Robert L. Ringler, 68, a retired official of the National Institutes of Health who lived in the Washington area from 1961 to 1989, died of cancer Aug. 16 at his home in Big Rapids, Mich.

Dr. Ringler, a former Rockville resident, came here and began his career with NIH in 1961 as a scientist administrator with the National Heart and Lung Institute. In 1969, he was appointed the institute's deputy director.

During his last five years with NIH, before retiring in 1983, he was deputy director of the National Institute on Aging.

He had done research in the fields of respiratory enzymes, electron transport and protein chemistry. He was a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He was a member of the American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology and the American Federation for Aging Research.

Dr. Ringler, who was a native of Michigan, was a chief pharmacist's mate in the Coast Guard during World War II. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he received his doctorate in biochemistry from Michigan State University.

From 1955 to 1957, he was an assistant professor of biochemistry at North Carolina State University. From 1957 to 1961, he was a senior research associate with the Edsel B. Ford Institute for Medical Research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Survivors include his wife of 43 years, the former Virginia Morrow, of Big Rapids; a son, Dr. Robert Jr., a Navy physician stationed in Bremerton, Wash.; his parents, Lloyd and Minnie Ringer, and a brother, Carlton, all of Chase, Mich.; two sisters, June McAnary of Merrill, Mich., and Marian Post of Jonesville, Mich.; and four grandchildren.

ROBERT A. FREEMAN

Tree Surgeon

Robert A. Freeman, 58, a tree surgeon in the Washington area for more than 30 years, died of cancer Aug. 16 at Washington Adventist Hospital.

Mr. Freeman, who lived in Laurel, was born in Beltsville. He served in the Army from 1948 to 1957, then returned to the Washington area and went to work as a tree surgeon.

Most recently he had worked for Treemasters in Chevy Chase. Earlier he had worked for Rogers Tree Service, Atlas Stump Removal and Kelly Landscaping.

His marriage to Frances Freeman ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Eleanor Joan Freeman of Laurel; two sons of his first marriage, Bobby Ritter of Pennsylvania and Frank Ritter of Toledo, Ohio; two daughters, Teri Seibel of Beltsville and Michelle Freeman of Lothian, Md.; four brothers; two sisters; and six grandchildren.