November 9, 1933 ~ July 9, 2011

Born in: Madison Co.,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Harry E. Ramsey, a native of the Walnut community in Madison County who was the face of Western Carolina University in Asheville for more than two decades and a leader in providing higher education opportunities for thousands of Western North Carolina students, passed away Saturday, July 9, 2011. He was 77. Ramsey retired from WCU on Dec. 31, 1997, after 33 years of service to the university. During his career, he held numerous faculty and administrative positions, but he was best known as the statesman who strengthened WCU’s relationship with the Asheville community and guided the relocation of WCU’s programs from Oteen to the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. As assistant to the chancellor, he served as director of WCU Programs in Asheville. In that role, he was the on-site administrator of all activities related to WCU’s resident center in Asheville, and he was WCU’s liaison with UNC Asheville, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, the Asheville Graduate Center, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, many civic organizations and the community at large. He was born Nov. 9, 1933. A 1952 graduate of Walnut High School in Madison County, he moved to Detroit following high school. From the steel mills of Detroit he joined the U.S. Army, stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, where he served three years in the 25th Division of the Signal Corps. Ramsey enrolled at Western Carolina in 1956, graduating with high honors in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He earned his master’s degree in social work in 1961 from Florida State University, where he studied under a National Institute of Mental Health Scholarship. He worked for three years as a clinical social worker with the Veterans Administration, beginning in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 1961 before transferring to the VA Hospital in Salisbury in 1963. He began his career at WCU in 1964 as a faculty member in the Developmental Evaluation Clinic of the Department of Speech and Hearing. A member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, he led the university’s establishment of an undergraduate program in social work. From 1972 to 1976, he was programs coordinator for WCU’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and he became assistant to the chancellor for WCU Programs in Asheville in 1974, one of the first administrative appointments by then-Chancellor H.F. “Cotton” Robinson. In addition, he was acting dean of the School of Health Sciences and Services in 1975-76 and acting dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences in 1978-79. Ramsey served on numerous university committees, including a term as chairman of WCU’s Faculty-Administration Senate. Recipient of WCU’s Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award for administrative staff in 1994, Ramsey was an active member of the Western North Carolina community. He was chairman of the Jackson County Study Commission on Mental Retardation; three-term president of the Jackson County United Fund; and member of the Allied Health Advisory Committee, N.C. Board of Higher Education, planning committee of the N.C. United Way, board of directors of Mountain Projects Inc., and the Private Industry Council of Buncombe County. A past recipient of the Asheville-Buncombe United Way Volunteer of the Year Award, he also was a university consultant to Thom’s Rehabilitation Hospital, a participant in the inaugural Leadership Asheville program, and a member of the Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools Advisory Committee on Vocational/Occupational Education. He was a longtime member of the Catamount Club and steadfast supporter of WCU athletics. Upon Ramsey’s retirement from WCU, then-Chancellor John Bardo called him “the epitome of the dedication, the service and the loyalty that an alumnus can render to his alma mater.” In presenting him with the Reid Distinguished Service Award, then-Chancellor Myron Coulter praised “his deft administrative style, which won the respect of both the UNCA and WCU faculty members and administrators.” In addition to his career achievements, he was a devoted family man and was known as a kind generous, loving and cherished dad, paw-paw, brother and friend. He is survived by daughter Gina Price and her husband, Pat, of Mount Holly; son Marty Ramsey, of Cullowhee; former wife and mother of his children, Sue Ramsey, of Pineville; sisters Wanda Cordell and husband Carroll, and Sandra Clark and husband Maurice, of Asheville; brothers Boyce Ramsey and wife Janice, of Asheville, and Donnie Ramsey and wife Ann, of Weaverville; granddaughter Leigh Anna Helms and husband, Justin, and great-grandson Tucker Helms, of Belmont; sisters-in-law Peggy Ramsey and Elene Ramsey; special friend and confidante Shugy Land; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jeter Pritchard Ramsey and Cora Lee Ensley Ramsey; sisters Francis and Ruth Ramsey and Joyce Dennett; and brothers Elmer, Vernon, Joe and Gil Ramsey. Visitation and services will be held Thursday, July 14, 2011, at Groce Funeral Home at 1401 Patton Ave. in Asheville. Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. and services will begin at 12:30 p.m. A graveside service will follow at 2 p.m. at the VA Cemetery in Black Mountain.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline
  • Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg, png, gif.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Guestbook

  1. Marty:
    I was deeply saddened to read about Harry. He and I started our careers at WCU at about the same time, he as an employee and I as a student. I am not sure how we met each other but our friendship has lasted for 45 years. As a student I had to work hard to pay my way but I was full of P and V and not many people took me very seriously (They still don’t). Harry Ramsey never failed to go out of his way to acknowledge the fact that I worked long hours and to say hello to me and ask how I was doing.
    He was loyal to WCU and probably represents a loyalty that the new breed at WCU does not have. I know he was your best friend and hope you find comfort in so many people sharing your grief. I am on vacation and will be unable to attend his service but I know there will be plenty of the ‘Old guard’ there to represent me.

