Aug. 17, 1933 – Nov. 17, 2013
The Rev. Donald T. Ranstrom, 80, of Davis died Nov. 17, 2013, at his home surrounded by his family. Don was born Aug. 17, 1933, in Warren, Minn., the son of Hazel and Ted Ranstrom. He grew up on a farm near Alvarado, Minn. In high school, he was introduced by his pastor to his future wife, Roberta Goodrich. He received a bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolfus College and a divinity degree from Augustana Seminary. He was ordained as a Lutheran Minister in 1959. Don’s first call as a pastor was to establish a Lutheran parish in Brigham City, Utah. In 1963 they moved to Sacramento, where Don served as pastor at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. In 1970 he began campus ministry at UC Davis, establishing The Belfry, a Lutheran and Episcopal student center. He was a licensed family therapist and also received a master’s in rhetoric from UCD where he was a lecturer in the rhetoric department. He was a founding director of International House, Davis.
Don and Roberta traveled extensively, studying in Latin America as well as in the Middle East. In 1986 they rode their tandem bicycle across the U.S. and Canada, stopping in Warren for Roberta’s class reunion.
Don enjoyed woodworking . He built a cabin in the Sierra’s where he enjoyed some rare spare time.
Don had keen sense of humor and a sharp wit. He would often perform a trick for his grandchildren which featured him simultaneously wiggling his forehead and ears — inspiring extreme admiration and fits of laughter.
Don is survived by wife Roberta, five of his six children and eight grandchildren. A memorial service and celebration of Don’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 27 at Davis Community Church 412 C St. In lieu of flowers, donations in Don’s memory can be made to The Belfry, the International House, Davis, or the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation.