Over 40 years ago, Gail Fisher met Bob Ramsey in high school, and to use the proverbially trite expression, “It was love at first sight.” That love and their marriage presented them with challenges that few others have endured or even been able to imagine. In their case, marriage has been a true partnership in every respect.
Gail and Bob have been a remarkable couple throughout their marriage, engendering the awe and admiration of everyone who ever met them. Their first child, Robbie, was born with severe cerebral palsy, causing him to be unable to walk or speak, and necessitating his having constant personal care.
Gail and Bob, along with their two subsequent children, Kristina and Kellee, have met the challenges posed by Robbie’s condition with love and determination, thereby affording him the ability to experience a great quality of life, despite his affliction.
Bob is the owner and principal of Ramsey Masonry, building structures up and down the Northern Neck. At home during the day, Gail has managed both the paperwork of their business and the care of Robbie. In the evenings and at night, they have shared attending to Robbie. As their lives unfolded, they built an impressive routine based on their love for each other and for all of their children, and in recent years for their first grandchild.
Gail was the daughter of Franklin and Shirley Fisher of Kilmarnock, each of whom I have mentioned previously over the years in this column. Franklin has built much of the masonry construction in this area over the past 60 years, a tradition now carried on by his son, Garnett, as well as by Bob, his son-in-law. Shirley and I had the same shopping habits, always meeting Thursday mornings at Tri-Star where we caught up on each family’s news, until her passing 11 years ago.
For her part, Gail found her relaxation on the weekends. She liked to shop at estate sales and shops, in the course of which she made innumerable friends. On Saturdays, when Bob was at home with Robbie, she could be counted upon to be out and about for part of the day with one or both of her daughters and her friend, Heather. The girls’ marriages and the birth of her granddaughter brought new insight and purpose into her life.
As a conversationalist, Gail was a delight to know. She engaged everyone, always ready to share her views, recipes and news. As with her mother and father, when Gail was present. no one would have to worry about being bored. She made life interesting for others simply by being herself.
As a masonry contractor, Bob follows in the legacy of Franklin. He has a tremendous grasp of the construction industry, and his work is done to as near to perfection as is metaphysically feasible. Bob is to brick and mortar what a French chef is to a cheese soufflé, but unlike the soufflé, his work stands the test of time.
Earlier this month, the world of the Ramseys was shattered when Gail developed COVID-19, to which she succumbed after a week of struggling to survive to be with her family. Her sad passing has left Bob as Robbie’s sole in-home caregiver. She and Bob have been model parents, exemplary in their devotion to their family, particularly in giving Robbie the finest quality of life possible. They have engaged him as the focus of their daily course of living, always talking to him and making him secure in their love and devotion.
Gail came from loving parents, and she carried on that tradition in her own family admirably and selflessly. She was an inspiration to all of her friends to make the most of their own lives, and most of all to be grateful for every blessing that comes our way.
Gail Fisher Ramsey, May 4, 1962–April 10, 2021. R.I.P.