Obituary : Elaine F. Ramsay
The dawn of a new year always brings with it hope for peace, joy, and serenity. Elaine Edith Fortes Ramsay was granted her wish in the early hours of New Year's Day, when she died after a struggle with illness at Norwood Hospital. For those of us left to mourn, it seems as though the stars have dimmed a bit above Vineyard Sound. Such was the loving and friendly spirit that was Elaine's.
Elaine lived in Sharon with her daughters Amanda and Olivia for many of the last 20 years, but she was a steadfast Vineyard native who could never stay away for long. Born to Jennie and John Fortes on February 23, 1956, in her family home on Spring Street in Vineyard Haven, Elaine was the third of four children. She grew up in a large, close-knit family of Wampanoag and Cape Verdean ancestry. It was there on Spring Street, where numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends came to visit on a daily basis, that Elaine acquired her love of being surrounded by friends, family, and good food. Indeed, to many of us who knew and loved her, Elaine's home was the center of the Vineyard Haven universe -bordered by the Tisbury School on one side, catechism class on another, and Main Street just minutes away down the hill. Certainly she made it seem all the more so, with her open, friendly ways.
She was a charmer, to be sure, with a curious, outgoing nature. Her beautiful smile was enhanced by her singularly beautiful dimples - along with a rare matching chin cleft to which she proudly credited her father whenever asked. Elaine was selfless to a fault. She would give you the shirt off her back if needed, and worry about her own comfort later. She had a passion for life, which was unparalleled. She believed in living every moment fully, with joy and good humor, and she did that for as long as she was able.
Elaine attended the Tisbury School, and was graduated from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School in 1974. She was a great supporter of the boys and girls basketball teams, and traveled with the teams off-Island as often as possible, whether as a cheerleader, or as private citizen.
Elaine worked as hard as she played. She was a quick study, and followed her mother into a long banking career that began after school at the Martha's Vineyard National Bank. She remained at the bank after high school graduation, and was then able to move to Boston and continue her banking career at Bank of Boston, where she remained for many years. Elaine learned many facets of banking, and focused much of her career on money markets and securities. Her talents enabled her to withstand numerous professional challenges as bank after bank that she worked for acquired, or was acquired by, others: Fleet Bank, First Fidelity, State Street. Throughout this upheaval in the banking industry over the last 20 years, Elaine was never laid off, nor lost a job. Such was the nature of her talent and tenacity. In her last position at Bank of America, Elaine was able to telecommute as she was responsible for overseeing technology related to bank vendor relationships. She was pleased that this afforded her more time at home with her daughters, even as her health began to decline.
Elaine was married and divorced from Charles Ramsay of Boston. She is survived by her daughters, Amanda, aged 20, and Olivia, aged 10; her siblings: Douglas, of Aquinnah; Andrea Winfrey, her husband and sons, of Chicago; Alan and his wife, son and daughters, of Vineyard Haven; many, many close cousins, aunts, uncles, and a legion of long-term friends and fans, such as James Polk and others. Sleep in heavenly peace, Elaine. You are missed more than you could ever know.
Visiting hours in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs were on Wednesday, Jan. 7. Her funeral mass will be celebrated in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs at 11 am today, Thursday, Jan. 8. Burial will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery located on State Road in Vineyard Haven.
Donations may be made in her memory to the M.S.P.C.A., P.O. Box 2097, Edgartown, MA 02539.
Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.