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David Orin Ramsay

Feb 6, 2015

David Orin Ramsay, of Shepherdstown, passed away Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. He was 87.

Dave was born in Canada on Aug. 25, 1927. As a child, he lived in Detroit and Port Huron, Michigan.

After high school, he joined the U.S. Army, where he proudly served as a paratrooper and special investigator in Germany after the Second World War.

After returning home from Army duty, he attended Port Huron Junior College, where he met the love of his life, Betty Lou Babcock. After junior college, he attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., then returned to Michigan and married Betty in July 1951.

The new Ramsay family faced difficulties early. Their first child, Chris, was born totally blind, as a result of premature birth, and their third child, Julie, required extensive surgery to correct a birth defect.

Dave handled these trials in an extraordinary manner. Together with other parents in their community, Dave and Betty Ramsay established a special school for blind children, including their son, enabling him to be educated in regular public schools rather than a residential school for the blind. They also worked with doctors at the University of Michigan to ensure that Julie received the surgery she needed. During this time, Dave worked at a number of jobs, including construction laborer; insurance adjuster; and automobile salesman, to make ends meet.

Realizing the importance of job security and a steady income, he took the Federal Service Entrance Examination and entered the U.S. Customs Service, where he worked for over 30 years in positions of increasing responsibility. He worked his way up through the agency, even though it required him to make a daily 120 mile round trip to Detroit, in order to make sure his family had what they needed. In 1966, he gained another promotion and a transfer to Washington, D.C., where he agreed to work in the Philippines for six months on special assignment with the Agency for International Development.

In August 1967, he moved his family to the Washington, D.C., area and began working in his new position at Customs Service Headquarters. This position involved making international trade policy decisions for the United States and required extensive travel, both foreign and domestic.

He gained a reputation as one of the most respected employees in his office and in the Customs Service.

Dave retired from Customs and the federal government in 1982, and spent the remainder of his life loving his family and serving others.

While in the Washington area, the Ramsays lived in Annandale, Reston, and Hillsboro, Virginia, finally settling in Shepherdstown, in 1991. For the next 25 years, Dave remained an active member of his community and the Episcopal church, taking every opportunity he could to help others.

In addition to his wife, Betty, Mr. Ramsay is survived by three children – Chris Ramsay, of Annandale, Virginia, Karen Kimble, of Winchester, Virginia and Julie Russell, of Marcellus, New York. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Jeb Kimble, and Michael Kimble, William Russell, Ramsay Russell, David Ramsay, and Elizabeth Logtens; and one great-grandchild, Olivia.

Memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown with the Rev. Dr. G. T. Schramm officiating. Interment will be private in the church columbarium.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Trinity Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 308, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 or Hospice of the Panhandle, 330 Hospice Lane, Kearneysville, WV 25430.

Online condolences may be offered at www.BrownFuneralHomesWV.com.