Remembering Ware Lantz, 1917-2014: Story of ‘a life well-lived’

A memorial service is planned in April for Richard Ware Lantz of Fauntleroy, gone after what his family describes as “a full life,” and you’ll likely agree after reading the remembrance they’re sharing:

Ware Lantz, 97, died at home in his sleep on February 16, 2014, following a short illness. He lived up to his teenage nickname “Gadget,” for he was forever inventing, dissecting, conducting studies, diagramming, exploring new technologies, going wherever his curiosity took him. He was a consummate storyteller, and loved to read.

Ware was born in 1917, in Kearney, Nebraska. His earliest years were on a dry wheat farm in eastern Colorado. At the beginning of the Dust Bowl, his family moved to Hoquiam, Washington, where he grew up working in his father’s auto service/repair business. He put himself through college during the Depression, and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1940.

Early in the Second World War, he went to work at the Seattle Pacific Shipyard. He was immediately smitten with his new draftsman (appropriate term at the time), Ruth Immel, and they married eight months later.

They moved to Boston when Ware took a position at the Radiation Lab at MIT, working on development of radar defense systems. After the war, they relocated to California for work with North American Aviation, and in 1949 they moved to Seattle, where he worked for Boeing. While at Boeing, Ware was a supervisor on the Bomarc and Minuteman missile systems. After 30 years, he retired and began a second career, building architectural models, and picture framing.

When his hands could no longer manage delicate model pieces, he took commissions building church furniture. Until the week before he died, he was always working on one project or another, and providing assistance and counsel to others on an array of projects.

In 1979 Ware initiated organizing the Fauntleroy community to oppose legislative plans for major expansion of the local ferry dock and turning Fauntleroy Way into a state highway. In time, the Fauntleroy Environmental Association as it was known, evolved into the present day Fauntleroy Community Association. Ware was also one of the neighbors originally involved in establishing and maintaining Cove Park, immediately adjacent to the ferry dock.

Ware and Ruth raised their five children in the Fauntleroy neighborhood of West Seattle. When the children were gone, they moved to their final home on the beach of Fauntleroy Cove, and began serious travels to explore other cultures. They had been married 63 years when his beloved Ruth died. Two people could not have been more in love.

From the introduction of radio, to the development of radar, and the ubiquitous use of digital communication, Ware thrived on it all. His was a life well lived. His curiosity and gentle spirit will be greatly missed.

Ware is survived by his sister, Ruth Kraft, and his 5 children, Paul (Kathy) Lantz, Judy (Michael) Leary, Christine Lantz, Susan Lantz-Dey (Mike Dey), and Jennifer Lantz and her daughter, Jane Osteen.

A celebration of Ware’s life will take place at the Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California Ave. SW) on Sunday, April 6, at 1:30 PM. Donations in his name may be made to Heifer International (, the West Seattle Food Bank (, or the Mount St. Vincent Foundation (

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

7 Replies to "Remembering Ware Lantz, 1917-2014: Story of 'a life well-lived'"

  • miws February 28, 2014 (1:54 pm)

    What a fascinating life!


    Condolences to Mr. Lantz’s family and other loved ones.



  • planenut February 28, 2014 (5:06 pm)

    A wonderful neighbor and a most inspiring man. It has been a great honor to know him and be a friend and a pleasure to work with him on projects like Cove Park.
    We will miss him.

  • John Immel March 1, 2014 (9:52 am)

    Such a wonderful man—always with time to share to enthusiastically sort out a problem—I can’t ever recall one he couldn’t help solve. He was my dear Uncle—one of the rocks in my life that I could always count on. Always loved and always respected, he will always be missed. I smile to think of Ware and Ruth back together, hand in hand, no doubt gazing at another beautiful Fauntleroy sunset.

  • Francis Reynolds March 1, 2014 (10:46 pm)

    Ware was one of the smartest hands-on technical person I have ever known. We first met in the University of Washington in 1440 when he was my student-teacher in electrical engineering. Later, when he joined Boeing, he was my supervisor on guided missile design and other advanced engineering projects. We became close friends and worked together on several unique technical hobby
    projects. In recent years Ware and Ruth’s engineer son Paul, my engineer son Greg, Ware, and I carried on a number of four-way e-mail discussions on various technical subjects of interest to all of us.

    Good bye Ware. Thank you for being a wonderful friend. I will miss you greatly.

  • Carl Kamenzind March 2, 2014 (7:38 am)

    I was fortunate to meet Ware when he was 95. He had a zeal that suggested he would very much like to sail aboard “Minuet”, had he only the vitality this racer requires. Ware was a wee 12 years old when Minuet’s keel were laid, so naturally, he felt a bond with this small boat that recalled his youth.
    Ware (and Susan) kindly allowed for me to store my skiff on the beach at their Cove home while Minuet were anchored off from the beach house. Now and then, we would cross paths and chat. What a sharp tack, his mind was and the look in his eyes conveyed a willingness to share a treasure trove of knowledge to the willing opened-ear.

    Ware had a soft spot for the two geese sisters and was ready to hear a report of their well being. He explained their history and how it was believed that their mother orphaned them at The Cove after falling victim to a canine.

    I felt fortunate to meet Ware, Susan and the all of the other wonderful people at The Cove (between the dock and Lincoln Park). “Rest in peace dear Ware.”

  • john March 3, 2014 (10:04 am)

    Ware: Lives in my heart as a remarkable man with an engaging smile, warm- welcoming manner and a genuine curiosity about people; their lives, their interests and point so view. To experience such a sweet soul is rare in deed and one which leaves me wanting for that kind of life- a life lived to the fullest, always.

  • Jack Miller March 12, 2014 (9:17 pm)

    Ware was related to our family thru his wife’s brother (my uncle John Immel ) that was close enough to claim his as my uncle too Together with John Immel there seemed no limit to their ingenuity and cleverness. They both looked as wise as they truly were It was a joy to see them with their wives (Ruth and Jane ) take my boat on summer trips up the inside of Vancouver island well into their retirement It always came back with new built in furniture clever new gadgets and great stories. Ruth and Ware will always be a part of fauntleroy lore Art and ingenuity made for such a great couple the cove misses them already. Jack Miller

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