    Your friend,

    Norman West

    Reply
  2. I WORK WITH WANDA CORDELL HARRYS SISTER,,HARRY WAS A GREAT BROTHER TO WANDA,,THEY LOVED EACH OTHER VERY MUCH,,HE WAS ALWAYS BRINGING HER FOOD ,WHICH SHE LOVED ,HE COOKED A LOT OF IT, HE WAS A GREAT COOK,,I HAVE COME TO LOVE HIS WHOLE FAMILY,,THEY TREAT ME LIKE FAMILY,,AN SUGIE I LOVE YOU,,I THINK YOU AN HARRY HAD LOTS OF WONDERFUL TIMES ,,TRAVELED EVERYWHERE,,I PRAY GOD WILL WRAP HIS ARMS AROUND EACH OF YOU,,GOD BLESS DEBBIE AN SID SMITH

    Reply
  3. Marty – One of the great ones has passed. His friendship and sense of humor was unsurpassed. Another of Western’s legends has move on to a far greater place. We love ya. PT – NA

    Reply
  4. Gina & Marty, I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. He was a wonderful man and thoughts of him bring back many wonderful memories of my time spent with you & your family. I know your pain of grief right now but also know that time will ease that pain. Til then, I will keep all of you in my thoughts & prayers. May God bless & keep you. Love, Kay

    Reply
  5. Gina and Marty, just want to express my love and prayers to both of you. I have known yur Dad through many occasions and many years. I have always had a great respect for such a fine and generous man. you two were blessed to have him as your Dad and also to share some time with him before he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I know the Lord will sustain both of you and your families. Roger and I have loved each of you for a long time and are here for you…..

    Reply
  6. Gina, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. Reading about him, I can see that he was a very stimulating and bright man. I know you and your brother will miss him terribly and many are praying for you both. Love you and Pat so much!

    Reply
  7. Gina, Your Dad was a wonderful, loving man and you were his princess. You and your family were his joy. He was a man that loved to serve others. God has blessed your family and taken him home. My prayers are with you and the family. Love ya

    Reply
  8. Marty and family, my sincere, heartfelt condolences to all of you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. May your memories of happy times shared with Harry bring you comfort and peace during this difficult time.

    Reply
  9. Marty and family. I was saddened to hear about the loss of your father. I met him years ago and he was such a very nice person. I know he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours during this time.

    Reply
  10. Dear Ramsey family,
    We are truly saddened to mark the passing of an exceptional man. We are honored to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Reply
  11. Dear Marty, Gina, Shugy, and the other members of the Ramsey family: Harry was a dear friend and professional colleague to me, as well as a wonderful supporter of me for the past 25 years. I will miss his sense of humor, his joie de vivre, and his genuine good nature. My deepest condolences to you for your loss; many of us share it with you.
    In sympathy,
    Carol

    Reply
  12. Dear Marty and Family, I am saddened to hear of Harry’s death. First met Harry forty seven years ago whe I was a ‘know it all’ student at WCC. Always a gentleman. My thoughts with you.

    Reply
  13. My Deepest Sympathy to Marty Ramsey. I always enjoyed seeing Marty with his Daddy and his Daddy’s friend at the WCU football games when I’d be home and attend them with my brother, Jesse Flake. He was always such a kind gentleman, and Marty always treated him with such respect! May God comfort you at this sad time. Sincerely, Betty Jean (Flake) Sink

    Reply
  14. Marty & Family,
    In your time of loss
    may you find renewed strength from God’s Word,
    peace from His presence,
    and healing through His love.
    Thinking of you!

