Dr. Robert William Ramsay, Sr., “Bob”, 75, passed away Sunday, August 9, 2020, at home in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Bob was born October 6, 1944, and grew up in northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was raised in Saint Matthew’s Parish. He graduated high school from St. Joe’s Prep before attending Long Island University to study and play basketball. Later he attended Temple University in Philadelphia where he earned a masters degree. He later moved to Florida, completing his doctoral work at the University of Miami in 1971.
Bob married Theresa (Terry) DeVito on December 30, 1977. They lived in Kansas City, Kansas; Clearwater, Florida; Madison, Florida; Blackwood, New Jersey and San Antonio, Texas. They discovered Amelia Island during their travels and have had a home there where they vacationed since 1985. In 2005, after Bob retired, he and Terry made Fernandina Beach their permanent residence.
His career in higher education took him to many colleges. Bob’s first college presidency was at North Florida College in Madison, Florida. Then he moved to Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey where he served for six years. The last decade of his work in education before retirement was spent as Chancellor for the Alamo Community College District in San Antonio, Texas.
Bob is most remembered at these institutions for significantly increasing enrollment and for being instrumental in starting the dual-enrollment system in Florida and Texas. One of his favorite things was to build new campuses and buildings. His work developing new educational programs often required him to testify before state legislatures as he initiated parent-child scholarship programs, provided workforce programs, and founded the North Florida Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center in Madison, Florida. Over the years, Bob received many awards, including Educational Leadership Awards, the Martin Luther King Award from the state of New Jersey, the Humanitarian Award from the Dominican Republic, and special recognition from various Latin and Central American countries where he started training programs.
His friends and colleagues remember Bob as a man who prioritized family, practiced kindness and compassion, remaining a down-to-earth person and good friend always, and served his community as a visionary leader who left a legacy of progress.
Bob was an avid sports fan, enthusiastically following Philadelphia professional teams, particularly the Philadelphia Eagles; he also loved the Miami Hurricanes. He worked out almost daily and enjoyed chatting with friends at the “health club.” He was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling with his wife. In his earlier years Bob loved to fly, sail and play racquetball. During his retirement, he became a substitute teacher and loved working with high school students at the local schools.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents Adda and William Ramsay, and his beloved son, Jay Ramsay.
Bob was a very proud husband, father and grandfather. He leaves behind his wife of 42 years, Terry DeVito Ramsay of Fernandina Beach; his children, Lori (Ramsay) Long of Katy, Texas, Robert W. Ramsay Jr. “Bobby” and his wife Lena (Thornton Watson) of Jacksonville, Florida; William J. Ramsay “Billy” and his wife Marsha (Drugan) of Tampa, Florida; grandchildren, Kylie Long, Denielle Ramsay, Nicholas Ramsay (Stefanie), Aidan Watson, Reed Ramsay, Parker Ramsay, Piper Ramsay, Fletcher Ramsay; great-grandchild, Sofia Ramsay.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mandarin High School Athletic Booster Club in support of the Mustang football program where Bob’s son, Bobby Ramsay, is currently the head coach (mandarinhighathletics.com or Mandarin High School, Athletic Booster Club, 4831 Greenland Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32258).