Robert McLester Ramsay, of Middleburg, Virginia passed away March 7, 2016 at the age of 94. We have lost another member of “The Greatest Generation.”
He was born in Birmingham, Alabama on July 26, 1921 to Andrew Carnegie Ramsay and Mary Ruth McLester Ramsay. Mr. Ramsay attended Ramsay High School and graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana. He attended the University of Virginia where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and played varsity golf. In 1942 he enlisted in the United States Army.
Serving in World War II as a 1st Lieutenant in the 1st Calvary Division, 5th Calvary Regiment, Mr. Ramsay saw action in the Pacific Theater from February 1944 through June 1945. He participated in the New Guinea Campaign, the Admiralty Islands Campaign, and the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte and the liberation of Luzon. He served on General MacArthur’s staff when he returned to the Philippines. For his service, he was awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal, the Army Combat Infantry Badge, the World War II Victory Medal and was awarded a Purple Heart.
After the war he completed his education at the University of Alabama where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1948. He also attained his Professional Engineering License.
Upon his return to Birmingham, Mr. Ramsay began his career as a design engineer for James A. Evans Engineering. In 1951 he founded Banks, Ellett and Ramsay, Inc., a mechanical engineering and contracting company, where he served as President for 30 years. In 1958 he purchased Birmingham Lead and Smelting Company and served as President.
In 1972 his company purchased Shook and Fletcher Air Conditioning, Inc. and Banks, Ellett and Ramsay became the largest mechanical contractor in Alabama. In 1982 he founded Superior Mechanical, Inc. where he served as President and CEO for 17 years until his retirement.
At the time of his death, Mr. Ramsay served as Chairman of the Board of Ramsay-McCormack Land Company.
Predeceased by his parents, brother Andrew Carnegie Ramsay, Jr., daughter Mary McLester Ramsay Fikes, and his wife of 59 years, Rhoda Hale Ramsay. Mr. Ramsay is survived by his wife of 12 years Joan Faville Ramsay; his children Erskine, Robert, Charles, Rhoda and Richard; his step-children Cynthia, Brooke and Jonathan; 20 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.
Mr. Ramsay was former President of The St. Andrew’s Society of the Middle South; former President of the Sons of the Revolution in Alabama and former Governor of the Society of Colonial Wars in Alabama.
During his years in Birmingham, his many civic contributions included: former President, Mountain Brook Exchange Club; former Chairman, Birmingham Area Chapter of the American Red Cross; former Board Member, Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama; former Board Member, Pearson Hall, Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Facility, and Cub Scout Leader, Troop 363, for 10 years.