Former County Mayor and Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey has died after a recent illness.
Mr. Ramsey held a number of top government posts after leaving his strawberry farm at Harrison and going into politics.
He was a major factor in the development of the Enterprise South Industrial Park and landing Volkswagen as its main tenant.
He served in the state legislature and was on the first County Commission. He later served as county assessor of property.
Mr. Ramsey won election to county mayor after Dalton Roberts decided not to run for a new term.
He left that post when Governor Bill Haslam asked him to be his deputy governor.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Bayside Baptist with Pastor Rheubin Tayor officiating.
The family will receive friends prior to service from 12-2 p.m. A private family graveside will be held at Hamilton Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the American Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org or the Erlanger Children’s Hospital at 910 Blackford St, Chattanooga, TN 37403.
The family will receive friends from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.
Current County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, "Hamilton County has suffered a tremendous loss this morning with the passing of Claude Ramsey.
"Claude was a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly on behalf of the citizens of Hamilton County. As a member of Hamilton County’s first Commission, as Assessor and as Hamilton County Executive and Mayor, Claude Ramsey had the best interests of the people of this community in his heart.
"Claude worked tirelessly to improve education and was at the forefront of making Hamilton County a manufacturing center again.
"I greatly appreciate the assistance Claude gave to me, first as a commissioner and then as Hamilton County’s Mayor, Claude made my transition easy when he went to Nashville to serve as Governor Haslam’s Deputy Governor.
"We will miss his wisdom, insight, kindness, humor and most of all friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with Jan, his children and their grandchildren."
City Mayor Andy Berke said, "Claude Ramsey made economic development and education our priorities and put practicality over partisanship. Even as they mourn him, I know his family will be proud of his legacy."
Former City Mayor Ron Littlefield said, "Claude Ramsey was my friend and coworker in government for decades. When opportunity knocked for significant economic gains during our respective terms as mayors, I could not have asked for a better partner. With the support of long term staff at the city and county, we were able to work together seamlessly. He was a man of true integrity and reliability, a great traveling companion and keeper of a rare wit and wisdom. I shall miss him like a member of my own family."
Senator Bob Corker said, “Dedicated, prudent, humble, and wise. These are the leadership qualities with which Claude Ramsey led our county,” said Corker. “When I was elected mayor of Chattanooga, I had the privilege of becoming his partner, particularly as it related to economic development. During that time, I especially loved our early morning phone calls to discuss how to execute our community’s shared vision. I spoke with him again by phone last Thursday and shared with him not only what an honor it was to work with him over the years but also how grateful I have been to call him a true friend. My heart goes out to Jan and the entire Ramsey family during this difficult time.”
Senator Lamar Alexander said, “Claude Ramsey’s vision and leadership were crucial to bringing Volkswagen to Chattanooga. His strong character and sense of purpose served as a model for the rest of us in public life. Honey and I send to Jan and to their family our sympathy and respect for a life well lived.”
Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and mentor Claude Ramsey. Across the state, Claude was known as a true civil servant beginning his career in 1972 when he was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly, to his incredible service to Tennessee’s Third District as mayor of Hamilton County among other roles, and statewide as deputy to the governor. Claude was instrumental in the promotion of business in Tennessee using his expertise to form local, state, and federal partnerships that will continue to benefit our great state for years to come. It was an honor and a pleasure to know Claude Ramsey, and there is no doubt that he will be missed dearly by many. I send my condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Volkswagen Chattanooga officials said, "We were saddened to learn of the loss of our friend Claude Ramsey. Claude was one of our first friends in Tennessee. He was instrumental in bringing Volkswagen to Chattanooga and we considered him to be a part of our team. On behalf of the Volkswagen Chattanooga family, we’d like extend our sincere condolences to the Ramsey family during this difficult time."