Eric Ramsey 1961-2014: Loved and Missed

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eric Will Nuelle Co-Editor in Chief One of Latin’s own, Eric Ramsey passed away Saturday, November 1st after a long battle with heart disease. He received a heart transplant just two weeks prior to his death. Eric is survived by his wife Naomi, daughter Ericka and son Erick.  But Eric’s survived by others, too. He’s survived by a heartbroken Latin community — a community of students, parents and faculty that all have their own stories and memories of Eric. Eric began working at Latin in 1992 as a cook with the food service provider, Sodexo. He also began working part-time as part of the security staff, which eventually became his full-time job. Every morning Eric would direct the traffic line and greet students as they entered school. This way, he became a familiar face for people in all three divisions of the community. In 2013 he was chosen to receive the Augustus K. Maxwell, Jr. award for having demonstrated extraordinary support, loyalty and devotion to the Latin School community. Eric was outgoing, always saying “hey” or “what’s up” or “ey, big man!” no matter if it was morning or afternoon, sunny or raining, or even if he was having a bad day. He always remembered everyone by name and always knew what sport they were playing and what they were interested in. Eric was one of Latin’s biggest sports fans, too. Many students who were in Lower School at Latin remember Eric taking them out to the park for recess. He had incredible prowess when it came to being all-time QB for recess football. Sophomore Frankie Joslin remembers Eric for the football games, saying “I will always remember Eric from when he played football with us and taught me the basics of football. It’s strange because I never really had a figure who would teach me the basics of football.” Eric often worked the scoreboard for basketball games and was a huge fan of the boys and girls basketball teams.  Mr. Vandermeulen loved the time when Eric stood up cheering at the top of his lungs when the Boys Basketball team won a game on a last second shot. “His Latin spirit got the better of him in a situation where you are supposed to be business-like and it was awesome!” Mr. Cronister remembers standing next to Eric for almost every Latin vs. Parker basketball game at Loyola. He said that Eric was never afraid to yell out, “Oh, come on! Pass the ball!” when things weren’t going well or yell out, “yeah, Latin!” when someone swished a three or made clutch free throws to ice a game.  Senior Brennan Besser even recalls a time when Eric yelled to him — mid-game — from the scorer’s table: “Let’s go, B-Bess,” he would say, “Pick it up! Let’s take home the W.” Eric loved to be a part of the community, both the Latin community and the greater Chicago community. Mr. Guzman and Mr. Cronister independently remembered that Eric always volunteered to help out at the school dances. Mr. Cronister expanded on that, “he was always the first one to volunteer for anything.” He would help out at the front desk if staff was on lunch break or if they were sick. One of Mr. Cronister’s most recent memories of Eric was Eric working at the front desk. A heart-helping device was attached to his waist, but he didn’t greet people any differently. Out of school, Eric often helped at soup kitchens. He would sometimes come home from work only to start making a meal for others. Some of the best memories of Eric, though, come from the students. Freshman Griff Nuelle remembers when, after Griff got glasses, Eric endearingly called him “the Professor.” Eric continued to call him “the Professor” forever after that. Sarah Margulis remembers Eric “shaking hands and high-fiving [her] brother.” She said, “They were genuinely happy to see each other.” A common thread unites everyone’s memories: Eric was a genuine, passionate person. Eric was loved by all divisions of the school. In a school that tends to be separated by divisions, Eric was a linking force between all grades. And as much as Latin loved him, he loved Latin just as much. When Eric was sick about a year ago, Mr. Cronister brought get-well posters to his house signed by the entire Latin community. Mr. Cronister remembers sitting with Eric at the table, showing him the iPad that all of the Lower Schoolers had written their get-wells on and Eric sobbing. It was clear to Mr. Cronister right then how much Latin meant to Eric. He had been devoted to the school since day 1. Freshman Miles Burke may have summed it up best, “I still half expect him to be there, to just show up out of the blue and say, ‘What’s up, Miles?’”  ]]>