Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018
Golden Years

Rominger let one project pay for the other

By Justin Webster, Ledger sports editor | Sep 14, 2018
Ronald ‘Ron’ Rominger was born in Bloomfield on April 30, 1936 and moved to Fairfield to work for The Ledger in 1957.

Ronald “Ron” Rominger was born in Bloomfield on April 30, 1936.

“That makes me 82 years old and I’m still going,” clarified the former assistant advertising manager for the Fairfield Ledger, who still has several long-time friends in the building.

Ron went to school at Davis County before marrying his wife Barbara in 1954. In 1957, Rominger accepted a position at The Ledger and moved to Fairfield. He stayed in an apartment by himself until his oldest daughter Terry was born in Bloomfield and could be moved with Barbara to reunite the family. The couple had a second daughter named Deb, and they raised their two children in Fairfield.

Ron started in the back of The Ledger, building ads using hot print (metal), until one day the publisher asked if he wanted to go to school in Mt. Pleasant. The publisher paid all of his expenses for two years on the hush and then moved him up front to sales before he retired as assistant sales manager.

Rominger admits that because he never drank or smoked, he had some trouble making friends over the first few years, but once the family settled in, they never wanted to leave.

In fact, Rominger had two very social hobbies.

Always a fan of singing, Ron and a friend drove to Des Moines one Sunday a month for a year to take lessons as a square dance caller. Before long, Rominger was invited to call for the Fairfield square dance club.

He retired from calling and teaching dance nine years ago, right after the New Year’s event.

“I did it 41 years and wanted to quit and focus on family before I got burnt out,” said Rominger. “I was calling on the road two to five nights a week.”


Branson bound

One of Rominger’s earliest projects was remodeling a 1971 Winnebago that he found in Centerville that had been burned from the windows up, even though it was only a year old.

Ron’s best friend Clifford Pepper and another buddy from Mt. Pleasant worked on the project on Sundays while Pepper’s dad would keep him company.

Having already bought a motor home where they did a lot of camping on the weekends, Rominger decided while he was home recooperating from a surgery that he would set up a caravan of campers to travel to Branson for a week each year.

He set up campgrounds, shows and meals and the first year they just barely got a 10th couple to get them the group rate.

Soon, they were going down for a second week and rotating out two different groups for a week at a time.

While the groups would go down in September, Ron and Barbara would go back down by themselves in October and set up the following year to secure the best options for the campers.

One time, Ron tried booking 70 center theater tickets for a popular show and was told they could only be accomadated with the first several rows on the side due to a “large bus group”.

Rominger declined and told the manager that he would call them back next year, and before he knew it, the theater was calling him back with the tickets he requested because as he puts it, “money talks!”

The final year was 35 groups and 75 people and while it kept them busy for 10 years, Rominger said that eventually “it felt like a job.”


Hawkeye car

Rominger had an idead, although he doesn’t know where it came from.

Ron has always supported the Hawks. His best dog ever was named Herky. He even set out to build a black and gold car.

Ron bought a motorcyle and “cut it in two at the handlebars and built more framing, then welded it into the frame.”

Ron explains further, “There was just an engine compartment and I built a frame around it. I bought a steering assembly and an axle out of a small Volkswagen and put it in there and then I got an adaptor and changed the front wheels from Volkswagen to Chevrolet.”

Other than that, Rominger built everything by hand.

“Most people don’t believe I built it by myself and it was the first bodywork I had ever done, but a fella I knew loaned me a bending brake which takes it from hand made to factory made with square corners. It was easy to use after a while,” explained the octogenarian.

He said it was supposed to be a parade car, but it has yet to stroll the streets of Fairfield during such an event.

This year was going to be its first, but he went out to start it up and get it ready and it wouldn’t turn over.

It has a switch and a push button start, and when he pushed the button and nothing happened, he took it apart and lost a spring and parts flew everywhere.

After a trip to the mechanic and looking at a different year of the same bike, they now believe the problem is a short in the switch, although Ron can’t locate it.

Unless Ron can find someone to help him with it quickly, “It won’t be in a parade this year,” sad a disappointed Rominger.


Future projects

While Ron has stayed busy for decades working on projects, he has recently had to slow down since he got a pace maker and can no longer use his welder.

That limits Rominger to smaller projects and soon he expects to move into a condo with Barbara, although the couple plans on staying in Fairfield.

“You do it because you enjoy it,” said a reflective Rominger. “I always just wanted to get my money back out of something so I could start a new project.”

Ron said he’s not sure he’s ready to give up his shop and home, but at his age it makes sense.

He’s not sure if it’ll be this fall or next summer, but they’ll be moving soon.

“But we’re staying in Fairfield,” he said.

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