The actress Molly Ringwald has written the obituary of her late father, the jazz pianist Bob Ringwald. On August 3rd, the musician passed away at the age of 80. No cause of death has been revealed.
In a tribute, Ringwald wrote: “Anyone who knew Bob also knew his mischievous streak, and his ever-present, slightly ribald sense of humour,” she said, adding: “If you didn’t sufficiently beg to get off of his email joke list, you would have received one just a couple of days before he died.”
In an Instagram post, Molly Ringwald shared a link to the obituary, writing: “It’s with a heavy heart that my family says goodbye to my father. I consider myself very lucky to have had in my life as long as I did.”
Bob Ringwald was one of the best jazz pianists of his generation. He was born in Roseville, California in 1940, and was declared blind at an early age. His piano lessons began at the age of five and quickly developed a talent for the instrument, honing his skill in nightclubs from the age of 17.
In his obituary, Molly Ringwald wrote of her father’s love for Louis Armstrong: “Although Bob was first drawn to modern jazz, performing at local Beatnik spots such as The Iron Sandal, it was the music of Louis Armstrong that inspired him to shift his musical focus — instilling a lifelong passion for the performance and preservation of “traditional” New Orleans jazz.”
Ringwald’s daughter goes on to talk about his work as a board member of the Sacremeonto Jazz Festival. He helped organise the festival in 1974 and performed there with his group The Fulton Street Jazz band. However, as Molly Ringwald remembers, he always retained a sense of modesty, writing of how “he always claimed to be ‘just the guy who said it would never work.”
Ringwald goes on to describe her father’s influence on the public’s perception of disability, writing: “Though he never wanted to be defined by his blindness, he couldn’t help being an ambassador for changing the perception of what is possible to do while living with a disability.”
The obituary is a touching tribute to a loving father, and one of jazz’s greats.