John Ramsdell passed away yesterday, Tuesday, May 13th, 2014. He and I attended Battle Mountain High School together. He was a year older than me, so I was never close with John, but he made a strong impression on me in high school. I've carried that memory forward. When I found out he was sick, he was already under hospice care at home. I sent him the following message. I'm posting it here as well because I wanted to make certain I got to keep it as a fond memory of the man, and share with others who didn't know him a small part of who he was.
For most of us, there's not much left when we go. We may leave some family and friends, but few of us get the chance to leave much more than that.
I just wanted to tell you a little story of what a great guy you are. You probably don't remember it, but I certainly do. When we were in high school, there was a three-on-three basketball tournament. You asked me to play on your team, and I believe we also had a Mahoney, but I can't recall which one. I was shocked and honored that you would ask me, even if I didn't say it at the time. I was a pretty awkward guy, and even though I was tall, I certainly wasn't the best player around. Maybe I was the last guy you asked, but to have you approach me to play was a real ego boost. It meant a lot to me.
We played well together, but you were definitely our captain, and we took our leads from you. We didn't win that tournament, but we advanced fairly far, and I had a great time. I also learned that you were a leader, someone I could trust in tight situations, and someone whose moral compass pointed straight ahead.
I'm a better person for having known you.
There’s a story that goes with that three-on-three tournament that made it stand out to me. The details aren’t important. I’m fairly certain John would remember that same tournament, and it certainly was a moment of seeing the bar set very high by someone I respected.