Judge Henry Ramsey, Jr. was a long time supporter of The Ivy League Connection and served as a panelist to select many of the ILC scholarship recipients.
Aside from being a fervent advocate for The Ivy League Connection, he was also the father of ILC Co-Founder and administrator Charles Ramsey.
On Friday March 14th, 2014, Judge Ramsey succumbed to a stroke suffered several days prior.
Judge Ramsey will be severely missed.
Below is an obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle of March 16th:
Henry Ramsey Jr., a distinguished legal scholar who served as an Alameda County judge, member of the Berkeley City Council and dean of Howard University‘s law school, died Friday at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley. He was 80.
Mr. Ramsey suffered a stroke last Sunday at his Berkeley home, family members said.
Mr. Ramsey believed that “justice should be a reality for everybody,” said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who served as co-counsel with Mr. Ramsey on a number of cases “when we represented those who couldn’t get representation, like the Black Panthers. Henry was so dedicated and so forceful. He was just a joy to work with.”
Mr. Ramsey pulled no punches, Brown said. “He caused everyone to be conscious of their own conduct. He was such a scholar that he would let you know when you used a verb instead of an adjective. And somebody coming from Rocky Mount, N.C., you wouldn’t think he would be so equipped,” said Brown, laughing.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte called Mr. Ramsey a “warrior for justice and fairness and equality in our court system. I want him to be remembered as a mentor, as a wonderful role model, as a courageous judge who made courageous and fair decisions.”
Civil rights attorney John Burris said Mr. Ramsey was a noted philanthropist who took time to help seniors and youths.
“He was a person who gave of himself to the community at large,” Burris said.
His son Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa Unified School District board, said he took his father’s advice to heart. “My dad always said, ‘You’ll be measured as a man not by what you did for yourself but what you do for others.’ “
Another son, Ismail “Izzy” Ramsey, a former federal prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney, said his father strove to help those in need. “In addition to being a great father, he was committed to helping others get equality and justice,” he said.
Mr. Ramsey celebrated his 80th birthday in January at a party at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley that included many well-wishers and friends, including state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Mr. Ramsey graduated from UC Riverside in 1960 with a degree in philosophy and earned his law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. He then served as a Contra Costa County prosecutor - helping to integrate the office - and as a trial lawyer in private practice.
He was a member of the faculty at Boalt Hall from 1971 to 1980. During his tenure there, he served on the Berkeley City Council from 1973 to 1977.
He served as an Alameda County Superior Court judge from 1981 to 1990 before serving as dean of the Howard University School of Law for the next five years.
Besides his sons Charles and Ismail Ramsey, Mr. Ramsey is survived by four other children and his wife, Eleanor. His first wife, Evelyn, died in 2010.
And from the March 14 edition of The Contra Costa Times...
Henry Ramsey Jr., a politician, lawyer, judge, professor and law school dean, died Friday at Alta Bates Medical Center after suffering a massive stroke five days earlier at his Berkeley home, his son Charles Ramsey said. He was 80.
“He was a man who came west from the segregated South and built a life based on community services and tried to make the world a better place for as many people as possible,” said Charles Ramsey.
Henry Ramsey was born in Florence, S.C., and came of age in a segregated Deep South.
Before the 1965 Civil Rights March in Selma, Ala., Ramsey was jailed with a group of 60 others after they tried to demonstrate in one of Selma’s white neighborhoods, according to a 1997 profile in the Contra Costa Times.
Ramsey came west to settle into his life and career.
He received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from UC Riverside and his law degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Law. He was a member of the law faculty at Boalt Hall from 1971 to 1980 and served on the Berkeley City Council from 1973 to 1977.
Later, Ramsey became a Superior Court of California judge and then dean of Howard University School of Law from 1991 until 1996, according to his online biography.
Friends remember Ramsey for his quick wit, towering height and presence, and his dapper style, which typically included a dark suit and bow tie.
“Henry was always dapper, always entertaining and always inspiring,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who studied under Ramsey at UC Berkeley’s Law School in 1979-80. “He made learning fun.”
Jim McMillan, a former Richmond councilman and Ramsey’s friend for more than 50 years, said he was fiercely principled and always passionate about civil rights.
“He wasn’t that suave when I first met him,” McMillan chuckled. “He walked around with an Afro and old army combat jacket and combat boots back then.”
McMillan said Ramsey was the lead attorney for a group of African-American Richmond police officers who successfully sued the city for discrimination in the early 1980s.
“The officers really celebrated him, really revered him,” McMillan said.
Ramsey was in good health before his stroke, his son said. His 80th birthday party was held at the Claremont Hotel in Oakland and included guests such as state Attorney General Kamala Harris. Ramsey and his wife had recently returned from a vacation in Cambodia.
Charles Ramsey said his father was one of two African-Americans, along with Eugene Swann, to integrate the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office in the 1960s.
Ramsey leaves a lasting legacy in the East Bay. Charles is a longtime member of the West Contra Costa School Board. The Henry Ramsey Jr. Law Academy at De Anza High School bears his name.
“Henry was someone who really lived in many worlds: academic, foundation, political, legal. This was a man who impacted many worlds,” Gioia said. “The common theme is he cared about people who were most in need of a voice.”