This article is an opinion.
Mayor Samuel David Ramsey went on to his eternal reward late last week. While our Savior will welcome his faithful servant warmly into His loving arms, we the living will be sorry for our loss.
A fifth generation descendant of the original settlers of Newton County, Mayor Ramsey has too many accomplishments to print without publishing a book. When I first started going down the list of his many achievements, I thought there must have been a mistake. Someone must have pasted three or four different people’s lifetimes into that legacy of good and noble deeds. But it was just one man with just one goal, to love and care for the people of Covington.
I know one of his most important successes is his 50 years of marriage to Mrs. Rebecca Ramsey, who is a nationally certified Collegue of the American Guild of Organists, an elite fraternity enjoyed by less than 1% of all the organists in America. The warmth and affection these lovers displayed through their 50 years of joyous marriage is a testament to the love we can hope to expect when we too are received into heaven.
Mayor Samuel David Ramsey served the people of Covington for 37 years. It is because of his leadership that you know that city as “The Hollywood of the South.” The billions of dollars of movie-making that Georgia now enjoys was pioneered by Mayor Ramsey.
Mayor Samuel David Ramsey was nothing short of a visionary. For example, his lengthening of the runway at the Covington airport was – at the time – deemed politically impossible. Now, a decade later, that very long runway brings in corporate jets – and jobs for our children – from very far destinations from all around the world.
When Robert Kennedy was running for president, he came to Covington to spend an afternoon with Mayor Ramsey. President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Sam Nunn, Gov. Zell Miller … the list goes on and on. But with all that success, with all of his stature, I know that Mayor Ramsey is most proud of his family’s historic role in the Salem Camp Ground. An outside pavilion with a saw dust floor, the Salem Camp Ground – which was founded by Mayor Ramsey’s ancestor – has been hosting shade tree revivals bringing people to Jesus for 200 years.
Mayor Samuel Ramsey attracted hundreds of new businesses to Covington with an economic impact of billions of dollars, created dozens of initiatives to create efficiencies and save tax payer money, built scores of new government facilities, created THE CENTER, funded the Lake Varner Reservoir, created a homeless shelter and dozens of other facilities for the poor, lengthened the Covington Municipal Airport runway, and refurbished downtown Covington. Just a few of his honors include the Distinguished Alumnus of Emory University Award, Emory Magazine Award for Distinguished Community Service, Outstanding Christian Service Award by the Wesleyan Christian Advocate, and the R. O. Arnold Award for Community Service from the Newton County Chamber of Commerce. He also served the Boy Scouts for 47 years and Kiwanis International for 25 years.
His service in the Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis, his service to Newton County as CEO of Ramsey Furniture Company, his service as Covington Planning and Zoning Commission for 17 years, his service on the Covington City Council for nine years, his service as Mayor of Covington for 11 years, his service as a Member of Gideons International, his service as a member of the First United Methodist Church of Covington for 79 years, where he has served as a certified Lay Speaker and Chairman of dozens of Boards, his service to our Savior as Chairman of Salem Camp Ground Program Committee for 53 years and Chairman of Salem Camp Ground Board of Trustees for three years … but mostly his love – both to the people of Covington and to his grateful family – made Mayor Samuel David Ramsey a giant of a man.
Christianity is at its best when Christians demonstrate their love for one another through actual, practical, deeds of compassion.
Dave Belton is a Republican from Morgan County, serving in the Georgia House of Representatives, District 112.