Marshall Edison “Doc” Rinker, Sr.
Courtesy The Palm Beach Post
Marshall Edison “Doc” Rinker, Sr. (1904-1996) was born in Cowan, Indiana, where he grew up on his family’s farm. He attended Ball State Teachers College, now Ball State University, in Indiana. In 1926 Rinker came to Palm Beach County and started Rinker Rock & Sand Co. with a dump truck and a shovel. During the next four decades, Rinker expanded the business, which he renamed Rinker Materials Corporation, adding concrete block and cement production, and divisions for aggregate and real estate. By 1988 Rinker Materials was the largest producer of ready-mix concrete and block in Florida, and Rinker sold it to CSR Limited, an Australian company.
Rinker was a leader of many state and national organizations in his industry and his community, including the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, American Red Cross, YMCA, and Rotary International. During World War II, Rinker was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, which flew private planes out of West Palm Beach and Lantana in search of German submarines along the Florida coast.
Since its inception in 1968, Rinker supported Palm Beach Atlantic College, which awarded him an honorary doctorate and a Free Enterprise Award, and named its business school for him. The Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse was also named in his honor, as well as buildings at Stetson University and the University of Florida. The Palm Beach Post named Rinker the John D. MacArthur Business Leader of the Year in 1986. Rinker endowed the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation and the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation to continue his giving to these and other institutions. He often quoted the Bible and philosophers, including Ben Franklin: “A man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, if he first forms a good plan and makes the execution of that same plan his whole study and business.”