Richard (Rick) E. Ransburg, who turned his passion for golf and keen eye for detail into a career devoted to the sport, died Feb. 8, 2012. He was 52.
Known for his quick wit and unflappable demeanor, Rick had a playful side that he readily tapped as well as an intensity he applied to both work and hobbies.
A native of Indiana, Rick graduated from Prairie Heights High School and went on to Michigan State University, where he studied turf grass science. He worked as assistant golf course superintendent at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Mich. and at La Jolla Country Club in San Diego, Calif., before taking the same post overseeing an expanse of dirt that would become an acclaimed golf course at Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif.
He became golf course superintendent and later took on an expanded role as director of recreation at Aviara, now known as Park Hyatt Aviara.
After being promoted from golf course superintendent, Rick’s role at the resort expanded to overseeing tennis and a clubhouse restaurant, and helped launch a popular summer jazz concert series.
In a 2011 interview with Southland Golf Magazine, Rick talked about his pride in Aviara's Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, which he monitored even on his days off. "Every step of the way, we tried to do something that would last," he told the magazine. "I'm proud to say that after 20 years, applying that principle has worked."
Since 2009, he served on the board of the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the ecological reserve adjacent to the resort. He also was a board member of the Aviara Master Association, the umbrella homeowner's group for Aviara communities.
Rick was born in Kendallville, Ind., and raised in South Milford, a tiny town famously saluted on the TV show, "Hee Haw." He and his wife, fellow Hoosier Elizabeth Douglass, for years hosted annual "Hoosierfest" parties, bringing friends together in a setting marked by a large cow cutout. He was an avid gardener with an encyclopedic knowledge of plants who took pride in creating a backyard oasis at their home. At times, he scoured plant stores for nearly dead specimens to coax into beautiful blooms. He was an automotive enthusiast with a particular passion for small cars, and even joined a Miata car club.
He begrudgingly doted on the couple's two cats, CeCe and Opie. He and his wife enjoyed traveling, and celebrated his 50th birthday with a golf trip through Scotland, and marked their 20th anniversary with a trip to Bali.
Rick is survived by his wife of 23 years, Elizabeth, his mother Imo Jewel, siblings Robert, Karen Carter, Sharon Reinking and Joyce Jannuzzello, as well as 65 nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by another brother, Ron.
A Gathering of Friends will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Hite Funeral Home in Kendallville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the: Susan G. Komen for the Cure.