Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Obituary ~ Robert C. "Bob" Ransom
January 22, 1937 ~ October 22, 2016

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
pages A1 & A2

Bob Ransom, owner of historic bar, dies at 79
Wanted customers to enjoy themselves, daughter says

by John Skipper

MASON CITY -- Ransom's was open for business Monday, but it wasn't business as usual.

Longtime owner Bob Ransom, a mainstay at the bar for decades, died Saturday at the age of 79.

"This is just as he would have wanted it," said his daughter, Tammy Davies, sitting at a table near the bar where three or four patrons were having a beer and conversing. "He always wanted to make sure people were enjoying themselves.

"He liked people to think he was mean and growly, but he had a heart of gold," she said.

For instance, when contruction crews were working in extreme heat in teh downtown area six years ago, Ransom set a cooler full of bottled water on the sidewalk outside the bar and invited the workers to help themselves.

"That's the kind of person he was," Davies said.

"He loved to entertain. We had people at the house all the time. We didn't have a very big family, but at Thanksgiving or Christmas we always had 10 extra people for dinner - and food for 500," she said.

Ransom was a fourth-generation owner of what is officially known as Ransom's Cigar Store, 120 N. Federal Ave., a place that had ties all the way from Abraham Lincoln to Meredith Willson.

Ransom's great-grandfather, Court Ransom, was a Civil War veteran who spent some times as a guard to President Lincoln. He opened his cigar store and pool hall a year after the war ended.

Over the next several decades, ownership shifted from one generation of Ransoms to the next and the store switched names and locations several times. It was known as Ransom's, the Brunswich, the Alexandria, the Pleaszol and Ransom's again.

[Page A2] It was the Pleazol that Meredith Willson had in mind when he warned in "The Music Man" that "there's trouble in River City, trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool.

Ownership started with Court Ransom then was passed on to Court's son, Tod; then to Tod's son, Harley; and then to Bob.

Davies said she and her brother, Todd, plan on being the fifth generation to run it. "That's plan for now," she said.

Services for Bob Ransom are pending under direction of Fullerton Funeral Home.

~ ~ ~ ~

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Page A8

Robert "Bob" Ransom

MASON CITY -- Robert "Bob" C. Ransom, 79, of Mason City, died Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpartien Unit, Mason City.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 at Fullerton Funeral Home, Mason City, where visitation will be one hour prior to services. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to make contributions to the Robert C. Ransom Memorial Fund.

Condolences and sharing with Donna, Tammy and Todd, may be done on the funeral home webpage, wwww.Fullertonfh.com or Facebook/Fullertonfuneralhomes.

Robert was born on January 22, in Mason City the son of Harley and Annabelle Ransom. He graduated from Mason City High School and then attended Mason City Junior College. He joined Interstate Power for a short time and then became partners with his father in business at Ransomís Cigar Store. In 1965 Bob took over and became the sole proprietor.

The business is one of the oldest family operated businesses in Mason City, having four different locations with Bob being the fourth generation owner and operator. Ransomís Cigar store is the last place in North Iowa to find a snooker table. Many lessons were given and learned at those tables, along with card lessons every Saturday morning.

He and Donna also operated the Country House Restaurant for many years. Many employees were with Bob and Donna for over 20 years and one current employee for close to 50 years.

Bob met Donna while socializing with friends and they were united in marriage on September 15, 1967 in Las Vegas, NV. Many, many trips were made back there as it was their favorite place to go. Bob and Donna were the consummate host and hostess and always loved entertaining. With their group of friends they often met at the Country Club, and would often end their time by inviting friends, staff and others out to eat at Northwestern Steak House or to their home, sometimes just to socialize and other times to play cards.

It was a weekly treat to go out and spend time eating at many of the bars and restaurants in and around Mason City. Bob always made sure to step into the kitchen to laugh and joke with the owners and staff. For many years he enjoyed have Saturday morning breakfast and driving around town with his daughter Tammy to stay up to date on the current events.

Even though Bob did not have a recognized religion, he often helped others in need with money, a place to stay, friendly advice, or just to do for others, as he would want for himself. If he was your friend he would do anything to help you.

When he received his Sunday license to operate he would share his type of communion with popcorn and beer. To keep things lively he would share in contests on sporting events such as baseball, football and NASCAR. Bob always had a project on the burner, even up to the last year. He redid all the woodwork in his home and loved doing woodworking for others.

No matter what happened his family came first, not just with holidays which they loved, but all year. He instilled in his children the responsibility, respect and honor that children need to grow up right. Even letting them skin their knees once in a while to learn a valuable lesson in life but loved them dearly.

Although the family is small it is mighty with survivors Donna his wife of 49 years, two children Tammy and her husband Scott Davies, Todd and his wife Sharon Ransom, all of Mason City, three grandchildren, Joseph and Samantha Davies, and Jon Ransom, two great grandchildren Isaac and Izabella Davies, his brother Dr. James (Marsha) Ransom, three nieces, one nephew, his beloved dog Shadow and surrogate daughter Peggy Feltus after her own father passed away.

His parents and Aunt Dorothy Crumb preceded him in death.

Fullerton Funeral Home, Mason City, is handling arrangements.

Transcriber's Note: Ransom's Cigar Store was featured on page 26 of the 1953 Mason City Centennial Issue of the Globe Gazette.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016

 

 

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