To her peers, Dixie Chester Ramsey was a humanitarian who was larger than life.
“There isn’t any segment of town that doesn’t have her influence and we’re all better off because of it. We should all emulate her — we have truly lost a giant,” said Jim Barco, Brenau University senior vice president for institutional development.
“She came from a generation who believed in giving back. She had a real sense of stewardship. She took so many teenage girls under her wings through the years — these were young women who were of little means. (Ramsey) not only helped introduce them around town, she also gave them a real sense of being.”
The 85-year-old, who lived most of her life in Hall County, passed away Monday. She was the wife of the late Wilbur F. Ramsey, who served as the president of L&R Farms for more than 30 years and was a pioneer in the poultry and egg industries.
To describe Ramsey as active, would be an understatement. Among other things, she had served as the president of the Northside Garden Club, Girl Scout leader, Elachee Nature Center Board member, 1996 Olympic beautification committee member and a Sunday school teacher at Grace Episcopal Church.
“She was a big supporter of Brenau. She attended college here, and her family established the (Ramsey-Chester Scholarship Fund),” said Barco.
The Ramsey-Chester scholarship serves as a champion of two of Ramsey’s pet causes: mentoring young women and helping those in need.
“I received the scholarship during my senior year. I was a nontraditional student, and I went back to school when my children were in elementary school,” said Cresta Davis, who graduated from Brenau in 2008.
“It took me five-and-a-half years to get my bachelor’s degree, but I did it. It made a big difference in me being able to afford to continue going to school. Trying to go to school full time, working part time and raising three kids was very stressful — that scholarship was a huge help.”
Today, Davis is an oncology nurse at Orlando Regional Health Care in Florida.
Ramsey is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Jill and John Mansfield; and two grandchildren, Alyssa Ramsey Hill and Franklin Ramsey Hill.
Donations may be made to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation or the Ramsey-Chester Scholarship Fund at Brenau.
A service honoring Ramsey’s life will be 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Brenau’s John Burd Performing Arts Center on Academy Street in Gainesville.