John David Ramsey
Longboat Key, FL
John David "JD" Ramsey, of Longboat Key, Florida, was born on July 5, 1919 in Wichita, KS and died peacefully on October 26, 2013 in Des Moines, IA, surrounded by his family. In 1939, JD graduated from the University of Kansas. He had been a Summerfield Scholar and member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. JD attended Harvard Law School before serving as a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy in North Africa and Italy during World War II. After the War, JD returned to Kansas City, MO, where he met Mary Sumner, a soprano in the University Presbyterian Church choir, and fell in love. She was his devoted wife of 66 years, who preceded him in death in 2011. Together JD and Mary raised three children: John S. (Lenny) Ramsey of Des Moines, Deborah (John) Wilson of Seattle, and Kathryn (Tom) Carey of Des Moines. In addition to their immediate family, JD is survived by six grandchildren: Elizabeth Day of Mt. Kisco, NY, Sarah Kaenel of Carlsbad, CA, Katherine Wilson of Seattle, WA, Connor Wilson of New York City, Christine Carey of Denver and Ramsey Carey of Los Angeles; and three great-grandchildren.
In 1946, JD and Gerry Sumner formed a Pontiac dealership in Des Moines which eventually became the Ramsey Auto Center which has served the greater Des Moines area for more than 67 years. JD was an active member of The Lions Club, the Rotary Club, the PolkDes Moines Taxpayers Association, and the Des Moines Sail and Power Squadron. JD also was an accomplished tenor soloist who performed in the choirs of the Plymouth Congregational Church of Des Moines and the Christ Church of Longboat Key, FL. JD also was a patron of the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Simpson College Department of Music.
JD enjoyed many outdoor activities including tennis, golf, fishing, gardening and sailing. While not a particularly good golfer, JD nevertheless had good luck on the links with not one but two hole-in-ones. He also enjoyed good upland bird hunting thanks to his prized English Pointers. JD also was an accomplished mariner and navigator. He and Mary spent many summers sailing the waters of northern Minnesota, Sarasota Bay and the Florida lntercoastal Waterways with friends. JD loved fly fishing for salmon in Alaska, trout in the rivers and streams of Montana, Wyoming and Washington, bonefish and permit in the shallow waters of Florida and the Bahamian Islands and bass in the Minnesota lakes. He celebrated his 90th birthday catching a good sized pike the Canadian Boundary Waters.
JD loved life and new and different ideas. He became adept at his computer, emailing friends and monitoring the stock market. When his vision declined, he relied on the daily Bloomberg Report. JD had varied interests which he shared with many friends in his investment club, regular poker games, church choirs and social clubs. In his later years, JD turned his attention to fine arts, generating a modest portfolio of watercolors which adorn the walls of his family's homes. JD cherished traveling with Mary, their friends and family around the world snapping photos, enjoying local cuisine and people of different cultures. But above all, his and Mary's greatest joy was sharing holidays and memories with their beloved family.
JD was dearly loved not only by his family, but by the devoted caregivers who enabled him to enjoy his last year in the comfort of his own beloved home. They should be commended for not only enhancing his quality of life, but extending it through their loving and gentle care. The staff at UnityPoint Hospice was equally as kind and made his last days as comfortable as possible.
A Celebration of JD's Life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, at Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that any memorial contributions be made to either: Des Moines Metro Opera, 106 West Boston Avenue, Indianola, Iowa 50125 or UnityPoint Hospice, 11333 Aurora Avenue, Urbandale, Iowa 50322.
Published in Des Moines Register from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7, 2013