January 17, 1923 – June 9, 2018
Ruth Ramsay was born on November 22nd, 1922 in Timbuktu, Manchester, Jamaica to Lillian Hyman-Scott and Henry Rattray. She attended the School of Nazareth where she completed her education at age fifteen. Despite limited early education, she was a brave and courageous woman who had the will and determination of a pioneer. In Jamaica, she was a devoted homemaker and mother who ran a grocery store with her dear husband, Ira Josephs until he passed in 1965. Their union produced six children – Edith Haisman (Paul), Lillet Suba (Errol), Daphne Raymore (Alvin), Dr. Yvonne Angelastro (Gerard), Assad Josephs and Jean Tackore (Keeling). She was well known and loved by all in her district and the Nazareth Moravian Church in Maidstone, Manchester. When she left Jamaica in the late sixties to the United States, there were very few people who had taken that journey.
Mom entered the U.S. through Canada. She said it was an arduous journey. She, and two other women, met with an immigration attorney at the airport in Canada. She did not know him beforehand. She lived in Toronto, Canada for six months. During this time, the lawyer had secured a place for her to work in New York. He helped her cross over from Canada into the U.S on a very cold wintery night. However, she was on the road for the same reasons then that people today still migrate to America – a better life for herself and her children. When our dad passed away she had six children to raise on her own. They boarded the train and she kept her head down, fearing that she would be caught, though she had proper documentation. The lawyer arranged for someone to meet her at the station. Shortly after, she had started her job. She worked as a nanny for several people in Manhattan and Long Island. Eventually, she found a job in Forest Hills with a wonderful family, the Goldsmiths, for whom she took care of their son. They treated her as if she were a member of the family. Following that job, she got a job at Unity Hospital where she trained to become an LPN. When that hospital closed, she worked at Kingsbrook Hospital until she retired in 1987 after surviving a heart attack. She worked double shifts at the hospital, often coming home very late at night. She didn’t drive, she travelled via subway and bus. Mom was brave enough to come to America, but she was afraid to drive a car.
She loved to travel. Along her travels, she frequently visited her daughter, Edith and her family in England. She visited many countries in Europe, but fell in love with Athens, Greece. She spent her final years in the tender care of her daughter Jean, after moving to Florida in 1995 from New York. Here, she remained active, touring with the Coral Springs Senior Group. She also became a member of the Park Springs Presbyterian Church, now North Creek Presbyterian with her daughter Lillet and her family.
These life experiences became the foundation in the upbringing of her children. Reverence for God and family, the worth and value of education, respect for ourselves and others, were all inter-woven in the tapestry of our characters. This carried over to her 13 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-granddaughter. Nanny, as she was affectionately called by her grandchildren, willingly cared for them as if they were her own, with love, adoration and a firm hand. We cherish these blessings today, which were bequeathed to us by our dear Mom as we grew in her bold and devoted hands. We all express our appreciation for the role Mom played in our lives. On this day, when we bid goodbye to Mom, we want to say “Thank you Mom” for being the model from which we take our pattern.
Ruth Ramsay went to be with her Lord and Savior on Saturday, June 9th, 2018 while at Plantation General Hospital in Plantation, Florida. She is survived by her six children and her siblings: Sylvia, Veronica and Cefius and she is predeceased by her siblings: Daniel, Edward, Angus and Uriel.
In Lieu of floral tributes the family is requesting contributions be made to North Creek Presbyterian Church (954-428-8772) in her loving memory.
- Visitation Friday, June 15, 2018
- Funeral Service Saturday, June 16, 2018
- Commital Service Saturday, June 16, 2018
June 23, 2018
I know that I am supposed to thank God for having you to liven me up all my life, to make my life more complete, to make me well rounded and a better human being. You played a big part in my life and taught me a lot about love and the meaning of family. For this reason, I find it hard to be thankful. I want to be selfish. I want more time. I want you to be there to celebrate my birthday with me tomorrow. I want you by my side on my wedding day. That was the last thing you said you wanted to do and I’m sorry I couldn’t make that happen for you. I want you to make baked macaroni and cheese for my children. I want to plant herbs in my yard. I want you to be there for all of it, the hard times and good times. But you won’t and I pray that someday I will be able to accept that.
