On May 4, the Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa communities lost a great friend. Col. Robert “Bob” Dingeman, often referred to as “Mr. Scripps Ranch,” passed away on Saturday just a month before his 97th birthday. Col Dingeman served the Scripps Ranch community since the 1970’s, when Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa shared schools and many facilities. His biography from the Dingeman Elementary website:
Robert Edward Dingeman was born on June 12th, 1922 at Fort Mills, Corregidor, Philipine Islands to Blanche Dingeman, and Captain Ray Edward Dingeman, Coast Artillery. In 1938, Bob DingemanCol Robert E. Dingeman enrolled at Park College, Parkville, MO after his first attempt to win an appointment to West Point did not succeed. When his father was ordered to Hawaii in 1939, he moved with his family and enrolled at the University of Hawaii where he took up football and surfing during his free time. In 1940, he left the university in a second attempt at a West Point appointment, this time enlisting in Company “A” 35th Infantry at Schofield Barracks to compete for the West Point Preparatory School, and while his grades were high enough, he did not pass the physical exam. He returned to the University of Hawaii and joined the ROTC program. On the morning of December 7th, 1941, Japanese bombers and fighter planes attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. Bob Dingeman, a First Sergeant in the ROTC program, was called to duty with the Hawaiian Territorial Guard and became the personal bodyguard to Governer Poindexter. After years of hard work and perseverance, he finally received his coveted appointment and entered West Point in July, 1942. The four-year course was shortened by one year, and he graduated with his classmates in 1945 with a commission in the Field Artillery. The day after his graduation from West Point, he married his sweetheart Gaye on June 6th, 1945. Then he was shipped off with his classmates to begin a long and distinguished career with the United States Army that included tours in the Philippines, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. He received the Silver Star, Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. Col Dingeman retired from the U.S. Army in 1975 after thirty years of service to his country.
Upon retirement, Bob Dingeman began a second career serving his community as a volunteer and civic leader. He became an instructor at Miramar College and taught mathematics, history, and political science for seventeen years. He established the Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA) and held every officer position including president. He was instrumental in the founding of the SRCA Newsletter, serving as editor, and was a major contributor of the articles in the Newsletter, which is delivered by volunteers each month to the residents of Scripps Ranch. He served as chairman of many community groups, including the SRCA Parks Committee, Civic Affairs Committee, Annual 4th of July Parade, Scripps Miramar Ranch Community Planning Group, Miramar Ranch North Community Planning Committee, and Los Penasquitoes Canyon Preserve Historical Committee. His leadership and active community involvement was instrumental in transforming Scripps Ranch into a great place to live. On December 13th, 1994, the San Diego Unified School Board voted unanimously to name a new elementary school in Scripps Ranch after Col Robert E. Dingeman.