Richard F. ‘Ric’ Cummins

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.

Messages & Condolences

From Clifford Thompson...

Ric & I were classmates & as fellow Seniors graduated together in ‘67 from the boarding school Villa St. Jean International School in Fribourg, Switzerland. We shared interest in music, he in audio tech, me in an after-school rock band, even decades later, after the alumni had formed a website & Facebook group, via email, learning of his high end audio systems. Here is a photo album of him created from screenshots of our online yearbooks he worked on, @ https://bit.ly/3vrVArh. Additionally my dad silent 8 color videoed our Graduation Ball at which my rock band played & in an ~ 8 minute clip of the event, Ric can be seen dancing for a few seconds, appearing emerging just over & behind a fella’s (with back to the camera) left shoulder, at time code 4:29-4:31, Ric @ https://bit.ly/RicCummins, the whole clip @ https://bit.ly/VSJGRAD.

From Rich & Ginny Hedges...

Mary and Gabrielle, we offer our sincere condolences. Ric was an amazing individual. My first encounter with Ric was when he recruited me for the parts manager position at Competition Sports cars in 1971. His humor, knowledge and stories of his life was truly amazing. I also assisted him with his venture in Night Wing motorcycle fairings. While if never took of as he had hoped, it gave me a look into his amazing talents for design. Rest in peace Ric.

From Luis Alberto...

I am saddened by this news. I had tried reaching out to Ric and I wanted to share my experiences with his Rosinante speakers. I have had many joyful years of music because of Ric’s design. For awhile I had hope for the Gabrielle speakers. So to hear this news is shattering.
I celebrate your life and applaud your genius!

From Rick Aldrich...

I has the pure pleasure of getting to work with Rick at En-Tire Car Care back when it was a real Tire /Auto repair shop. Loved hearing his story’s from life’s journeys. We both shared the same passion for hi end home audio and had many of in depth conversations about it. A great man gone to soon but will always be remembered by many.

From Ary Laudeman...

My deepest condolences. I will always know Ric and Uncle Weenie, per his request. He was such a fun, brilliant and eclectic person. The few fond memories I have of him are vivid and full of life. This is how I will always remember him. Sending all his loved ones love and peace through this difficult time. And hopefully some laughter as well when reminiscing about Ric’s quirkiness. I will def be telling someone a good joke in his honor.

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