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Russ Ringsak dies; longtime ‘Prairie Home Companion’ truck driver

Russ Ringsak, longtime truck driver for Garrison Keillor's

Russ Ringsak, longtime truck driver for Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion" public radio variety show, plays a song during his final show of the tour in Nashville, Tenn., on May 7, 2016. Credit: AP / Leila Navidi

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Russ Ringsak, a former architect who became the longtime truck driver for Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” public radio variety show, has died. He was 81.

Ringsak died Tuesday at his home in Stillwater, Minnesota, his wife, Denise Ringsak, told Keillor’s Prairie Home Productions.

Ringsak met Keillor in 1971, when he joined a softball team sponsored by Keillor’s old morning radio show. He became the full-time “Prairie Home” truck driver in 1991, hauling the show’s equipment. He also contributed “Letters From the Truck Driver” to the show and occasionally played onstage.

Ringsak retired after performing “Six Days on the Road” at a “Prairie Home” show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in May 2016. Keillor retired as the show’s host later that year.

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