Brightstar and HospiceCare. Memorials of remembrance may be given to Midvale Lutheran Church, HospiceCare of Dane County, University Lakeshore Preservation or to an educational charity of the donor's choice.

 

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