CONWAY - Jack Robert Ramey of Conway, MA died March 2, 2018.
He was born June 4, 1930, in Cleveland, OH to Arthur Carl and Frances (Sutherland) Ramey. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sydney (Clapp) Ramey; two sons, Jack Arthur Ramey and his wife Ann Marie of Lutherville, MD and Mark Roger Ramey and his wife Joyce of Arnold, MD; two grandchildren, Katherine Aili and Jack Arthur, Jr.; and two step grandchildren, Terry and Daniel Watkinson.
A graduate of Western Reserve University, he pursued graduate studies at Harvard and later at Tufts. He served in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps from 1953 through spring 1955.
Jack was a teacher to his core. His first official such role was in Troop Information & Education during his stint at Fort Lee VA, where he developed a program whereby recruits with less than a high school education could attain the GED. After his discharge, he joined the faculty of The Park School of Baltimore, teaching English and music, later branching into Latin and history. He expanded the music program, starting a Madrigal Group and instrumental ensembles. For 23 years he wrote an annual opera using available student voices, remembered with fondness by many. The Nights of Opera were performed in the school gymnasium over the Thanksgiving weekend each year - pre-empting the start of basketball practice. He organized several independent school teachers to produce a joint concert featuring a major choral work under the auspices of the Association of Independent Maryland Schools - which came to be known as the annual AIMS concerts. He also served on the Music Committee of the National Association of Independent Schools. He loved bringing people together to make music.
Following a year as a Klingenstein Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University, he joined the faculty at the Brooklyn Friends School in New York City as Assistant Principal. During his 15 years at BFS he served as interim head of several departments, including Middle School Head and Director of Development. But his greatest joy was his time spent in the classroom where he focused on teaching American literature and history and reading to the second graders every week. He formed an Explorers Club, where interested students met weekly to share information they researched about a European or Latin American country, which they then visited during their two week spring vacation. He and Sydney also found time to enjoy the many treasures the Big Apple had to offer: art and history museums, opera, and concerts of all kinds.
On retirement in 1995, they came to Conway, MA to live with Sydney's parents. Jack immediately immersed himself in the life of that community, joining the Historical Commission and then the Historical Society, delving into the museum collection and archives of the latter. He served on the Board of the Pioneer Valley Symphony and as its president. He also sang in its chorus. He had barely arrived in town when he was prevailed upon to produce a Christmas/winter holiday concert, which then grew into the Conway Community Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble, and for 16 years they gave a winter and a spring concert. In addition, there were numerous vocal, choral, and instrumental gatherings at their home.
Jack's final involvement in the area was with the planning committee of the Greenfield Community College Senior Symposia program. He enjoyed this association until his death.
Jack Ramey's greatest joys were making music with others, sharing his knowledge, and sharing the search for further knowledge with others.
His body has been donated to a medical teaching facility to aid in the education of future doctors, a fitting end to a lifetime of teaching.
Memorial gifts may be made to The Park School of Baltimore, Brooklyn Friends School, or the Conway Ambulance Dept. - or to any educational or music organization or program. And go see an opera Live from the Met in HD at your local movie theater.
There will be a memorial/celebration of life for Jack R. Ramey on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 1 p.m. at the family home on Main Poland Road in Conway.
Published in The Recorder on Jun. 11, 2018.