“He was not only my favorite teacher, but also my friend,” Brittany Oletti, one of professor Everett Ramsay’s honors students, said of him.
Many family members, friends, students and faculty members came to celebrate Ramsay’s, formerly Akam, life at the public memorial service held Dec. 7 in the Cline Library Auditorium.
Ramsay was a well-known and loved professor in the Honors Program and taught courses such as The Search for American Identity, Humanity and Inhumanity and Systems of War and Peace. He also co-taught with his wife, Anne Scott, who is an English honors professor.
Ramsay married Scott in 2008 and immediately submerged himself into the Flagstaff culture. Scott shared a few stories of Ramsay, which had the audience laughing and tearing up at the same time.
“Ev [Ramsay] knew better than anyone I know that life can turn on a dime,” Scott said. “But if the laws of physics are correct and energy is always conserved, then I hope with all of my heart that you will find him every single time that you witness a beautiful sunset or experience the first winter snow of the season.”
Not only was Ramsay a dedicated husband and teacher to his students, he was also an avid road cyclist, skate skier, fly fisherman and rock climber. Ramsay pushed himself to his limit inside and outside of the classroom.
He wrote the book Transnational America: Cultural Pluralist Thought in the 20th Century, multiple scholarly articles and was currently working on a book about British novelist George Orwell.
Students and professors alike were touched by Ramsay’s kindness and care toward them. He was an encourager and supporter; always giving advice and helping others whenever and however he could.
“Dr. Ramsay showed me that I should never let my past define me or hold me back from my dreams, and not to dwell on [it],” Oletti said. “Most importantly, he taught me to never stop living my life. That being said, I know Dr. Ramsay would not want us to dwell on this incident, but to move forward in our lives keeping his memories, virtues and morals alive by living through things that he taught us.”
The memorial service consisted of classical music played on the guitar, poems read by fellow faculty members and friends and stories of Ramsay’s interactions with his students. The audience was laughing more than expected, mainly because laughing was one thing Ramsay was known for.
Ramsay passed away on Nov. 25 after brain injuries from a cycling accident. The accident occurred on Nov. 12, leaving him in the hospital with lifelong brain paralysis. Scott made the difficult decision to take Ramsay off life support to spare him further pain.
The large turnout at Ramsay’s memorial service is a testimony to how many lives he touched during his short time at NAU.
Family and friends are collecting contributions in support of Ramsay’s family. Donations can be made to the Everett Ramsay Memorial Scholarship Fund.