Ralph E. Ramey Jr., age 90, of Federal Way, Washington and formerly a longtime resident of Columbus, OH, died Monday, April 29, 2019 in Washington.
For seventeen years Ralph was the Director of Glen Helen Nature Preserve at Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, OH, where he influenced everything from fund raising for The Glen, to programs, outreach, and more. He was particularly proud of saving a covered bridge from elsewhere in Greene country and having it moved to its current location within the Glen Helen.
He was born December 4th, 1928 to Ralph Emerson Ramey Sr. and Margaret Jessie Tanner Ramey in Columbus, OH. Ralph grew up in Bexley, Ohio where he attended Bexley Methodist Church and graduated from Bexley High School in 1946. Following high school, he attended The Ohio State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Degree in 1950. He later continued his education at OSU earning a Masters Degree in Environmental Education in 1976. In following years he taught several classes at OSU.
Ralph was active in the Boy Scouts of America attaining the rank of Eagle Scout and later becoming the Scout Master of Troop 417 in Upper Arlington. As a kid, he attended Columbus YMCA Camp Willson as a camper and later joined the staff working various jobs, from work squad up through nature counselor and assistant camp manager. He continued his relationship through his adult years attending the annual Men’s Camp and serving on the Men’s Camp council. Ralph played e-flat alto horn in the OSU Marching Band in years 1946-48, following both his father and his brother John (baritone) in the band. He was also an active member in the OSU Alumni Band, marching at alumni re-union games with his brother John and son John (flugelhorn). Ramey was an avid photographer. During college he worked for Don MacAlister Camera Company and Campus Camera Center.
He went on to be a prolific nature photographer cataloging the plants and animals of Ohio and anywhere he visited. On May 2, 1951 he married Jean Alice Waldschmidt, also from Bexley. Together they raised three children, John Louis, Carolyn Louise and James Andrew.
Ralph served in the US Army stateside during the Korean War. After discharge from the Army, Ralph worked as a salesman for Pfizer Labs covering Southern Ohio, where he gained an appreciation for the unglaciated regions of the state. Following Pfizer, Ralph changed career paths and started what would be a long career focused on wildlife and habitat preservation, parks, and environmental education. He spent three years as a Recreation Supervisor for the Ohio Department of Nature Resources, followed by four years at the Columbus & Franklin County Metropolitan Park District as Interpretive Specialist and then Supervisor of Public Information.
For 17 years Ralph was the Director of Glen Helen Nature Preserve at Antioch College, in Yellow Springs.
He served one year as the Director-Secretary of Miami County Park District in Tipp City, OH, before becoming the Chief of the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, where he served 1991-95 before retiring. Ralph Ramey was the author of several books about hiking in Ohio, including “50 Hikes in Ohio”, with the 4th edition published in 2016.
His other books were “Walks and Rambles in Southeast Ohio” and “50 More Hikes in Ohio”. He was a contributing author to “Ohio’s Natural Heritage”. Preservation of Ohio’s natural areas was Ralph’s passion and he was instrumental in the preservation of Cedar Bog Nature Preserve.
Ralph was active in many organizations, often serving on boards or committees, these included: Environmental Education Council of Ohio, Ohio Academy of Science, Ohio Biological Survey, Outdoor Writers of Ohio, Natl. Assn. of Interpretation, Natural Areas Assn., Wheaton Club, The Ohio Lepidopterist, Audubon Society, Ohio Native Plants Assn., Ohio History Connection, Yellow Springs Historical Society, The Nature Conservancy, Glen Helen Assn., Cedar Bog Assn., North Country Trail Assn., Buckeye Trail Assn., Rivers Unlimited, Little Miami Inc., Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Friends of Magee Marsh, Ohio Prairie Assn., OSU Alumni, TBDBITL Alumni Assn., The Script Ohio Club.
He received numerous awards during his years as an environmentalist, outdoor educator, and advocate for natural areas and preserves including: Fellow, Ohio Academy of Science (1993), Bill Miller Award of Distinguished Service, The Buckeye Trail Assn. (1993), Man of the Year, Wheaton Club (1999), The Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame inductee (2006), Oak Leaf Award , The Nature Conservancy (1973 & 2005), Lifetime Service Award, Ohio Biological Survey (2005), James Chase Hambleton Award, Audubon Society (2011), and The Edward J. Tiffin Award, Ohio History Connection (2007).
Ralph Ramey was preceded in death by his parents, his brother John Henry Ramey, half-sister Julia (Ramey) Farris, and daughter Carolyn Louise Ramey. He is survived by his wife Jean Alice (Waldschmidt) Ramey, his two sons, John L. (Diane) Ramey and James A. (Karyn) Ramey, his younger sister, Margaret (Ramey) Harshfield, his half-brother David Ramey, and his four adored grandchildren, Kalen, Tristan, Tanner and Lauryn. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Columbus YMCA Camp Willson or to the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve ( www.cedarbognp.org ). Visitation will be held after 9:30 am Saturday, May 11, 2019 at SCHOEDINGER MIDTOWN CHAPEL, 229 East State St, Columbus, OH 43215, with a funeral service beginning at 10:30 am. Mr. Ramey will be interred at Green Lawn Cemetery alongside his beloved daughter Carolyn following the service. Please visit www.schoedinger.com to share a memory or send condolences to Ralph’s family. Upcoming Events Visitation May 11. 9:30 AM 10:30 AM Schoedinger Midtown Chapel 229 East State Street Columbus, OH, 43215