Robert C. Ramsey, 88, of Niles

Published 5:15 pm Thursday, June 20, 2013

Born: Aug. 31, 1924

Died: June 14, 2013

Robert Curtis Ramsey, 88, of Niles, Mich., died mid-morning on Friday, June 14, at his home. His death was sudden and unexpected, but of natural causes. He was looking forward to a Fathers Day dinner and celebration on Sunday.



He was born on Aug. 31, 1924 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Thomas and Clara (Woodman) Ramsey.  His family experienced the disruption of the Great Depression, moving briefly to hot and humid Houston, Texas, so Bob’s dad could secure employment. He graduated in 1943 from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, wearing the uniform of the United States Army Air Corps. Bob had many experiences in the Army, but the one he was most fond of was teaching mathematics at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Upon completing military service in 1946, he was anxious to get on with his life and in 1949 earned a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University in Ames.

Bob was first employed at television station WOC in Davenport Iowa (now KWQC). WOC was Iowa’s first television station. His duties there included engineering remote broadcasts at a variety of venues, including hog auctions and amateur women’s wrestling events.  Bob was then employed for nearly 30 years at Electro-Voice, Buchanan, Mich., where he had a distinguished career inventing and developing microphones and loudspeakers. Notable among his accomplishments was filing the patent on the microphone that won an Academy Award for Science and Technology in 1963.  Bob held the title of Chief Engineer at his retirement.  Bob returned to teaching mathematics as a part-time instructor at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac. He finally retired at the age of 82.

He was formerly active as President of the Michiana Cross-Country Ski Club, and was currently a member of Fernwood Botanical Gardens where he enjoyed hiking.  Bob was a curious person and a thinker. He was also a passionate reader, finishing several books each week.  He also enjoyed playing the piano, listening to jazz, and watching the Bears and Cubs on TV. He spent a few years drawing, painting and sculpting.  Bob also completed jigsaw, crossword, and Sudoku puzzles daily. He was independent, clear-thinking and sharp to the end.

He was previously married to Kay Meeker, and was preceded in death by his brothers Thomas Ramsey and Richard Ramsey. Surviving family includes a daughter and son-in-law, Barbara (Ramsey) and Lanny Smith of Coloma, Mich., and a son and daughter-in-law, Robert M. Ramsey and Susan Picascia of North Hollywood, Calif. He has three grandchildren: Kathryn Payne, Joseph (and Mary Lynn) Martin, and Alex P. Ramsey; and three great-grandchildren: Wyatt, Joseph, and Gabrielle. Bob has one surviving sister-in-law, Marge (Mrs. Thomas) Ramsey of Des Moines.

Services for Robert Ramsey will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 in the Gallery at Fernwood Botanical Garden with the Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence of First Presbyterian Church in Niles officiating.  The family will receive relatives and friends beginning at 10 a.m. in the Gallery.

Contributions in memory of Bob may be made to Fernwood Botanical Garden, or to the Niles District Library.  Arrangements were made at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles.