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Obituary: John David 'J.D.' Ramsey

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 6, 2013
  • Longboat Key
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John David “J.D.” Ramsey, 94, of Longboat Key, died Oct. 26.

Born July 5, 1919, in Wichita, Kan., he graduated from the University of Kansas and attended Harvard Law School before serving as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy in North Africa and Italy during World War II.

After the war, he returned to Kansas City, Mo., where he met Mary Sumner, a soprano in the University Presbyterian Church choir, and fell in love. They were married for 66 years until her death in 2011.

In 1946, Mr. Ramsey and Gerry Sumner opened a Pontiac dealership in Des Moines, Iowa, which eventually became the Ramsey Auto Center that served the greater Des Moines area for more than 67 years.

Mr. Ramsey was an accomplished tenor soloist who performed in the choirs of the Plymouth Congregational Church of Des Moines and Christ Church of Longboat Key, Presbyterian.

He wasn’t a particularly good golfer but managed two holes-in-one. He enjoyed upland bird hunting with his prized English pointers and was an accomplished mariner and navigator. He loved fishing and celebrated his 90th birthday by catching a good-sized pike in the Canadian Boundary Waters.

He enjoyed fine arts and created a modest portfolio of watercolor paintings that adorn the walls of his family’s homes and cherished traveling with Mary and friends and families, and sharing holidays and memories with family.

Mr. Ramsey is survived by his children, John Ramsey, of Des Moines, Deborah Wilson, of Seattle, and Kathryn Ramsey, of Des Moines; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines. Donations can be made to Christ Church of Longboat Key, Presbyterian, 6400 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, Fla., 34228.



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