Pierce “Ted” Ramsey, a Tuskegee airman and real estate broker, died on Saturday, June 15, 2019. He was 93.
He was born on Aug. 7, 1925. He was the third son of the late William and Hazel Townsend. He grew up in West Philadelphia.
He attended St. Thomas Episcopal Church as a youngster with his family and served as a choir boy.
Ramsey received his education in the Philadelphia public school system and graduated from Temple High School. He attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied accounting and finance.
Following his schooling, Ramsey joined the U.S. Army Air Force. A highlight of his life was to be proficient in all written and verbal aptitude tests. This qualified him to train as a B-25 twin-engine light bomber at Moton Field on the grounds of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. As he would later discover, that training would become part of the history of the country as the story of the Tuskegee Airmen was shared with the general public.
Although Ramsey was poised and trained to serve in active war duty, his service concluded with the end of World War II. One of Ramsey’s last official duties as an airman was to fly his plane, the “E-Lois,” to Iowa, where it was taken apart and recycled, as was the custom of the time. He remembered saluting with tears in his eyes as his plane rolled down the tarmac for dismantlement.
Ramsey served as an early president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen and helped to initiate fundraising projects. An especially proud moment in his life was the award of the Medal of Honor to the Tuskegee Airmen by President George W. Bush in the nation’s capital.
Ramsey’s career began as a trainee in the Roberts Real Estate Co., where he worked for several years before becoming a licensed real estate broker. He built and opened his own office in West Philadelphia, selling residential real estate for many years. In his early career he experienced a major accomplishment when he recorded and valued every piece of property that would eventually become Yorktown in North Philadelphia.
Ramsey served as president of the Realist Association of Philadelphia, a group formed because African Americans were excluded from membership in segregated real estate organizations. In addition to his practice, in later years Ramsey was associated with commercial real estate with Corporate Realty Partners.
Through the years, he joined several civic and social groups, including the Commissioners, a club co-founded by his father. That group of African-American men wanted to host social events when segregation precluded their access to public venues. He was also a founding member of the Del Val Golf Club and a member of the Men’s Social Club.
He married Ruth Scarborough Ramsey in 1985 and they enjoyed a social life at their homes in Philadelphia and the Jersey shore.
Ramsey continued to mentor young people who aspired to a profession in real estate, many of whom developed successful and rewarding careers. He also enjoyed speaking with young people about the exciting world of aviation.
He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Theodore Ramsey Jr.; and former wife, Harriett Ramsey.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by: his son, Brian and his wife, Elaine Ramsey; granddaughter, Kelly Ramsey Schultz and her husband, Erick Schultz; sisters-in-law, Constance Fletcher Ramsey and Margaret Edwards; nieces, Paula Ramsey Lewis, Billie Lewis, Robin Ramsey and Melanie Ramsey; nephew, Donald Ramsey; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held June 24 at African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Ave. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial is in Eden Cemetery.