Douglas Robert Ronning, 91, of Longwood, Florida spoke his final tusen tukk (Norwegian for a thousand thanks) and passed to his heavenly reward surrounded by his loving family at his home on July 1, 2021.
Douglas was born on October 22, 1929 to Ole and Lorraine Ronning in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a young boy he loved to work at his father’s hamburger stand flipping burgers for hours on end at the Minneapolis airport. The third of four boys he spent his childhood playing in Riverside Park on the “rock”, ball games in the summer and sledding and speed skating in the winter. In 1947 he graduated from South High School and two years later he enrolled in the Army. Upon his release from the Army, he attended the University of Minnesota where he majored in business. His first job after graduation was with Northwestern Bell as a pole climber and entering manholes in the streets with conditions that were so severe, he would describe dunking his frozen sandwich in his coffee to thaw it. Over the next 30 years he advanced in jobs and responsibilities until his retirement from AT&T in 1986. Throughout those 34 years of working at AT&T, he developed lifelong friendships with his co-workers and always spoke fondly of his working years and the difference that he and his colleagues were making in the world of telecommunications.
In the mid 1950’s he met the love of his life, Carol, who predeceased him 5 months to the day earlier. They celebrated 64 years of marriage in August of 2020. Douglas was a loving and devoted father to his four children and taught them the value of hard work, commitment, and the pursuit of excellence. He was involved in their activities such as Indian Guides and Warriors, athletics, the arts and traveled with them throughout the United States and Europe. The children have fond memories of camping trips that they took traveling to Florida, the Outer Banks and across the country in 1974.
A few years after his retirement, he and Carol purchased a neglected home in a beautiful neighborhood in Longwood, Florida. Carol and Doug spent many days and nights lovingly restoring the home to its final glory. Hard physical labor and restoration was not foreign to him as he had done restoration work on classic cars and his beloved boat, Aquavit, in the 70’s and 80’s.
Proud of his Norwegian heritage he embraced the food, culture and language. He would always greet others with various Norwegian sayings and expected a response back in Norwegian. No one left his home unless they had a meal of his famous Norwegian pancakes and lively conversation. At Christmas, the cookies that Doug and Carol made were not only delicious but worthy of a magazine cover for Bon Appetit.
He is survived by his children, Craig (Kathleen) of New Hope, PA, Lauri Zeni of Albuquerque, NM, Dirk (Jenny) of Maitland, FL, and Todd (Christine) of Lake Mary, FL. Grandchildren – Jennifer Haines, Amber Haines, Megan Doyle, Mark Ronning, Blake Ronning and 7 great grandchildren, his brother Gary (Barbara) Ronning and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his wife Carol, son-in-law Douglas Zeni and brothers Eugene and Howard Ronning.
A memorial will be held on August 14,2021 at 10:00 AM at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Wounded Warrior Project.
Link to the Memorial Service – this is continuously and currently available online to access and view the service