Jack Richard Rominger - Resident of Palo Alto

Jack Rominger, a long time Palo Alto community member and early force in shaping Silicon Valley, died of a heart attack April 28 while travelling in Europe.

"Jack" was born in Omaha, Nebraska on September 16, 1929, to parents Ralph and Mary Rominger. He was the second of four sons, with older brother Vern and younger brothers Harold and Jim (deceased). The family moved to Lamar, Colorado due to the dust bowl of the 30s and later settled permanently in the southern Rocky Mountain town of Del Norte, Colorado.

He graduated from the University of Colorado in 1952 with a degree in Architectural Engineering and married his college sweetheart, Mary Frances Sickenberger (Fran), soon after. The couple relocated to southern California for Jack's first job. Jack joined the Air Force in 1953 during the Korean War and was based in Pleasanton, California working as a draftsman. Upon his discharge in 1957, he joined the Palo Alto architectural firm of Clark, Stromquist, Potter and Ehrlich, where he began to perfect what would be a career and lifelong passion.

In 1968, Jack, in unison with Joe Ehrlich and Rod Heft, formed the architectural firm of Ehrlich, Heft & Rominger, known as "EHR," which later became Ehrlich Rominger, "ER". The partnership proved quite successful and was a strong contributor to the emergence of Silicon Valley as the world leader in high-tech. ER's pioneering clean-room design was incorporated into many of the valley's microelectronic companies, like Fairchild, Varian, Watkins-Johnson and Hewlett Packard.

This success allowed Jack to follow other pursuits and dreams, such as his design and personal construction of the family's award-winning cabin at Bear Valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He also designed about 10 other Bear Valley cabins, and in such efficient and personal dwellings perhaps best expressed his true talent for marrying design with function.

As an outgoing individual,' the epitome of optimism', with a happy family and many friends, Jack long played an active role in Palo Alto and beyond. He was a member of the Peninsula Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto and the Volunteer Bureau of Santa Clara County, served on the Bear Valley Architectural Review Board and, in more recent years, became deeply involved with the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden and Palo Alto Community Fund. For many years Jack and Fran have been patrons of the arts, contributing to and supporting the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet.

After Jack retired from Ehrlich Rominger in 1984, he and Fran began to travel extensively with family and friends to both visit and experience foreign cultures and to pursue his passions for skiing and golf.

It was while travelling on a six-week European trip with Fran that Jack suffered a heart attack in the Italian Alps - living life as always to the fullest, to the very last moment.

Jack was always quick to smile and brought ease and joy to all he touched, and made it a priority to help others, acting as a mentor to many young architects and designers, including several nieces and nephews. His generous heart and giving nature were a gift that he shared freely, and all who knew him were better for it. To the friends of his children, Jack was considered a second father, for Jack gave them rich experiences and counsel that would shape their lives forever. He was greatly admired for his sense of humor, his commitment to family, his positive and energetic outlook, his sense of duty and honor, and his unconditional love.

He will be forever fondly remembered and grievously missed by his surviving family: his loving wife, Fran, his son and daughter and son-in-law, three grandchildren, two brothers and two sisters-in-law, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. We miss him so very, very much.

A memorial and celebration of Jack's life will be held on Sunday, May 15, at 2:00 pm at Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club, 2900 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA.

In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to offer tribute to Jack is encouraged to make a contribution to one of the following organizations:

The Ehrlich Rominger American Institute of Architects (AIA) Scholarship Fund

The Palo Alto Community Foundation

The Gamble Garden (Palo Alto) 1431 Waverley, Palo Alto, CA 94301.


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