Sam Ramsey, former mayor of the city of Covington, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Salem Campground and President and CEO of Ramsey Furniture Company, passed away Aug. 25, 2020, following surgery for a broken hip. He was 81 at the time of his death.
Mr. Ramsey, a 1957 graduate of Newton County High School, continued his post-secondary education at Oxford College of Emory University before graduating with his BBA from Emory University Business School in 1961. He was later presented the Distinguished Alumnus of Emory University Award. A true servant, he began his lifelong years of service by courageously serving in the United States Air Force which included the tense military standoff known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. His outstanding service was recognized when he was awarded the Distinguished Materiel Control Officer Award by the U.S. Air Force.
Although he considered entering the ministry, after returning to his native home of Newton County, Mr. Ramsey devoted more than four decades to public service and the ministries of both the Methodist church and the local Salem Campground. Confirmed at the age of six, Mr. Ramsey was a lifetime member of Covington First United Methodist Church where he faithfully served in several capacities including Chairman of the Administrative Board and the Council on Ministries. A Certified Lay Speaker, he attended the annual Salem Campground meetings for more than eight decades and served as Trustee and Chairman of the Program Committee for 57 years, and most recently as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Furthering his commitment to the gospel, Mr. Ramsey was an active member of Gideons International.
A true pillar of his community, Mr. Ramsey launched his public service after being appointed to the City of Covington Planning and Zoning Commission in 1970, and in 1975, was elected President of Newton County Chamber of Commerce. He was later awarded the honorable R.O. Arnold Award for Community Service by the Chamber. Additionally, he served as President of the Kiwanis Club, from 1971 – 1973, and began a dedicated tenure as leader and advisor for the Boy Scouts of America – Troop 222. He served on the Atlanta Area Council and the Advisory Board. Mr. Ramsey was awarded the highest Adult Scouting Award – the Silver Beaver.
In 1988, he was elected to the City Council (nine years), and in 1996, he was elected Mayor of Covington to complete a one-year unexpired term. Mr. Ramsey continued serving the citizens of Covington as he was re-elected mayor for three additional terms. During his incumbency, all departments within the city became nationally accredited – the police department having received the highest award possible – the coveted Webber Seavey Award. Further, Mr. Ramsey was instrumental in the expansion of the Covington Municipal Airport. In addition to the economic benefits the local airport provided to the community, safety was his top priority as new hangers were built, the runway was extended and new lighting was implemented. In addition to the vast progression of the City during his administration, he sought the support of local pastors and churches to create Faithworks, a local non-profit assisting indigent families with rent and utility expenses. When the City Council was at a standstill, Mr. Ramsey was the tie-breaking vote in favor of the Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter being relocated to Covington, from Porterdale, allowing better facilities to serve those in need. His devotion to the shelter continued as he served on the Board of Directors for the last eleven years.
Those left to carry on his legacy include his beloved wife of nearly 50 years, Becky Griffin Ramsey; his devoted cousin, Tony Ramsey, his wife, Kimberly, and their children, Taylor and Rachel; his faithful sisters-in-law, Alice Griffin Walker and her husband, Ken, Lavinia Griffin; nephews, John B. Griffin, III, and his wife, Laura, Richard S. Griffin and his wife, Beth; great-nieces, Victoria, Nicole, Kaitlin and Makenzie.
A funeral service honoring the life of Mr. Ramsey will be held Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, at 11 a.m., at Salem Campground Tabernacle, 3940 Salem Road, in Covington, with Rev. Dr. Douglas Gilreath and Rev. Dr. Jan McCoy officiating. He will lie in state beginning at 10 a.m. A private family interment will immediately follow the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to Salem Campground, c/o Dr. Carter Rogers, P.O. Box 243, Conyers, GA 30012; or Covington First United Methodist Church, 1113 Conyers St. SW, Covington, GA 30014.
The family would like to invite all to visit the Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home Tribute Wall, created for Mr. Ramsey, which can be found with his obituary at caldwellandcowan.com. The family would appreciate the special memories shared by all who knew him.