The “T” of TnZ
IN MEMORY OF
5/4/1978 – 11/21/2003
Who is Todd Ripplinger, and what is TNZ?
Todd Ripplinger and Zack Percell met in October of 1990. Zack was 14 years old, and had been performing magic shows for a couple of years, and Todd was getting ready to do his first paying show at age 11.
The two attended middle school together (Zack was in 8th grade, Todd in 7th) and met at school. They instantly became best friends, and almost instantly decided that they should start working together.
Over the next year, Todd and Zack helped each other out at each other’s performances. During this time, they worked on an act that they put together, as a duo. They performed together for the 1st time at their school (West Middle School in Rockford, IL) It went over so well that they performed routines together at several solo shows. By December 1991, they decided that they were ready to perform in public together. They got booked to perform together at the First Annual First Night Rockford. They decided to call their show “The Magical Adventures of TNZ” (TNZ stood for Todd and Zack) for most of that time. It was shortened to TNZ Magic in the last few years that the two performed together.
During their time performing together, Todd and Zack performed countless shows in the Rockford / Chicago area, and all throughout the mid-west. In 2001, TNZ had the honor of performing in Japan, where Todd lived for a year after College. He had attended college at Columbia College Chicago, where he studied Video Production, and Japanese language.
Todd was offered a job back in January 2003. He was hired to move to Maui and work as a video editor for a company started by an old college friend. Todd was excited because his girlfriend who lived in Japan really loves Hawaii, and wanted to live there. He decided that if Hawaii worked out, he would ask her to marry him, and they would live out there together.
Well, things had been going perfect for Todd. He actually got offered a much better job doing the same thing for a bigger company just months after being there. His talent could get him any job. It was only a matter of time before he would be offered to work for ILM, (Probably the largest movie special effects company in the world) and that is no joke!
Todd had a close friend on the Island that taught him how to surf. Surfing had become a new passion of his. He enjoyed surfing early in the morning everyday before going to work.
He proposed to his girlfriend, Ikuko, on October 1, 2003.
On November 21, 2003 Todd was starting to follow his usual routine of getting up early in the morning, driving about 30 minutes to the beach in Lahaina, Hi, surfing for a while, then going to work. Tragically, the last time anyone reported seeing Todd was before he went into the water that day. A kid found Todd’s Surfboard in the water near the beach he regularly surfed. Several days of searching by the Lahaina Fire Department divers lead nowhere. Todd was never found.
Todd Ripplinger, born May 4, 1978 has been missing and presumed drowned since November 21, 2003.
If you were fortunate enough to have known Todd Ripplinger during his 25 years, you know just how much he is missed.