Thank you for always supporting me and loving me and all my cousins without conditions. At some point or another you were the Nanny for all of us. If we were in trouble you never turned away. Thank you for teaching me unconditional love, resilience, unnerving strength, ambition, forgiveness and kindness. You were a pistol but, you were never loaded. I love you more than life itself and though I’m so deeply broken by your departure, I’m so joyful that you have achieved what you’ve always wanted, to sit at the right hand of God. You continually called out for your mother and brother Uriel during your last days. Tell them I said thank you for their patience in letting us have you till you were 95.5 yo. I can’t wait to see you again and when I do just know I won’t let you beat me at Uno even though you can probably see much better by then. I love you and I’ll see you again.
June 23, 2018
Carrot cake will never taste the same for me again. If it doesn’t have raisins soaked in wine then I don’t think I can eat it. I miss how when you first moved down to Florida you would cook foods because Uncle Gerry liked it and would assume we would, too. And we did – I loved your fried chicken and chicken parm. I miss not being able to share a slice of pizza with you and hearing you tell me “let me have just a peg of the pizza” because you were afraid of the salt. Oh and french fries, I hope they have those in heaven. Oh and mangoes, too! Lord you could put away mangoes. I loved picking mangoes just so you could enjoy them. It’s mango season now and it’s an unusual feeling not to see random mangoes hidden in paper bags throughout the house that you would save for me and Aunty Sheila. I think of you every time I eat one.
Besides your love of food, I remember how rich my childhood was because of you. You made me laugh. I remember how Daniel and I would pinch your cheeks when your dentures were soaking and you would say “you and Daniel must take me for papishow”. I still don’t know what that means. I miss holding my head down on the side of the street while you picked Cerci off of random fences and praying that no one would see. I miss how you could cure anything with mint or cerci tea. Years of medical training and when I don’t feel well, I turn on my kettle because of you.
I wish I could say it was your food that brought us all together but it was your love and devotion to your family that glued us all together. Even through discord and hurt our family’s love for you brought everyone together. I see so much of you in each one of your children. When you and them were together it brought me and I’m sure my cousin’s as well much joy to hear their stories, listen to their laughter together, and even how they fuss over the silliest things. They are just like you. Now that you’re gone I fear if that glue will transcend your resting place.
June 23, 2018
I was always afraid you would leave while I was away at college or med school and then residency. Every now and again I would have nightmares of your passing and then I would promptly call you in the middle of the night. You would answer me no matter what time and you always knew why I was calling. The first thing you would say is “it’s okay princess I’m still here”. Finally, I moved home only to watch you bravely fight through illness due to aging. Seeing you suffer in those last months was extremely difficult, but you knew I couldn’t handle letting you go, so early in the morning as you did with everything, you still left without me there, without any of us except Darline. Thank you for your unselfishness.
You drove me crazy, but you also made me laugh and what I would give to have you here hassling me to eat something or be home before nightfall. You were fiercely protective of all your grandchildren. Holding us close whether we were on a bus on Myrtle Avenue, walking down Hancock Street, touring England or here in Florida. It was because of you that Oneith, Jonathan, Daniel and I got to see the Twin Towers, the Statue of Liberty, Buckingham Palace and Madam Tussead’s in England. You were so strong and confident navigating public transportation and the busy city streets with us in tow. And you were always prepared, too. Mary Poppins had nothing on you. You would magically pull “candies” that I later realized were cough drops and lemon drops or cans of Ensure complete with a bendy straw from your purse at a moment’s notice. You didn’t have much, but whatever you had you would use to take care of your grandchildren. You also always made sure we were fed. As a matter of fact, you made sure everyone was fed, related or unrelated.
June 22, 2018
A few things I think of that make me smile:
The time Fiona came to your house in maybe the 80s with a Mohawk
When you dragged me around for your endless appointments that inevitably involved a long hot walk, a bus, a train, a bus, a hot walk again
Making me drink Castor Oil or some such liquid found in exotic fishes
Rum Raisin Ice Cream and Fried Chicken and Porridge with Condensed Milk
Sitting on those vaccum-sealed, laminated couches in the Living Room and getting up and it sounding like Velcro
The impossibly large TV in said Living Room that seemed to play an incredible number of Martial Arts movies on channel 9
The likely stale Chips Ahoy Cookies you had around the house
The time you went to see Jurassic Park
The time you started reading one of my Jack Reacher novels
Hearing the Rooster of Hancock Street
When Nanny and her children got together and used their real voices and words
June 22, 2018
I think I knew all this and also knew in an abstract way how strong you were, that you had true steel in your soul. I look upon you now with adult eyes, especially in the reflection of our current times, and I only now see the depth of who you are. You walked this earth like a titan, that is what I thought to myself at church. That your life was huge and bold, that you were a hero. A widowed woman of color, with 5 children crossed an ocean and several countries to give her children the American dream. I think about the challenges you must have faced, what you overcame. I think about the times then, and you, with an accent or language that might not have been accepted and it breaks my heart. And I wonder how anyone could have been so strong to do all that you have done.
