Tucky P. Ramsey, an influential Baltimore businesswoman whose support of various causes and reputation for hosting high-profile soirees made her a local celebrity, died of natural causes at her Mount Washington/Cheswolde residence Dec. 6. She was 84.
Ms. Ramsey worked in the fields of education, business and politics throughout her varied career. Long-standing beliefs in Baltimore’s business potential and women’s equality guided much of her professional life, including her strong political convictions and a run for the Maryland House of Delegates in 1976.
“She believed that she could shift the [sexist] mindset, that a woman could fulfill the obligation of that particular position, or of a business owner,” said Thomas Heller, one of her children with her late ex-husband, John H. Heller.
“She didn’t care what your politics were. She had her own set,” said Lynne Alderson of Carroll County, whose mother was a childhood friend of Ramsey’s and described her as a “second mother." Ms. Ramsey was close to Mayor William Donald Schaefer and state Sen. Paula Hollinger, among other local politicians.
Ms. Ramsey was born to lawyer Nathan and musician Doris Patz (née Engelman) in Baltimore in 1935. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and a master’s degree from what is now Loyola University Maryland. According to a biography provided to The Baltimore Sun, Ms. Ramsey co-founded The Jemicy School, which uses the Orton-Gillingham approach to serve students with dyslexia and now maintains two Owings Mills campuses, in 1972. Ms. Ramsey also supported The Hannah More School, which serves pupils with autism and learning needs, and the Orton Society of Maryland.
“Back then, people didn’t even know what [dyslexia] was,” said Andrew Heller, another of Ms. Ramsey’s sons and a member of The Jemicy School’s first class.
Ms. Ramsey developed the plan for Presenting Baltimore, a business focused on bringing conventions and special events to the city she loved, in 1983. A 1987 profile by The Sun noted that “the Federal Hill firm has annual billings of more than $400,000.” She later ran Tanjibar, a retailer in Ruxton, with her daughter, Jill Heller, and promoted women’s advancement in executive and leadership positions by co-founding Network 2000 in the 1990s.
Ms. Ramsey’s commitment to the city’s professional life extended to the gatherings she and her second husband, federal judge Norman P. Ramsey, held at their Guilford home. The Sun’s society pages frequently reported on such events, and a 1985 article even detailed their catering menus.
“Tucky was just one of a kind, loving, giving and really intelligent" Ms. Alderson said. “Anybody who ever knew her, the name would just bring a smile to their face.”
A memorial service at The Jemicy School will be scheduled for January or February.
Ms. Ramsey is survived by her children, Gerry, Jill, Andrew and Thomas Heller; sisters Barbara Patz and Ellen Myers; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.