Robert Jackson Ramsey Sr., known as Jack to his friends and Dada to his grands and great-grands, passed away Monday, December 30 at the age of 99.
Mr. Ramsey was born on September 6, 1920 in Ardmore, Okla. as the middle child to Robert Eugene and Myrtle Ramsey.
He and his four siblings, who all proceeded him in death, grew up in Yorkville, Tenn. where he graduated high school in 1938. Following graduation, he had the opportunity to attend Bethel College in McKenzie, Tenn. where he lived in the firehouse and served as a volunteer fireman in order to have a place to live during college. After one year of playing baseball and basketball at Bethel, he ran out of money and had to leave college and go to work. He found a job working for South Central Bell Telephone Company where he worked his way up the ranks eventually becoming the regional manager in West Tennessee.
Shortly after beginning his career with the phone company, he married the former Mary Ed Wilkes of Rutherford, Tenn. in 1941 but was soon drafted to enter the Army. As he trained, Mary followed him around the country from base to base until they ended up in New York where she stood on top of the Empire State Building to watch his ship go off to war. Mr. Ramsey served his country in World War II working in communications for the Army for almost 14 months where he ended up at the Battle of the Bulge and was one day short of having to go to the front lines. After the war, he returned home and went back to work for the phone company where he and Mary began moving around from town to town in West Tennessee as he was overseeing the conversion of phones from party lines to rotary dial.
Eventually they settled in Humboldt, Tenn. to raise their son, Jack Jr and later, their daughter, Suzanne. They had always had a love for travel and around 1970 bought an RV that was to be a focus in their lives for over 40 years. Their RV life began by visiting Tennessee state parks on the weekends and travelling the country with their daughter for two to three weeks every summer on a mission to visit every state in the US. After Mr. Ramsey’s 45 years with South Central Bell and Mary’s years as a realtor, they both retired in 1985, bought a new motor home and hit the road in their RV. The next 28 years were spent living in Florida for the winter, traveling abroad, participating in Good Sam Club and Telephone Pioneer outings across the nation, and RV-ing from coast to coast across the U.S. and Canada many times while gaining great new friends along the way.
While at home, Mr. Ramsey was active in the Barthel Gray Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church, was a member of the Humboldt Lion’s Club, served as chairman of the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Horse Show for over 20 years, and was Strawberry Festival president in 1960. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Strawberry Festival president.
Mr. Ramsey was an avid golfer who played until he was almost 95 years old, often shooting his age or less in his later years. A member of the Humboldt Golf & Country Club for over 60 years, he could play the fastest round of 18 holes of golf anyone had ever seen. Never one to sit around doing nothing, he also enjoyed duck hunting and deer hunting for many years along with spending many hours in his yard or his workshop repairing or building something. During his retirement years, he always enjoyed spending time in his workshop with his grandchildren or helping his children with their next project.
This past Veteran’s Day, he was recognized as the oldest living World War II veteran out of five remaining veterans in Humboldt. He spent his last few years at Jackson Oaks where he made many great new friends and had wonderful caregivers.
Mr. Ramsey is survived by a daughter, Suzanne Ramsey Allison (Chris); his son, Jack Ramsey Jr. (Jimmye Nan); his grandchildren, Rob Ramsey (Angi), Alicia Ramsey Harrison (Jonathan) and Ashlee Allison; along with five great-grandchildren, Ramsey, Reese, Everly, Wade and JT; and a very dear friend and caregiver who he considered his “second daughter”, Beth Haltom.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Ed; his parents; four siblings; and two great-grandchildren, Evie Grace Harrison and Catherine Grace Harrison.
Services were held at First Baptist Church on Mitchell Street in Humboldt on Friday, January 3 at 1:30 p.m. followed by the burial at Rosehill Cemetery in Humboldt. Visitation was held prior to the service from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at the church.