John B. Ramsey

John B. Ramsey, age 87, sadly left his family side late Sunday evening, October 6, 2019, at his home in Prior Lake, MN.  

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, October 11 at 11AM, with visitation starting at 9:30 am, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 16400 Duluth Avenue SE, Prior Lake. Fr. Tom Walker will preside. John’s grandchildren will act as pall bearers. A private family interment will be held at St. Catherine Cemetery, in rural Prior Lake.  

John Bertram was born on May 28, 1932, in Minneapolis, MN, the only child to Bertram and Emma (Hicks) Ramsey. He grew up in South Minneapolis, where John attended public school. The Ramsey family loved spending summers at their lake cabin on Prior Lake (now the Family Home on Sunfish Trail), escaping the big city life. He relished walking one block to the railroad trestle (now called the Wagon Wheel Bridge), as John would anxiously wait for his dad to stop with the train to pick him up on his way to Montevideo. John relished giving the fireman a break and shoveling coal to feed the train. 

It was in middle school, that John took a strong interest in music, especially with the trombone. While attending St. Thomas Academy, the music teacher identified him as a talented musician. This was the beginning of John’s musical life. He soon became the Band Commander and decades following took leadership roles in the music program at, Holy Angels, as the director of, The Graysons Dance Band, participated in the Tri-City Music Makers and spent over 10 years as the Choir Director for Resurrection Catholic Church, in Minneapolis. John took his musical talents and played for the Senior Commodores Big Band and as the First Trombonist with the Northern Winds Concert Band.  

John graduated from high school in 1950 and furthered his education at Metro State University, earning a degree in Business Administration. From 1953-1956, John proudly served in the United States Army. Sergeant Ramsey earned a Citation Ribbon while in Japan, for his outstanding service in dual capacity as an instructor in and chief of the CW Intermediate Speed Radio Operator’s Course. Returning from the service, he spent 30 plus years as a Service Technician for Sears and Roebuck Co. John was persistent at his job and was great at solving any problem that arose for his customers.    

Life was enriched meeting and marrying Iris Ann Spradley on September 20, 1954, at Camp Chaffee, in Arkansas. Iris made the difficult journey to Japan to be with her husband for the birth of their first child. Back in the states,they settled down in Minneapolis, where they raised four children: Stephen, Theresa, Guy and Christina. All of whom had their own children and grandchildren. John and Iris have eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren and have often said, “Look at all the love we have, we are so blessed”. As their children grew, John’s love for music was a big influence on their musical paths. The children were also fortunate to share and experience John’s childhood years spending summers at the family cabin, camping and boating. He and Iris eventually sold off some of the lots, while keeping a few of the original lots, which have been in the family since 1928. It is here, that John and his Thursday girl, of 65 years, have been living their remaining years.  

John was always busy. Through the years, he owned and maintained multiple rental properties, headed cub scouts and helped raise his four children. John continued his love and adventures on the water. He became a certified United States Power Squadron in sailing and power boating. Captain Ramsey and his family enjoyed boating on the St. Croix River and later docking their Chris Craft Cruiser on the Mississippi River. They also enjoyed camping, especially to the North Shore. This love of the shorelines was even passed down and enjoyed with the grandchildren. He took great pride in his grandchildren. Rarely missing a performance that one of them had.  

A generous, kind and caring man, with a great sense of humor, John will be forever missed and loved by:  

wife, Iris Ann; son, Stephen (Liz) Ramsey and their children, Kaitlin Ramsey, Sarah Ramsey, Sean Ramsey; daughter, Theresa Mahowald and her son, Thomas Mahowald; son, Guy (Maureen) Ramsey and their son, Jack Ramsey; daughter, Christina Ramsey and her children, Andrew Sobaski, Emma Sobaski, Jon (Alexis Braesch) Sobaski; great-grandchildren, Zach Sobaski, Cas Sobaski, Kaden Sobaski, Sèlah Sobaski; relatives and friends.  

There to welcome John home in heaven is his grandson, John Mathew Mahowald; son-in-law, Mathew Mahowald and parents, Bert and Emma Ramsey.    

Ballard-Sunder Funeral and Cremation proudly cared for the Ramsey family. 

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Condolence Messages

  1. Steve & family —
    I wish to offer you my deepest sympathies. May eternal light (Lux Eternal) shine upon him. May some of the great Requiems sustain you.

  2. Dear Maestro Steve and family,
    I am so sorry to hear this! Losing your parents is never easy!! You really held it together for the Monday morning concerts.
    Peace to you and yours….
    Holly Dalager

  3. Theresa and family, we are so sorry for your loss. We will hold you all in our prayers. Love, the Gottwalt family

  4. Dennis & Kathryn

    Our hearts and prayers go out to the family. Such a beautiful story on his life and talents. All our love to Guy, Reen, Jack and families. Kathryn (sister to Reen).

  5. To Steve and the entire Ramsey family:
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss — such a gifted man, whose legacy and spirit endures in his large, talented family.

  6. Guy, Reen, and Jack……

    We send our prayers and thoughts to all of the Ramsey family at this Great Loss.
    What a wonderful Father, Husband, Grandfather John was to everyone.
    And another father to so many Boy Scouts that he helped mentor over the years!
    I remember the many years of boating that were enjoyed on your houseboat, that you owned with him.
    We also remember the music and bands both John and Michele’s brother Marc played in together.
    Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
    Tim & Michele Peterson

  7. Steve,
    Learned last night of your Dad’s passing. My deepest condolences and thoughts are with you.

  8. What a wonderful tribute to your father, Theresa! He lived a great life of service to many and will be remembered for the gifts he shared with others. May you be comforted by the loving memories you have. My deepest sympathy.

  9. Steve – Very sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. Such a beautiful obituary that truly represents someone’s spirit. Although it’s a very minor thing, I created a Findagrave memorial page for him and linked it to your grandparents.

  10. Dear Steve,
    My condolences on the loss of your father. Please know that I am thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers as always.
    Jean Zimmerman, DVSC Tenor

  11. My condolences to you and your family Steve on the passing of your father. I enjoyed reading about his beautiful journey through life and his many accomplishments, most importantly his beloved family. May your memories and love for him comfort you in your loss. He is probably playing music already in his new home!

  12. Dear Steve,,
    My sincere sympathy to you and your family, as you grieve the death of your father.
    Donna Hogenson
    Health Sciences Orchestra

  13. Steve, I was sad to hear of your loss. Your father sounded like a wonderful man who will be missed by many. May music fill your soul.
    Rebecca Hartwig, HSO recent Vln

  14. Steve,
    Sincere sympathy to you and your family in your loss. What a life your father lived and what wonderful memories you have to treasure. May God Bless.

  15. Steve, your father sounds like he was a wonderful man, and someone who certainly had influence in your life. I am so sorry for his passing. I shall keep you and the rest of your family in my prayers.

  16. Sandy and Andy Tscholl

    Guy, Reen and Jack

    Our thoughts and Prayers are with you with the passing of your Dad. Your Father had such a great fulfilling life and he sure loved his family. Our deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  17. Dear Steve, Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family for your loss. Take solace in all the wonderful shared memories who was touched by your father.
    God Bless

  18. Anne-Marie Davidson

    Dear Chris, Guy and family, so sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. My prayers and condolences. Hugs,

  19. John and Catherine Pipkorn

    Thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of loss.

  20. ANN…. I just heard now of John’s passing. I am so sorry I wasn’t at the Mass. It’s 12:39, I’m sitting here in Shakopee. It’s too late to get there. Florence just called to tell me. She said her son, Michael, from California called her to say his dad had called him about John. Ann, I had wonderful memories of him when we were in high school and visiting Aunt Em and Uncle Bert in Minneapolis. May he rest in Peace. You may not have had my phone number and I don’t get the Star Tribune…. My phone number is 952-956-4334 when you have time and strength to call anyone. Please know I certainly want to talk with you. Love, Mary

  21. Margaret Todd (Felix)

    Dear Ramsey family, I wish to offer my condolences for the loss of John. I am so sorry. When Florence Luzar, my sister, told me the news of his passing, I tried to find out more info but I had so little details that the large number of men with his name was too daunting. I’m sorry I didn’t know where he lived or much of anything because my husband and I have lived away from the area for a long time and don’t visit often. Aunt Em was my Godmother who tried to help me during my teenage years for which I have been grateful though at the time I needed to do something else. I lived with Florence South of Lake Street for a year to finish my high school and she was across the street from John and Anne so I immediately recognized John’s photo. I pray Yahweh (God’s) comfort for you and yours in this time of grief. Yours in Messiah Y’shua (Jesus), Margaret

  22. Hugo and Agnes Wolf

    October 12, 2019
    Dear Steve, We offer our sympathy on the passing of your wonderful father. I just read through the obituary and was so impressed with his life and accomplishments. Losing a parent is a big loss no matter when it happens. We will remember all of you in our prayers.
    Agnes and Hugo Wolf

  23. Theresa I am so sorry about your Dad. I just tonite read of his death. Sounds like he was a great man. Love to you and your family.Kate Weyrens

  24. Steve & Family,

    Thinking of you and your family and wishing you peace and comfort as you mourn the loss of your beloved father.

  25. Mary & Steve Frost

    Theresa & Michael, we are so sorry to learn of your father and grandfather’s death. Wish I had known him – sounds like he was a wonderful man! You are in our thoughts and prayers! Mary & Steve Frost

  26. Steve,
    I just ran across your fathers obituary and I feel remiss for not seeing it sooner.
    You, and all of the rest of your family, have my deepest and most sincere sympathy at the loss of your father, grandfather and great-grandfather. After reading the obituary I wish I could have known him better. As it is I have a smattering of great memories of him and your Mom having Nancy and myself over for Thanksgiving dinner… and sampling their proudly fermented homemade wines.
    I now understand where your drive and determination came from.
    Though your hearts feel like they’re broken, let them heal a little bit every time you have a thought of John and the joys of his life with all of you.
    May God Bless…

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