John Henry Ramey
October 12, 1926 - November 2, 2014
John Henry Ramey, age 88, of Akron, Ohio, passed away peacefully on November 2, 2014, following complications of long term myasthenia gravis and multiple myeloma.
John was born on October 12, 1926, in Bexley, Ohio, the son of Margaret (Tanner) Ramey and Ralph Emerson Ramey.
John sought to enrich individuals and their communities by strengthening the bonds between people throughout his more than 70 years working with community organizations, camps, and settlement houses. He worked at YMCA Camp Willson near Bellefontaine, Ohio, and Big Brother Camp in Hocking Hills. He completed both a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1947 and a Master of Arts in Social Administration in 1950 from The Ohio State University. He played baritone horn in The Ohio State University Marching Band from 1944 to 1948 and was Assistant Drum Major 1944-1945. The field placement for his social work degree was at the Chicago Commons. In June 1950, he married Carol Kuhlman from New Knoxville, Ohio. They moved to Chicago where John was Summer Camp Director at the Chicago Commons. In the fall, he became Program Director at Emerson House, another settlement house in Chicago. In 1952, John became Assistant Director and Camp Director at Mitchell House in Hartford, Connecticut.
In 1954, the Rameys returned to Chicago where John became the Executive Director of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, a position which he held until 1965. He and his staff worked with street gangs and addressed other community problems and challenges including racial integration. In 1965, John became the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers and served as a site inspector for the American Camping Association. In 1969, he took a position as Associate Professor at the University of Akron where he was hired to establish the Social Work Program. In 1978, he established the Alpha Alpha Alpha Honor Society as an honorary fellowship of Social Work students. He retired from The University of Akron in 1989, Associate Professor Emeritus.
John was Past President of the Ohio Chapter and the former North Central Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). From 1972 to 1984, he was a leader in the successful campaign to secure licensing for social workers in Ohio and served as Chair of the Licensing Committee of the Ohio Chapter NASW. John was Past President of the Ohio Welfare Conference, the Ohio College Association of Social Work Educators, the Summit County Mental Health Association, and the South Central Ohio Section of the American Camping Association and of both the Akron Chapter and the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors. He was a member of the American Sociological Association, the Council on Social Work Education, and the U.S. Committee of the International Council on Social Welfare. He was a member of the Boards of Directors of the National Council on Social Welfare and the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers. He was a charter member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers. While in Chicago, he was a Registered Social Worker in the state of Illinois. When the licensing legislation went into effect in Ohio, he was the proud holder of license number 10.
John served on the Board of Akron's West Side Neighbors and the Board of the United Way of Summit County. He worked tirelessly in the background and the planning stages of many initiatives to create programs to improve life and deal with problems in West Akron and in the social service community in Akron. In recognition, he was recently given "A Lifetime of Distinguished Service Award" at the Judge Harold K. Stubbs Awards Dinner.
John was a founding member of the International Association of Social Work with Groups in 1979 and served as the General Secretary until 2003 and Editor of the Social Work with Groups Newsletter for 22 years.
John was an Eagle Scout and served as Assistant Scoutmaster. He was a member of the Bexley Methodist Church, singing in the choir and serving as president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. For nine years, he sold magazines door to door in Bexley and East Columbus, including The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's and Liberty.
John played his euphonium (baritone) horn in The Ohio State University Alumni Band and in the Cuyahoga Falls Community Band. He played regularly in TubaChristmas and TubaSummer in Akron. He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church. His varied interests included camping, genealogy, computers, bicycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, science, woodworking, gardening, and playing bridge.
John is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Imre Szilagyi of Kingwood, West Virginia; daughter, Susan Ramey of Kingwood, West Virginia; and grandchildren, Erzsi Szilagyi of Stanford, California, Kristina Szilagyi of Baltimore, Maryland, and Lydia and Jeremy Darrow of Kingwood, West Virginia; brother and sister-in-law, Ralph E. and Jean Ramey of Federal Way, Washington; and sister, Margaret (Peg) Harshfield of Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Carol E. (Kuhlman) Ramey; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Melba (Kuhlman) and Charles E. Westervelt of Westerville, Ohio; and brother-in-law, Stanley W. Harshfield of Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
The family would like to thank his physicians, Dr. Grenville Machado, Dr. Esther Rehmus, Dr. Peter Cutri and the staffs of Akron General Hospital and Community Caregivers.
We will sorely miss our kind, generous, strong, loving father, grandfather and friend. Rest in peace, making a joyful noise!
Friends will be received at the Billow Funeral Home, 85 N. Miller Rd., on Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. Service will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1250 W. Exchange St., Akron. Burial will take place at the Pilger Ruhe Cemetery in New Knoxville, Ohio.
Memorial gifts may be made to John H. Ramey Memorial Scholarship Fund, The University of Akron, Department of Development, P.O. Box 2203, Akron, OH 44398-9649; International Association of Social Work with Groups, John H. and Carol E. Ramey Endowment Fund, 101 West 23rd St., Suite #108, New York, NY 10011; City of Cuyahoga Falls Community Band, c/o Chrystan Richardson, Quirk Center, 1201 Grant Ave., Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223; Westminster Presbyterian Church Five at Five Fund, 1250 W. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44313; Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., Chicago, IL 60615; or YMCA Camp Alfred L. Willson, In Memory of John H. Ramey, 2732 County Road 11, Bellefontaine, OH 43311.
John was a member of the marching band from 1944 through 1948, both playing the baritone and serving as assistant drum major.