I think now about how faithful you are to the Lord and his plan, about miracles, because they are the most amazing signs of God’s hand, and I think about the near infinite miracles that you must have been a part of to bring your children here and for those children to have children and for us all to have gathered to celebrate you. That you overcame so much and that all of us are your children. You lived an amazing life and we are all a testament to it.
June 22, 2018
I wasn’t going to write anything or say anything, because my memories and my love for you are, selfishly, only for me. But I was at the wake and then the funeral, and I looked at pictures I had never seen, met people I had never met, learned things I had never learned. I sat there Saturday during the ceremony and I thought about you, and I celebrated you and the life you lead. You were kind and loving, and to anyone, especially a child, there is so much comfort in knowing someone loves you. I never doubted you did, that you loved me and my cousins and aunts and uncles and so many others. And you were much more than that. Those are the characteristics that a child sees in an adult. And it isn’t, maybe, until now, that I see a fuller picture of who you were. And I am sorry for having not known this person better. For not having told you how incredible you are to have been so brave, and determined.
You were a home to many of us, my cousins when we were lost or upset with our parents. And to our parents when they needed love, be it tough love or the gentle kind.
June 22, 2018
Due to Character Limits I am Going to Post A Few Messages
Sheila & Errol Suba
June 20, 2018
Mom, your love, your smile, your words, your life, and everything that made you special to us will live on through our memories.
June 20, 2018
Nanny, I would not be me if it were not for you. I will never forget spending days at your house on Hancock street watching Mr. Rogers (whom you loved) and the Lou Ferrigno Incredible Hulk (whom you hated) and of course your favorite soap opera, All My Children. I will always remember how you made sure I was fed whether it be with porridge as you called it, peeled carrots, peeled apples, or your amazing carrot cake. We shared many meals and snacks together and you always let me steal some of your rum raisin ice cream. You left me no doubts that your sacrifices were boundless when it came to your family because one day on Hancock street a dog was chasing me, which for a young child was really scary, and you threw a bottle and swatted it with a newspaper to get it away. You were no pushover that’s for sure as I witnessed many times in our travels on the bus or subways of nyc. When I was of school age you walked me to school and picked me up religiously. Speaking of religion, I will always remember you asking me to read you bible passages before you went to bed. I hope you are in heaven now with your bible and some rum raisin. I love you always.
June 19, 2018
Mom, Words cannot express how much I miss you! You were an amazing mother. I appreciated your unconditional love and your humor . Love you always Jean
June 17, 2018
When I heard Mom, or as I called her, Ma referred to as Ruth at the service it struck me that I always heard her being called Mom never Ruth. Whether family member or friend or even her health aide, it was always Mom, never Ruth. That was as it should be because her counsel was always wise and her heart warm. And isn’t that a mom? That’s what I’ll remember, her wisdom and warmth. Oh and of course her fried chicken.
June 17, 2018
Mom, you will always be in my heart and you will always be walking next to me. I have so many fond memories of things you’ve done and said that will remain with me forever; you always had anecdotes to tell that somehow were like parables.
I remember going shopping with you to Mays Department Store in the seventies and to Bloomingdales in Manhattan; these stores were completely different in many respects. You loved to dress and to look your best. When Fortunoff’s opened in Westbury, you couldn’t get enough of that store. We were always there. You always liked to shop and to get a good bargain.
When you were in the hospital a few days before you left us, I asked you if you knew who I was and you said, “How could I not know my children!” It was not said as a question, but rather as an assurance that you knew me. Rest In Peace , Mother, until we meet again.
June 16, 2018
My condolences to the Ramsay and Suba family.
May her soul rest in peace.
June 16, 2018
Today I say goodbye to my loving and amazing grandmother who inspires me and taught me to hold my head up high and love all that God has given me. To forever show gratitude for all that is going well and to live each day making it count and mean something. What a gift it was to see your continued perseverance under all seasons of change, you’re true symbol of strength.
June 15, 2018
You were the best Mum, who was always there for us. I shall miss the 'phone calls, the laughter and, most of all the question, "When are you coming to see me?"
Rest in Peace, Mum, Edith and Paul, with all our love.