    Reply
  15. Gina & Marty,
    Your father was a wonderful man, and a Very Dear Uncle to me and our family. He was so good to Mom. Thank you for that Uncle Harry. I will so miss him on my visits to Asheville. Please feel my arms around you as I give you both a hug…I Love you Uncle Harry
    Ruthie xo

    Reply
  16. Harry was a great friend to us and to so many others. We appreciate his many contributions he made to his family, WCU, and to everyone he knew.
    Guy and Jo Edith Burchfiel

    Reply
  17. Dear Gina & Leigh Anna,
    I was so sorry to hear that paw-paw Harry had passed. Although I have no realtion to him other than growing up knowing him as paw-paw Harry, I can remember several Christmas’ when he would bring a present all the way from Asheville just for me! He always made me feel special. I am absolutly amazed at all of his accomplishments. I will be praying for you guys and please don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything at all.
    All my love,
    Lakesha, Chris, Cameron, Carter & Khloe Lay

    Reply
  18. Marty,
    The reflection of your father’s many achievements has brightened our communities leaving his legacy to shine.
    God Bless You & Yours,
    LisaDW

    Reply
  19. Deborah and I were deeply saddened to hear of Harry’s passing. He was a fine man with a great sense of humor. Harry played a key role in the development of WCU by his ability to navigate the politics of higher education in Asheville. I always enjoyed working with him and hearing him banter with Gurney. He will be greatly missed.

    Reply
  20. Harry always had a smile when we met. I really enjoyed our friendly jabs about the hats we wore to ball games. I will miss him greatly.

    Reply
  21. Harry was a wonderful man and a great Catamount! Marty, you were blessed to have such a fine man as your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Reply
  22. Gina & Pat,

    We just wanted to let you know that out thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.

    God bless you as you lean on His strong arms and let Him hold you.

    We love you.
    Barry & Rita

    Reply
  23. Dear Gina and Marty,
    I was so saddened with the news of your father’s passing. He was so kind and nice. He affected the lives of so many people and was a terrific example to all. I wish you all the best and pray for your sorrow to be replaced by wonderful memories. Take care, Marcia

    Reply
  24. Deepest sympathy to the Ramsey family in their time of lose. Harry loved his family. He was such a likeable person and always had a smile for everyone. He was a driving force for WCU in his many postions there and in the WCU programs in Asheville.He will be missed. Sincerely, Barbara

    Reply
  25. Gina my prayers are with you and your family. I did not know your father personally but through you I know he was a wonderful man of the Lord as he produced good fruit in his children. May God Bless you and your family now and always

    Reply
  26. Marty, I’m so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. I worked with him for many years. He was a true joy and gentleman. His many contributions to WCU will always be remembered. May God grant you peace during this difficult time.

    Reply
  27. Dear Gina and Family,

    We’re praying that the Lord will comfort you with His peace, surround you with His love and encourage you wih His presence.

    Psalms 91:4 says ‘He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall take refuge.’

    We love and care about you and are praying for you,

    In His love,
    Johnny & Vivian

    Reply
  28. Gina & Family,
    Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers today and the days ahead that God will grant you strength and peace that only HE can provide. Although we never met your dad we know he was a man that was greatly admired and loved. We love you!
    Joyce & Rick Fowler

    Reply
  29. Donnie and Boyce, Harry was a wonderful person who always had a smile and encouraging words. It was my pleasure to work in his department at WCU and appreciate his guidance as a graduate student at WCU. Joyce F. Ledbetter

    Reply
  30. Marty and Family, I am so sorry for the loss of your father. His legacy will forever live on @ WCU. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  31. Marty and Family — We were saddened to hear about the passing of your father. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  32. My thanks to you all for sharing Harry with WCU for so many years. I worked with him as a faculty member in Nursing and greatly appreciated his relaxed but efficient style of leadership and support.
    Sharon Jacques

    Reply
  33. Marty & Gina, Me & Bootsie and our families send our sympathies to you and your loved ones. We pray that God sends His grace & peace to you. Helen Keller wrote ‘What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose for all that we love deeply become a part of us’. Much love to you! Linda & Bootsie

    Reply
  34. I am saddened to hear about the passing of your father. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I worked for Harry and I will miss him.

    Reply
  35. My mother, Betty Sams, and I would like to send our deepest sympathy to the family of Harry. We are so very sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  36. We are so sorry to hear of your loss and Pray the Rich Blessings of our Good God be with you during these difficult times. Our prayers are offered on your behalf. God Bless each on of you real good.
    Larry and Iris Read

    Reply
  37. Boyce & Family so sorry for your loss. May God comfort your family in this time of sorrow. Praying for you whole family.

    Reply
  38. Dear Marty,
    Mark and I learned about your father’s death while we were out of town. We are so sorry for your loss but will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  39. Marty, Your Dad was a great friend and will be missed. This is very sad for all of us. Peg and my Prayers will be with you and family. Jim and Peggy

    Reply

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook