EDITOR, The Tribune.
Fred Ramsey, a Pioneer and True Fox Hill Patriot.
I have known Fred Ramsey for most of my life. He and his family lived opposite our home on Bernard Road, Fox Hill. Born on 24th March, 1937, he was raised by his Grand Aunt, Anna Bonamy, and a cousin, Julia Saunders, two strong women who demanded respect and discipline from him and his other family members.
Fred attended Sandilands All Age School and in his final year in school was chosen as Head Boy.
I first knew Fred as a plumber when he worked at Standard Plumbing. He would often be called upon to make repairs to kitchen zincs and bathroom fixtures to those homes which had running water. Fred also operated a small business called the Palms which was located in a small wooden building in the front of their property where he sold soft drinks and some others which were not so soft.
Fred Ramsey loved his community of Fox Hill and played a leading role in several civic and community programmes. He was the founder and first President of the Fox Hill Youth Talent and Development Club. The club staged the Miss Fox Hill pageant in June, 1975 and Ms. Sandy Pearce, a sixteen-year-old student of Aquinas College, became the first Miss Fox Hill in an independent Bahamas.
Fred was a member of the Good Samaritan Lodge, Fox Hill Chapter, and he was also a mason belonging to the Free and Accepted Modern Masons. He invested in young men of the Fox Hill community by sponsoring a basketball team, the Ramsey’s Blazers which played in the BABA and was coached by Harry McKinney.
Fred was always a leader in the Fox Hill Community and moving toward politics was a natural transition for him. Fred joined the FNM in its infancy in 1970 and served as Vice Chairman of the party in 1972.
He takes credit for introducing the FNM to Fox Hill and first ran for the FNM in the Fox Hill Constituency in 1972 against Lionel Davis. He ran for the FNM again in Fox Hill in 1982 and lost to Frank Edgecombe of the PLP by six votes. He was again the FNM’s candidate in Fox Hill in 1987 but this time was defeated by George Mackey who moved from the St Michael’s Constituency apparently to make available a relatively safe seat for the Hon Paul L Adderley.
Fred Ramsey is probably best known for his work in the insurance industry. He joined Abbey International in 1968 as a sales agent. He was very successful and quickly rose to the top of the industry. He served as President of the Life Underwriters of the Bahamas for three terms.
He was elected as President of the Presidents Club of Bahamian underwriters and led delegations of Bahamian underwriters to conferences in Toronto, Canada, and in Bermuda where he addressed the international members of the Presidents Club at the Castle Harbour Hotel.
Fred started his own agency, the Fred S Ramsey General Insurance Agency Ltd, Bahamas, in 1971 which is located on Shirley Street. The Agency provided employment for most of his children and also provided insurance coverage for many people who were without necessary insurance coverage. Fred opened a branch of the agency in his building in Ramseys, Exuma.
Fred was a Justice of the Peace and was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Her 2009 Birthday Honours list for his contributions to politics and to the life insurance industry.
But Fred Ramsey is best defined by his work in the church. A lifelong member of Mt Carey Union Baptist Church in Fox Hill, one of the oldest Baptist churches in the country, there are few positions in the church that Fred did not head. He is a Senior Deacon in the church and has at one time or the other headed the BTU (the Baptist Training Union), served as Superintendent of the Sunday School, and headed the Men’s Fellowship which paid monthly visits to the prison. Fred also served as Treasurer of Mt Carey Union Baptist Church for some 25 years.
Fred was a member of the Old Folks Committee which held a party for senior citizens every Christmas Day. He built the first house in the Eastwood Subdivision, formed the Eastwood Association and served as its President for 30 years.
Freddie, as I call him, was a devoted husband, father and family man. He married Florence Dames of Fox Hill in 1957 and the couple raised five children, Marilynn, Fredericka, Juliann, Barry and Sonia. They also have numerous grand and great grandchildren.
Florence or “Flow” as I referred to her, was a loyal and loving companion to Freddie. Flow was a Librarian by profession and served as the first Librarian when the Fox Hill Public Library was opened in 1969. Fred paid for the furnishings and the first set of books for the library.
Florence was kind, friendly, and generous and assisted many Fox Hill students in their research and homework. She was a gem. Sadly, Florence died on 18th September, 2020.
Fred Ramsey is a true patriot and he loves the Bahamas and his treasured Fox Hill. The only thing he loves more is his God and his church. Fred Ramsey has been through much and has endured much. Yet he still holds his head high knowing that he has tried his best to fulfil Jesus’s commandment that “ye love one another as I loved you.”
November 21, 2022.