Gordon Allen Ramey Sr., lifelong waterman

July 1, 2014

Gordon Allen Ramey Sr., 86, of Milton, went to be with his Lord and Savior Monday, June 30, 2014, after a year-and-a-half battle with cancer. As he began his eternal journey, he was surrounded by his family.

Born in Reedville, Va., Allen followed in the footsteps of his father and began a life-long career as a waterman, beginning as a young boy pound net fishing with his father. He later left home in his early teens for Norfolk, Va., where he continued his career on the water, this time working on smaller, harbor tugboats.

He was drafted Dec. 7, 1945, as a rifleman into the Army. He was honorably discharged in February, 1946, holding the rank of private. He was reassigned to the regular Army in February, 1946, as a scout, serving in Germany. He was honorably discharged July 25, 1947, as sergeant and received the Army of Occupation World War II Victory Medal for his service.

Allen moved to Delaware in the late '40s and continued working on the water, starting as a mate on the menhaden fishing boats in Lewes, working his way up to captain. Later he resumed his career working on tugboats and after years of working on smaller tugs, he began working on larger vessels, spending the bulk of his adult years in the position of captain on 110- and 120-foot tugs, navigating the East Coast waters. The last several years before his retirement was spent on the tug Challenger, working out of New York, N.Y., Philadelphia, Pa., Wilmington, various ports in New Jersey, Norfolk, Boston, Mass., and other locations. He retired in 1991 after having worked for MARITRANS (based out of Philadelphia) for 11 years.

Allen received his U.S. Coast Guard license as U.S. Merchant Marine Officer and was licensed to serve as master near coastal steam or motor vessels up to 500 gross tons. He was a member of the Seafarers’ International Union of North America. “Captain Allen,” as he was best known by his crew, was one of the best, and was often called upon when there was a tight harbor in which to pull or push one or more large barges in and out of. He ran a tight, organized ship and his crew respected him. Working on the water was his passion, and he was very good at what he did.

In the last several years, Allen enjoyed serving his church family at Old Paths Church of Christ where he enjoyed his role serving as a greeter. Being a people person most of his life, this was a perfect way for him to serve. Allen never new a stranger and was quick to make everyone feel welcome. He publicly committed his life to the Lord April 15, 2008, when he was baptized by his pastor. This personal decision brought him great joy, and he became a new man, now living his life for Christ.

Surviving Allen is his caring and loving wife of five years, Sandy of Milton; as well as his sons, Gordon Ramey Jr. of Bridgeville, and his wife Karen, and Scott Ramey of Charleston, S.C., and his wife Pat; his daughter, Susan Bell of Lancaster, Pa., and her husband, Greg; his nephew, Roy Bowman of Washington state, whom he raised as his own son; seven grandsons; two granddaughters; two great-grandsons; one great-granddaughter; and one great-granddaughter to arrive in September. He was preceded in death by his devoted and loving wife of 51 years and mother to their five children, Dorothy Rogers Ramey, who passed away in 2001; his daughter, Katie Mulvaney; and his son, Steve Ramey, both who passed away just over a year-and-a-half ago.

Friends are invited to join the family at a homecoming celebration service in honor of Allen. Services will be held Thursday, July 3, at Old Paths Church of Christ, 18246 Reddin Road in Georgetown. The viewing will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. The funeral service will be from 11 a.m. until noon.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Milford, 20103 Professional Park Blvd., South Building, Georgetown, DE 19947. Burial will be a private family time and will follow immediately after a time of food and fellowship at the church.