Sometimes a community member has the ability to deeply touch the lives of those around them whether it be as a pastor, teacher, a coach or simply by just knowing them.
For the Tolsia and Crum community — Ramey was one of those people.
Ramey, 60, passed away on January 15 after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
He was known by anyone who met him as a Godly man who left a lasting impact no matter how much or little he knew them.
He was married to wife Vicki who he was known for being head over heals in love with from the age of 17-years-old. He was also a Pastor at Crum Missionary Baptist Church, director of Twelvepole Association Church Camp, a math teacher at Tolsia High School and a coach of both football and basketball over fifteen years ranging from Little League to high school.
Family member Tim Smith said he has been fighting the COVID fight one way or another since it began, but nothing can compare to what happens when it hits close to home.
“This past week has been one of the hardest for me during this time,” Smith said. “COVID hits us all different when it affects a loved one in your own family. We lost one of the most pure, loving and God fearing men I have ever known.”
Skip Newcome added that the community lost a great man.
“I knew Greg Ramey my whole life and he always had the time to talk, the time to help or the time to pray with someone else,” Newcome said. “He was an amazing pastor, mentor, coach, teach and friend. When I think of ‘salt of the earth,’ that’s Greg. He made the world a better place. He will be missed, but will always be loved.”
Another community member, Kimberly Laney, said she knew Ramey as a kid and he left a lasting impact she will never forget.
“He was one of the kindest, most respected men I’ve ever known,” she said. “He loved the Lord and he made sure everyone knew it. I had the privilege of knowing him and his wife Vicki through church camp as a kid. Greg had a way with words and I couldn’t wait to hear him speak during devotion and campfire. I could listen to him speak for hours. He always had a smile on his face and had a competitive side when it came to splashing contests at the pool or counselor verses campers on the basketball court.”
Speaking of his competitive nature, student Athlete Terry Davis said it was an honor to have him as a coach throughout the years and that the loss of such an “incredible man” will be felt by many.
Others reflected on Ramey as not only a coach, but a mentor for life.
Austin Brewer said there are few people you meet in life that leave a lasting impact and Coach Ramey was one of those people for him.
“He went by Greg to some, but to me he was always coach. Greg coached me in football and basketball from my 6th grade year up until I went to college. From the time I met coach, it was clear the principles he stood on. Hard work, integrity, winning and playing the right way, and most importantly faith in Christ,” Brewer said. “Coach always made it clear to us that we were more than just athletes, but young men created and loved by God. He took every opportunity to teach us about Jesus. I couldn’t tell you the times that he rounded up all the players on our team before (or after) a practice and gave us a lesson from the Bible. The special thing about coach is that he didn’t just preach it, he lived it. Anyone who spent any time around this man knew something was different about him. Not in any physical characteristic, but in his heart for Christ. I am thankful for the time I got with coach. He inspired me to be a better player, man and Christian. We saw much success and won many games under his coaching — but I am certain his proudest accomplishment is the life he lived for Christ. I, for one, am thankful to have been apart of that life.”
Jeremy Block said words cannot describe what Ramey meant to him.
“He coached me in football and basketball for multiple years. He was always so good to me,” Block said. “Even after I grew older and moved away from Crumm, anytime I saw Greg he asked about my family, we talked about the days of the past and I always has a smile after talking with him. He was truly one of a kind man to Crum and Tolsia community.”
Nick Crum said Greg Ramey was a great man and “a true definition of a role model for all those around him.”
Fort Gay Mayor Joetta Hatfield said those who knew Ramey are all feeling the same.
“He always had a smile on his face and was a truly caring person,” Hatfield said. “Just days before his last day at Tolsia (of course we didn’t know that) I went to his room to ask a math question in which he answered after just a few minutes. Long story short, we had an hour and a half conversation about many things… school, family, friends, sports, responsibilities, growing up, our parents, raising children, morals, church and importantly God. I’m so thankful I walked upstairs that day. Greg Ramey our Tolsia family loved you and will surely miss you and your caring smile.”
Though Ramey touched the lives of many as an adult, his former teacher Mrs. Varney remembers a simpler time when he was a student like that ones that grew to love him.
“In about 1973 there was a huge gas crisis, so Mr. Varney and I moved to Crum into a dilapidated old farmhouse just below Copley’s Market. At one time it was a grand house, I’m sure. We sponsored the National Junior Honor Society at that time, and that spring we had a pizza party for the members in the room we designated as the family room. I made the pizza, crust and all, from scratch.”
“The kids were dancing and having fun, and I noticed that Greg was not dancing. When I asked him about it he said sheepishly that he didn’t know how. I can’t remember the music of the time, but it was fast. I said, ‘Come with me.’”
“He followed me to the living room and I taught him how to use his feet to get the rhythm, then how to move to the music. I remember that shy smile. We worked at it for a few minutes, then returned to the party. They weren’t dancing as couples, so it was easy for him to blend in, but I could see he was self-conscious about it.”
Varney said she doesn’t know whether he remembered that his English teacher gave him a dancing lesson or not, but that she could never forget coaching him on how to move his feet.
RL Dawson also reflected on Ramey at a younger age, as the two grew up together.
“Greg and I grew up attending Cub Scouts meetings and going to Crum Missionary Church. We enjoyed playing Little League football that his father coached. We played both football and basketball throughout junior high and high school together,” Dawson said. “ I moved away, but Greg married the love of his life Vicki and decided to stay and raise a family together. Greg went on to teach and coach where he became an outstanding role model. He was always civic minded and wanted to give back to the community. He has touched the lives of many, and I am proud to call him my friend.”