senior portrait
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Edison Second Grade - 1946
Edison Class(a) - 1946
Troop 10 - 1951

William Charles Ramaley


Bill passed away June 9, 2013. Here is his obituary from the Durango Herald

Fort Lewis College Professor Emeritus William Charles Ramaley died Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Durango. He was 73. Mr. Ramaley had suffered from heart problems for many years.

Known as “Bill,” he was born to Edward Jackson and Pauline Frances (Folk) Ramaley on Aug. 31, 1939, in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio State University and went on to earn a doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1969. He received several honors, including being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi.

On March 18, 1967, he married Annette Watersin in Northfield, Minn. During the next four years, they lived in Minnesota during the winter and spent their summers at a cabin west of Estes Park. They climbed every significant mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Throughout a 42-year teaching career, Mr. Ramaley tried to help students learn math in a liberal arts setting. After teaching at CU, Colorado College and Carleton College in Minnesota, he came to Fort Lewis College in 1973. He retired in 2003.

He served in numerous positions in math organizations, including chairman of the Rocky Mountain Section of the Math Association of America. At FLC, he helped establish the Sigma Xi Club. And as an editor for the Journal of Undergraduate Mathematics, he helped organize a conference for the Rocky Mountain Consortium.

He wrote two textbooks, Functional Calculus and Applied Calculus, which were published in 1995.

While at Colorado College, he became interested in Western history and published articles in The Denver Post, Teton Annual and other newspapers. His book Trails and Trail Builders of the Rocky Mountain National Park is available in the park.

In 1979, Mr. Ramaley was appointed to the city of Durango Water Commission, serving for more than 30 years. His family said he was a passionate advocate for water storage for the city.

The Ramaleys loved dogs and hiking. Mr. Ramaley also enjoyed irises, collecting piano sheet music with “Colorado” in the title and railroads, working at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad after his retirement. He also volunteered at the museum at the Durango Fish Hatchery.

Mr. Ramaley is survived by his wife of 46 years, Annette Ramaley of Durango; daughter, Julia Ramaley Mastro of Cary, N.C.; brothers, James Ramaley of Gettysburg, Pa., and Robert Ramaley of Omaha, Neb.; and extended family members.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 16, 2013, at Hood Mortuary Chapel, 1261 East Third Ave.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the La Plata County Historical Society, P.O. Box 3384, Durango, CO 81302; or San Juan County Historical Society, P.O. Box 154, Silverton, CO 81433.


Provided by Bill for the reunion of 2007:

I am now retired from the teaching of mathematics and writing text books (2) as I have written to classmates before. My old hobbies remain: growing iris, hiking, and railroading.

Of my life in Grandview I like to remember Young's Bakery, delivering papers, the community garden down along the railroad tracks, the library getting phonograph records, and the sense that Grandview was a real town with real people.

Of high school I like to remember Friday night football games and Romeo's afterwards, but I have one particular memory which is quite vivid - my tryout for the talent show. I had a fire-eating act, with torches. Miss Derivan auditioned the acts in the new band room on the east side of the building next to the new gym. As the glow of the mouthful of torches showed through my cheeks, she about passed out. I did not make the final selection.

Here and now, in my maturity, my experiences have taught me to try to do things which may seem unreasonable and not to second guess myself out of doing what I want. Let others tell me "No", but not to do it to myself. And I try to be interested in the interests of other people.

I wish all my classmates the best of life - it is all there is.



Written by Bill for Christmas 2010

I remain very engaged with the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. One new activity was helping with the Winter Photo Special train. That special occurs each winter on just one day. In preparation for the run, a group of workers goes the day before and makes "photo lines" at a half dozen scenic spots. On the day of the special the photo train will stop at each place and let the photographers get off. The engineer backs up the train, Then the train, under full power, shrouded in steam and smoke, will roar past. The train comes back, gets the photographers on board, and everyone goes on to the next site. A "photo line" is where the photographers stand, side by side, to take photos as the train approaches. No one is blocking another person's view. In winter snow, we have to pack down a path, several feet wide so that the photographers on the line do not sink into the deep powder (often waist deep or more). When the line is made, we carefully do not step in the foreground snow so it's pristine.

I was one of the three packers who would stomp down the snow well enough that foot-packers could continue the compression job. I wore snowshoes. Putting on and taking off snowshoes is difficult when you are standing in 3 feet of snow, so I just left them on all the time. Thus, I had to climb on and off the caboose, while wearing snowshoes. That was not easy, but the day was a lot of fun.











We have a short-hair border collie, 31 pounds of dynamic energy. She is 5 years old, but acts like a puppy. Wags her tail and greets everyone effusively. Her motto seems to be: "Stay a puppy as long as you can. People love, forgive, and give treats to puppies."

Here we are on our back porch.


Here, my daughter Julia and I participate in the annual "Silverton cemetary clean-up."



Written by Bill to Classmates in 2006

I retired from teaching math at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, after 42 years. I'm impressed I lasted that long.

This summer was my first summer as an employee of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.  I worked in the RR museum here in Durango.  In addition to "being on the clock" in the museum,  I also volunteer over the year for many special events: Railfest, Polar Express (we ride a steam train at night to the North Pole, which is closer to Durango than you might think), Pumpkin Patch Express (Charlie and Lucy preside over a Sincere Pumpkin Patch), and so forth.  It is great fun to meet so many train enthusiasts.  My particular area of expertise, such as it is, concerns the history of the railroad and how it has been used in movies.  If you have seen the current movie, Prestige, you'll have seen me on the train north of Durango.  {Well, actually, the shot is an aerial and you can not see anybody.   But, in April when the film crew was here I had fun.}  The movie itself is quite good.}

museum photo

I only work two days a week in the museum, and then only from first of May until the end of October.  So, it's about 15 hours per week.  During the winter I  have been volunteering to work on a large model railroad being built in the museum as well as working on other RR projects.  My fellow workers are very enjoyable, and so is the extra bit of cash.



Written to classmates in 1997:

Having taught at Carleton College and Colorado College, I have been in Durango for 24 years teaching at Fort Lewis College, which is Colorado's public liberal arts college. Married to Annette in 1967. My daughter, Julia, is a graduate student in French at Arizona State. I may retire someday, but I'm still having fun working and living in Durango. Drop by and say hello. I wish I could be with you but my nephew is getting married this weekend in New York. My regrets and my loss at not seeing all of you.


mountain man photo

Bill at leisure, ca. 1995.