Founder of Hero Racing Works, design boffin, sculptor, and mechanic.
Ric Cummins died on July 19, 2022, at home. He was born on January 5, 1949, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Eugene J. Cummins, Sr., and Maria de los Angeles Quixano Cummins. He graduated from Villa St. Jean in Fribourg, Switzerland, and the University of Kansas with a degree in Business Administration.
Directly descended on his mother’s side from Alonzo Quixano, real-life pattern for the literary hero Don Quixote, he taught mechanics and welding for several years in Morocco during the 1970s, earning accolades from the Moroccan Ministry of Entr’Aide Nationale, the US State Department, and many other government and private agencies. Much of his history during this time remains clouded, but he experienced near Zelig-like encounters with many of the time’s famous and infamous, including Mohammed VI, the current monarch of Morocco; John F. Kennedy, Jr., and his mother; Jean Guyot and his wife Zizi, heroes of the French Resistance; Sly Stallone; Eldridge Cleaver; Jean-Pierre LeClercq; and Dan Gurney.
He returned to this country to serve as personal mechanic to Malcolm S. Forbes (whom Cummins had duct-taped back together after Forbes had been run over by a cow outside Tangiers) for a brief period before returning to Kansas as US director of Hero Racing Works and to found Cummins Design Corp. to design and build motorcycle fairings. In the late 1980s, he founded Rosinante to cast sculpture under technical patents in his name. Using the same technologies, as Rosinante-Argent Audio he began producing ultra-high-end speakers of his own design. These and other products for high-end audio were award-winning designs, receiving many Product of the Year distinctions. Renowned for an ironic sense of humor, he was quoted in interviews as saying that he was only a designer because he couldn’t get work as a waiter and that the reason for the superior sound he achieved was “because we put more vacuum in our tubes.” He held more than a dozen patents, ranging from chemical processes to electronic and acoustic innovations to medical appliances. In 2005, he was nominated to the Order of Commander of the French Legion of Honor.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Mortensen, his daughter, Gabrielle Anastasia, her husband, Ryan, and three grandchildren, Jaden, Isaiah, and Ozzy, as well as five sisters and one brother. A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers or donations, tell someone a good joke.