Sharon A. Ramsey-Walker, a retired educator who championed “at risk” youth, died on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. She was 71.

She was born on Nov. 12, 1948, in McKeesport to Ollie and Dollie Jones. At an early age, her parents moved to Philadelphia to be closer to their families. She was baptized at Jones Tabernacle Baptist Church, where she was a member.

She was married briefly to Ephraim Ramsey and two children were born to their union. She later married Denzil Walker and enjoyed a union that spanned more than 30 years.

Ramsey-Walker was educated in the School District of Philadelphia. She attended T.M. Pierce and Gillespie Junior High School and graduated from Roxborough High School.

She enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia at the age of 17. She left the college and went to work for the U.S. Postal Service at the 30th Street location. According to Ramsey-Walker, it was the hardest and most boring job she had ever experienced; this was the catalyst for her to continue her education.

In her early years, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement were aggressively informing the nation and the world about the injustice and disservice to African-American people. The federal government finally passed a Civil Rights Bill, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This bill contained special collegiate opportunities for minorities living in certain areas of the United States.

One such program was located in the Philadelphia area, the Careers Opportunity Program (COP). This federally funded program provided Ramsey-Walker with the means to finish her studies at the Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University.

She acquired her associate’s degree from the community college and her bachelor’s degree from Temple. Some years later, Ramsey-Walker earned a master’s degree in administration from Cheyney University.

The Career Opportunity Program helped her to become a teacher in the Philadelphia public school system. Ramsey-Walker started as a classroom aide at Robert Morris Elementary School in 1970. Her first teaching assignment was at Walter Smith Elementary School in South Philadelphia, where she worked for 3½ years. Due to budget cuts, lack of supplies and plunging enrollments, Ramsey-Walker was laid off from the district several times.

When she was rehired, Ramsey-Walker taught at various elementary schools including Walter Smith, Potter Thomas Early Childhood Center, Potter Thomas Elementary, Welsh, Robert Morris, R.H. Brown, Greenburg, Loesche, Carroll, Mayfair, Lawndale, Elverson, Ann Frank and Moore. She eventually found a permanent home at Morrison Elementary School, where she taught for 24 years.

Prior to retirement, Ramsey-Walker taught for 37 years; however, her thirst for teaching brought her back into the ranks as a retired teacher. In total, she taught for 49 years.

While at each school, she met many teachers and acquired both teaching and leadership experiences. Because of those experiences, she became a master teacher, mentor and cooperating teacher for at least 15 student teachers. She also became a faculty adviser for one of the leading teacher preparation programs in the United States, Teach for America.

The School District of Philadelphia launched a reading program, “Read 180,” and she was awarded “Exemplar Teacher” by the superintendent due to her excellent implementation and student improvement. She went on to work as a resident counselor at the Bucks County Juvenile Youth Center.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by: her children, Deana and Ephraim III; daughter-in-law, Sherita; four step-children; grandchildren, Ansharaye and Ephraim IV; 14 step-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.

Services were held Dec. 9 at Salem Baptist Church, 2741 Woodland Ave. She is buried in Whitemarsh Memorial Park.

She had a passion for coaching and working with new teachers and loved listening to their ideas.

Some of Ramsey-Walker’s special interests included both religious and civic organizations. She was founder/president of the Temple of Divine Love’s Scholarship and Career Committee; recording secretary of the Board of Christian Education; editor/publisher of the Second Baptist Church of Doylestown Newsletter; member of the Trustee Board and Scholarship Committee; a lifelong member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Mainline District founder of the National Association of 100 Black Women; founder/secretary of the Caribbean Cultural Association and the Dickens Auxiliary-Abington-Jefferson Health Center. Prior to her illness, the last organization she joined was the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.

Most recently, Ramsey-Walker became a member of New Salem Baptist Church, where she sang on the choir.

She had an abundance of interests but her primary passion was her family. Ramsey-Walker loved and was very involved with both sides of the family. Her maternal family consisted of the Anderson, Robinson, Wells and Wilson families of which she was the Philadelphia-based Family Chapter president. She helped to research their family history and coordinated the family reunions that occurred during the past 20 years.

On her paternal family’s side, the Jones, Ramsey-Walker would travel to the “Forks” near Waycross, Georgia, every Fourth of July to continue the legacy of her father and share the family’s history with her younger cousins to keep their heritage alive.

Her life’s passion was coaching young girls into young ladies. Her family said she worked on the Girl’s Empowerment Program to help incarcerated girls recognize that they were not defined by their fall, but by their rise up.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by: her children, Deana and Ephraim III; daughter-in-law, Sherita; four step-children; grandchildren, Ansharaye and Ephraim IV; 14 step-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.

Services were held Dec. 9 at Salem Baptist Church, 2741 Woodland Ave. She is buried in Whitemarsh Memorial Park.

John Gibson Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

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