Illinois Valley Community College honored the late Rick Rynke in a ceremony Tuesday, 60 years after he graduated from IVCC predecessor La Salle-Peru-Oglesby Junior College.
Rynke’s classmate and friend, William Taylor of Bonita Springs, Florida, donated to the IVCC Foundation to have a space in the Student Life Center named “Rick’s Room.”
Taylor and Rynke were lifelong friends who played euchre and hearts over lunch hour in LPO’s student lounge.
Taylor went on to a successful career with Big 4 accounting firm Deloitte and Rynke became an executive for IGA (the Independent Grocers Alliance) and later co-owned grocery stores in southern Illinois with his son. Rynke began his career at the A & P in La Salle and ended it with ownership of stores in Robinson, Oblong, Newton and Greenup.
Rynke died March 28 in Monticello at age 79.
“Rick was easy-going and had a terrific smile,” said his brother Ron, of Peru. “He was the hero of the family.”
Ron was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife Jolene and son Roger, brother Rich of La Salle, and his wife Maxine and son Scott.
IVCC President Jerry Corcoran read the plaque inscription: “’Rick’s Room.’ This space is named in memory of Roderick ‘Rick’ Rynke, a 1962 graduate of IVCC predecessor LPO Junior College.
“A Peru native, Mr. Rynke went on to become a successful grocery store owner and was named IGA’s 2007 International Retailer of the Year.
“Classmate and friend William Taylor, who sponsored Rick’s memorial, said the two spent many joyful hours in LPO’s student lounge playing cards.”
Executive Director of Community Relations and Development Fran Brolley thanked Taylor for creating the honorarium and sharing memories of his friend. IVCC hopes to establish an annual euchre tournament for students, faculty and staff in Rynke’s name.