Roger Gingrich, newly installed President of the Barrington Public Library Foundation, was elected “bookworm” of his 1966 senior high school class and is still a passionate lover of books. He admits that while books do, in fact, bring visual and tactile pleasure, it is really knowledge that he derives from reading that is most enticing and rewarding. He was born and grew up on a farm near Peoria, Il and lived with his parents and 5 siblings in the home of the gentleman who owned the farm. At the time of his death most of his library remained in the house. One book had a continuing fascination with Roger, called the Lincoln Library of Essential Knowledge (published in 1924), and he recalls spending countless evenings during his elementary and middle school years reading and re-reading this book. A second set of books caught his attention in the 4th grade classroom of Mrs. Ruble written by Augusta Stevenson. These books were biographies of numerous American heroes from George Washington to Eli Whitney to George Washington Carver to Ernie Pyle.
So, books and the pursuit of knowledge led him to Macalester College (BA), Weill Cornell Medical College (MD), then at the U of Iowa a residency and fellowship in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology, respectively. Not satisfied with just the doing-part of what he had learned, he was driven to learn by research and discovery and so pursued research training at the University of Oxford in the UK (PhD). During his 30+ year professional career at the U of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics he published over 100 articles in professional journals on basic questions concerning the biology of cancer cells as well as clinical research on stem cell transplantation.
During a very busy career there were a number of pursuits outside of medicine that were of interest but were simply put aside in favor of his family of 3 children, recreation and sleeping. At retirement in 2011 Roger was able to pick up on some of those pursuits such as reading voraciously outside of the medical field (fiction and non-fiction, biographies and history being the most favored), enjoying time with his 3 grown children and their families, landscaping-gardening, woodworking and, now that he and his wife Patty (of 47 years) live on Swains Lake, water recreation.
Since moving to Barrington in 2012 he has been involved in 68 hours to End Hunger, the Campaign Leadership Council of the BPL and in the lives of his grandchildren especially 2 who live in Barrington. Both Patty and Roger have not only connected with many other Barrington citizens through the programming of the BPL but have also seen many ways to improve that facility. When in late 2017 the call went out for interested individuals to step forward to support the newly proposed Barrington Public Library and Community Center, there was no hesitation that they would become involved with a primary goal being to help this entire community succeed in making the town better for everyone, including their children and grandchildren for decades to come.