John Rattenbury 1928-2021

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m.perrino
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 10:46 pm

John Rattenbury 1928-2021

Post by m.perrino »

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I report the passing of John Rattenbury. Born in Victoria, Canada, educated at the University of British Columbia and Oregon State University, he joined the Fellowship in 1950 and became a U.S. Citizen.
A co-founder of T.A.A. ( Taliesin Associated Architects), John's work supported the Fellowship during some lean years. He was directly involved with the Marin County project, as well as acting as Project Architect for Grady Gammage Auditorium ( now known as Gammage Auditorium - on the campus of Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona ). His reworking of the never executed home for Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, became a golf club house on the big island of Hawaii. His residential work was highlighted by "Life" Magazine in 1997 with the "Life Dream House" and its variants. John exemplified the spirit of Taliesin and remained always, a loyal foot soldier, in the cause of organic architecture.

May his memory be a blessing, for all time. R.I.P.

DavidC
Posts: 8122
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Re: John Rattenbury 1928-2021

Post by DavidC »

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with John twice, some years back. He was very kind and open in sharing his personal history and other stories. Obviously, he was a very important 'cog' over the years in the machinery of TAA and the Taliesins. And, his body of work includes some wonderful buildings. Sad to see another of the original apprentices depart. Thanks for letting us know.


David

Rood
Posts: 1200
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:19 pm
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

Re: John Rattenbury 1928-2021

Post by Rood »

Having worked under John during my first year in the Fellowship ... I'll miss his ever present smile and his wonderful sense of humour.

It should be mentioned that John's father was also a noted architect. In the late 1800's the senior Rattenbury moved from England to British Columbia, and, at the age of 25, he won the anonymous competition for the new Parliament Buildings in Victoria. See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2hXy0lskaY

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4457
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Re: John Rattenbury 1928-2021

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

In the late ‘90s I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a weeklong residential seminar on FLW held at the Sims House in Hawaii hosted by John and Kay Rattenbury. During the seminar we enjoyed their personal stories about their time at Taliesin, we heard their audio recordings of FLW, their home movies from Taliesin and we visited various architectural places, that they identified to be of interest, on the Big Island.

--
Mike Perrino shared with me an interesting story about John's wife Kay (Schneider c.1920-2010):

"Her Dad dropped her off at Taliesin in Wisconsin. She was 14 or 15 years old (c. 1934). FLW and Olga became her surrogate parents. She never left. She essentially became Olga’s maid, helper, assistant, ‘informer’, what ever you want to call it. She was married at least 3 times (to other apprentices ) BEFORE she married John Rattenbury. Their marriage was a long one. John was totally devoted to her (in a good way). Her marriage to David “Davy” Davison, produced the daughter Celeste. Davy passed away, I think in the early 1960’s - health related. John was Celeste’s step-father."
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

Rood
Posts: 1200
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:19 pm
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

Re: John Rattenbury 1928-2021

Post by Rood »

Paul Ringstrom wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 10:49 am
In the late ‘90s I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a weeklong residential seminar on FLW held at the Sims House in Hawaii hosted by John and Kay Rattenbury. During the seminar we enjoyed their personal stories about their time at Taliesin, we heard their audio recordings of FLW, their home movies from Taliesin and we visited various architectural places, that they identified to be of interest, on the Big Island.

--
Mike Perrino shared with me an interesting story about John's wife Kay (Schneider c.1920-2010):

"Her Dad dropped her off at Taliesin in Wisconsin. She was 14 or 15 years old (c. 1934). FLW and Olga became her surrogate parents. She never left. She essentially became Olga’s maid, helper, assistant, ‘informer’, what ever you want to call it. She was married at least 3 times (to other apprentices ) BEFORE she married John Rattenbury. Their marriage was a long one. John was totally devoted to her (in a good way). Her marriage to David “Davy” Davison, produced the daughter Celeste. Davy passed away, I think in the early 1960’s - health related. John was Celeste’s step-father."
As I recall, Davy passed away about 1974 ... Also, Celeste had a brother named "Tal" ... who died in the late 70's.

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4457
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Re: John Rattenbury 1928-2021

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Here is John's obituary from Scotland with salacious details of his parent's deaths.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/ ... rs-murder/
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

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