An area resident for most of his life he was born December 29, 1920 in Montreal Quebec, Canada a son of the late James Cumming and Margaret Elizabeth Ramsay Riddell.
After completing his military service with the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve-Merchant Navy Association, Ramsay moved to the area from Montreal in October 1948 and soon became a naturalized citizen. In his earlier years he owned and operated a farm in Panama. After the sale of his farm he had worked as a signal specialist for Conrail Railroad for many years.
As a young man, he was a member of the Canadian Ski Jumping Team in Montreal, entering his first competition in 1929 at the age of 9. Both he and his brothers were excellent jumpers. Ramsay was off jumping somewhere each weekend until World War II. At Lake Placid he jumped against Art Devlin and Torger Tokle, two of the world's best from the U.S.A. Among his triumphs were the Eastern Canadian Championship, the Montreal City and District Crowns and the Laurentian Zone Championship. He also played rugby football and hockey.
Ramsay became involved in the organization of the Peek'N Peak Ski Center in 1962 and also served on the board of directors at Peek' Peak for several years. He was the founder of the Peek'N Peak Ski Patrol and was the Patrol Director until 1989. He was a key man for Peek'N Peak in building the good people-to-people relationship necessary between a ski patrol and its customers. He was cited as the Eastern Division Patroller of the National Ski Patrol System Inc. for 1982. He was chosen out of more than 8,000 ski patrollers in the Eastern Division. He also received recognition for his invention of a fruit ladder that was used for chair lift evacuation which was acclaimed the safest and fastest method at that time. Many of the areas in the Northeast Ski Country adopted the use of this device.
He organized and directed many first aid and refresher courses annually for his patrollers and visiting patrollers and taught first aid courses for the fire department as well. Ramsay assisted with the organization of the first Midget Football team in the area. He also played hockey on a local Jamestown hockey team.
He was a member of the National Ski Patrol, Western New York Regional Awards, Panama Volunteer Fire Department, former Harmony Historical Society, Panama United Methodist Church, Ingjald Lodge 65 Independent Order of the Vikings, the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club and the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board.
He was very active in his life and enjoyed just about any sport and activity. He and his wife Eileen sailed their boat for many years on Chautauqua Lake and this past May he sailed with his son up to the wilds of British Columbia and Princess Louisa area. He literally enjoyed his last game of golf just two weeks ago. He was a soft spoken man who enjoyed the company of his family and friends. He loved and cared for his wife of 64 years with the utmost compassion.
Surviving are his wife the former Eileen Hagen whom he married June 4, 1947, a daughter Nancy M. Nelson and her husband Gary H. Nelson of Ashville, NY, a son Loren T. Riddell of Trout Creek, MT, five grandchildren Kara L. Nelson and companion Steve Pattison of Astoria, NY, Holly A. Nelson of Ashville, Ramsay M. Riddell, Tristan J. Riddell, Maggie R. Riddell all of Trout Creek, MT and a brother John David Riddell of Montreal, Quebec Canada.
Besides his parents he was preceded in death by two brothers Thomas and James Riddell of Montreal.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 30, 2011, in the Lind Funeral Home. The Rev. Steven Taylor, pastor of the Panama United Methodist Church will officiate. Inurnment will be in the Sunset Hill Cemetery Columbarium.
Friends will be received from 7-9 p.m. Monday, August 29, 2011, in the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to the Panama Fire Department, the Harmony Historical Society, or to the Alzheimer's Association of Western New York.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.