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Adolph William (Bill) Ramstad

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Adolph William (Bill) Ramstad Obituary
Adolph William (Bill) Ramstad

Adolph William (Bill) Ramstad passed peacefully into eternal rest on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, at age 96. He was born June 10, 1917, in Beach, North Dakota, to Joseph and Sarah Ramstad. After attending the one-room Lapla School near the family farm, Bill attended Beach High School, graduating at the age of 15 in 1933. He then moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where he also found work with the help of his brother, Joel. After doing accounting work for mining companies, Bill and his brothers eventually started the Yukon Mining Company with gold and tin operations in Alaska. Bill divided his time between the mines in Alaska and college, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business in 1941.

During World War II, Bill served in the U.S. Navy. As a part of his training, he was stationed in Champaign, Illinois, where in February, 1944, he was talked into going on a blind date. Swollen and in pain following the recent extraction of his wisdom teeth, he nearly missed the date that changed his life. Bill met his future bride, Winifred Ehler, and the two were mutually smitten. Married on August 5, 1944, they moved to their first home on Sparks Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Bill was undergoing naval accounting training at Harvard. Their first child, Carol, was born in Champaign, Illinois, in 1947. Bill and Winnie eventually settled in Seattle where Sarah (Beth), Ronald and Russell were born.

When his family had outgrown its modest home near Northgate, Bill began to look for a home with enough room to rear four children. After church one Sunday, he happened upon new construction while driving around the Broadview neighborhood of North Seattle. Bill always maintained that it was so foggy that day that he didn't realize until later that the home came with spectacular views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. He grew to cherish those views and, with camera in hand, never tired of trying to capture the beautiful sunsets, sailboats and majestic Princess Marguerite sailing by on her way to and from Victoria, BC. Bill was so fortunate to be able to live independently in his home for 56 years until joining Winnie at an adult family home nearby last December.

The church was always a central part of Bill's life. Bill's mother, Sarah, and several others founded Hope Lutheran Church in North Seattle where Bill served in many of the leadership roles, especially as treasurer and president of the congregation. He also enjoyed playing on Hope's bowling team, where he developed strong friendships with the other men. Bill loved his accounting work, which was also his favorite hobby. He loved keeping up with and talking about taxes, finance and the stock market. It seemed like the 15th of every month held some looming IRS deadline, and when the family was planning events, his watchwords of "not 'till after the 15th" became a family joke.

Bill's other passion was conversation. He never went anywhere, whether down his own street, to the store, the bank, the church or anyplace without meeting someone and enjoying a visit with them. He always kept in touch with his neighbors, asking about the children, relatives and friends. He had a special way of building and nurturing personal relationships that will be fondly remembered by all who knew him. All of the connections he made with people were special because he took a real interest in them and cared enough to stay updated with their lives.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Rudolph, Joel, George & Marvin; and sister Elma Nellermoe. He is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years, Winnie; daughter Carol Tacchi (Roberto) of Borrego Springs, CA; daughter Beth Phelps (Gordon) of Bothell; son Ron of Bossier City, LA; and son Russ (Debra) of Bossier City, LA. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Kristin Rahlfs (Ryan), Andrew & Ashley Phelps and Daniel & Nicole Ramstad; several nieces, nephews and cousins; and a soon-to-be-born first great-grandchild.

Bill is affectionately remembered

by his family and his many friends. Viewing will be at Evergreen Washelli Funeral Home in Seattle from 5:00pm - 7:00pm on Monday, September 16, 2013. Funeral services will be held at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 13047 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Burial will be in Evergreen Washelli Cemetery. The family requests that memorials be directed to Luther Memorial Lutheran Church.
Published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 15, 2013
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