Dave Ramback dies at 43

  • Jana Hill<br>Mill Creek Enterprise editor
  • Thursday, February 21, 2008 12:05pm

Dave Ramback gave a lot to many in his 43 years.

Ramback was described by friends and family as a gracious, level-headed, generous man who was always looking for ways to make things better.

He had many friends in the Mill Creek community and served as a mentor to hundreds of local youth in his work as a coach. He was past president of the Mill Creek Business Association, and publisher of the Mill Creek Magazine.

Ramback died of heart disease at 8:45 a.m. Nov. 13 at Stevens Hospital after collapsing at home. Services were 3 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 19 at North Creek Presbyterian Church, 621 164th St. SE, Mill Creek.

Ramback leaves behind a wife, Sue, and two children, Jessica, a freshman at Jackson High School and Jason, a junior at Archbishop Murphy High School.

Asked if Ramback knew he had heart disease, his wife, Sue, said “No, he didn’t know. We had no idea, so that was a shock.”

All were shocked that the 43-year-old family man, who was apparently in good health, died at such a young age.

“He had never complained of chest pains in the past,” said Charlie Gibbons, local business owner and one of the founders of the Mill Creek Business Association, where Ramback was president for a year.

Gibbons used to have hot toddies with Ramback every Saturday. The two would talk about Mill Creek and what they could do to improve it.

“Everything good that has happened in this community, if Dave wasn’t in the lead, he was behind it, giving it a push,” said Mill Creek Police Chief Bob Crannell.

Sue Ramback was supportive of a story being written about her husband, but said it was too hard to talk about it right now. She deferred questions about him to her sister, Karen Carratt.

“We were just reminded these last couple of days how many people knew Dave and were touched by Dave,” Carratt said.

When news of his death filtered through the Mill Creek community, the family received many calls and visits.

Ramback coached soccer, as well as many other sports. He also seemed to have a hand in every community project Mill Creek has undertaken in recent years.

“He was a very giving person and he would do whatever he could do to help people,” Carratt said.

Mill Creek Mayor Terry Ryan remembers Ramback as “a nice person, kind-hearted, hard worker, always looking (for ways to) benefit someone else and never asking for anything in return.”

“He was the guy that would stand in the back and would get things done, and he’d let anybody else get the credit,” said Mark Bond, a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and close friend of Ramback’s. “It wasn’t about the glory. He just did it because it was the right thing to do.”

Many remember Ramback taking the lead in a 1999 fundraising effort when the city’s DARE program was in jeopardy.

Ralph Ripley, a longtime friend and business associate of Ramback’s, remembers when Ramback asked him and his wife to help fund the DARE program years ago.

When asked what he would like people to remember about his friend of 13 years, Ripley said he “was probably the nicest, fairest business associate that I’ve ever dealt with, and that he always kept his family and work in perspective. He was a wonderful family man. He’s going to be missed.”

Ramback was in touch with many in the Mill Creek business community, always making sure new businesses were announced in his magazine. His treatment of business colleagues matched the way he treated his friends.

“… I never heard him say a negative thing towards a competitor. He always seemed to have a nice thing to say about anyone,” Ripley said.

Ramback had worked with everyone within city government, Crannell said, and was considered a friend by many.

When asked how people at the city were taking the news, Mill Creek city manager Bob Stowe said, “Our thoughts and support and prayers go to his family. But I think we’re still in shock that Dave is no longer with us.”

Mayor Ryan worked next door to Ramback’s office for many years, and got to know him from conversations they had when the two would take short breaks on long workdays.

“My heart sinks when I think of what his wife and children are going through,” Ryan said. “He adored his family.”

As coach for many of Mill Creek’s athletes, Ramback took great pride in the teams he oversaw.

“He was extremely plugged in to coaching youth athletics,” Bond said. When he would talk about a success in coaching with his daughter Jessica’s team, Bond said he’d always refer to the team as “my girls.”

“All kids loved him. He was an outstanding coach. The kids liked him so much they didn’t want to disappoint him,” Bond said.

Carratt said Archbishop Murphy High School let about 25 kids go home the day Ramback died.

Kim Hylton, a Silver Firs resident, said Ramback coached her daughter in soccer. Soccer season pretty much runs year-round, she said, so the kids had contact with Ramback three times a week — twice for practice and once for games.

“He was an awesome coach,” Hylton said. “He made it fun for the girls. He brought them to a higher level.”

She said he never put the girls down, but always got them to work hard. Hylton also considered herself a friend of Ramback’s, and said she was devastated when she heard he had died.

“Everyone liked him,” Hylton said. “Everyone felt like they were his best friend.”

As a friend, Ramback was known for giving the kind of advice that made things better. Bond said Ramback’s advice was always valuable. He was successful at building relationships and avoiding confrontation, while at the same time getting people to see things his way.

“When me and my wife hit little hurdles, I could go to Dave,” Bond said. “I could walk away from that and be a better spouse to my wife and be a better father for my children. And he was like that for a lot of people. … I looked forward to leaning on him more.”

“He was the most genuine, nice person I have ever known in my life. He was a true gentleman,” said Liz Spell, assistant to Terry Ryan at the Press Corps in Mill Creek, Ryan’s business.

After Ramback’s death, when detective Chris White asked where she should start calling to deliver the news, Crannell said, “open the phone book and start with the A’s because that guy knows everyone.”

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