The following biographical sketch is adapted from
the "News of the Church: Elder Hans B. Ringger of the First Quorum of the
Seventy" published in the Ensign for May 1985 on the occasion of
Elder Ringger's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Hans Benjamin Ringger was no stranger to new Church
callings. He served as an elders quorum president, a bishop, a stake president,
and a regional representative before receiving his new calling as a member
of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Born on 2 November 1925, in Zurich, Switzerland,
he was active in the Church all his life. His grandmother, Elizabeth
Zoebeli Ringger, joined the Church in 1896, and his parents, Carl Ringger,
Jr., and Maria Reif, were also active members. He was the sixth child in
a family of ten children. “I always had good examples,” he said of his
family. “I feel activity in the Church is the way to learn how the gospel
works and to gain a testimony.”
His wife, Helene Susy Zimmer Ringger, was also a third-generation
member of the Church. The couple met at a Sylvesterabend (New Year’s Eve)
Church dance in 1949. They were married in 1952, and sealed in the Swiss
Temple in 1955 after it was completed. They had four children—a son and
The call was a surprise to the Ringgers. They were
in Salt Lake City to attend the Regional Representatives’ Seminar and had
planned to stay for general conference. Thursday night, Brother Ringger
received a telephone call asking if he could meet with President [Gordon
B.]Hinckley. Their children were even more unsuspecting. Sister Ringger
and her three daughters were sitting together in the Tabernacle during
the Saturday morning session of conference. When they heard their father’s
name during the sustaining, all three daughters turned to her at once,
saying “Was?” (which means “What?” in German).
Elder Ringger, an electrical engineer by profession,
received his degree in 1949. Later, his father-in-law, an architect who
had helped build the Swiss Temple, suggested that he study architecture.
Brother Ringger returned to school, graduating in 1959 with a degree in
architecture from the Technical University of Switzerland in Zurich. He
felt that a person is never too old to change or learn. “I have had two
professions. … I will start my third profession now.”
As a bishop and a stake president he learned much
about responsibility and speaks highly of his experiences as a local Church
leader, where “it was the great testimonies of the members that meant most
in my assignment.”
The Ringgers enjoyed skiing, biking, and music. Elder
Ringger was the only member of the family who doesn’t play a musical instrument.
“He is a good listener,” said Sister Ringger. “I play the radio,” he laughed.
They enjoy singing—especially old Church
songs that are not sung much in meetings any more.
Elder Ringger also loved to read. Once, when asked
in a family home evening to describe her father’s hobbies, daughter Regula
said that her father read “only holy things.” He especially likes the scriptures
and history. “For me, the scriptures are
history,” says Elder Ringger. “To understand people is only possible
when you know their background. … When you know why they are how they are,
where they are, and what they did in the last centuries, you can understand
the people.” He collected first editions of the Book of Mormon in different
languages and has a copy in every language except Spanish and Norwegian.
Active in politics and in many professional committees
in Switzerland, Elder Ringger said that to be happy, we must go the second
mile. “Life is a time to grow—to get experience and to get strength. And
you can only get them when you go the second mile. For me, the second mile
is a part of the law of consecration. With the law of consecration, we
have no limits.”
Elder Ringger faithfully served in the First Quorum
of the Seventy and was named an Emeritus General Authority on September
Elder Hans Benjamin Ringger, emeritus member of the First
Quorum of the Seventy, died at his home in Basel, Switzerland, on Oct. 18, 2010.