Alton Gordon Ramsey, Jr.
Madison: Alton Gordon Ramsey, Jr. passed away peacefully on July 28, 2012 from complications following surgery. He is survived by his second wife Caroline Wolenec of Fitchburg, and was preceded in death by his first wife, Rita Jane Vetter Ramsey, in June of 2008.
He is further survived by his son, Thomas M. Ramsey (Mary Jo) of Hartland, Vermont, two daughters, Judith Ramsey Kostka (Marvin) of Denmark, WI, and Jean Ramsey (James) of Fitchburg. Al had two grandchildren, Jessica Ramsey Liberatore (Brian) of Yardley, PA, Travis M. Ramsey (Gisela) of Lebanon, NH, and one great- granddaughter, Anna Louise Ramsey, age 1 ½. Al met Anna at a family gathering last fall in Vermont.
Al was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1923 to Alton Gordon, Sr. and Ruth (Ferguson) Ramsey and was raised in Chicago. He moved to Madison at the end of WWII, after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and often joked about flying anything that wasn’t tied down too tightly during his last posting at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in 1945. Al was one of six children and outlived all but his loving sister Dorothy of Florida. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Margie, Mary Belle, Elaine and a brother, Tom.
Known in Madison for many years as “Banjo Al”, he was an accomplished musician and entertained endless parties, football tailgates and later volunteered his musical talent at Fitchburg Senior Center and many area nursing homes. He also brought his “Globe Trotting Banjo” on his extensive trips with Rita, and played at the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and atop an elephant in Nepal. Largely self-taught, he was inducted into the State Historical Society’s Stringed Instrument Hall of Fame in 1993.
He was an accomplished graphic and fine artist, and operated a successful graphic art studio throughout his career in Madison. A prolific painter, his works were often award winners at various Madison art shows. Al was a member of the Musicians Local 166 and Christ Memorial Lutheran Church of Fitchburg.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at CHRIST MEMORIAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 2833 Raritan Road, Fitchburg, with Pastor Jeff Meyer officiating.
Burial with military honors will follow at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, Madison.
Visitation will be at the church on Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service.
Memorials may be directed to Agrace HospiceCare, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, WI 53711.
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