Obituary of Christopher Ramsdell
Christopher Charles Ramsdell was born on April 27, 1956, in Belfast, ME, a child of the sea and the spring, who cared little for the cold of the north winters, and who always sought the sun, the sea and the sky. He possessed a boundless curiosity and quiet certitude that he knew where he belonged and further, that he would always know, when it was revealed, exactly how he was going to get there. He left this life, on his own terms, fearlessly and with profound peace, on a beautiful spring evening, April 21, 2019, in St. Petersburg, FL, with his beloved sweetheart at his side, to return to that same sea and sky that brought him so much joy. In between his coming and going, he travelled many paths, and spent his life seeking, not always what may have defined him, but rather that which he ultimately came to define. He was honest, unwavering, grounded. He was a big uncontrollable dog’s perfect alpha male, who also loved to feed squirrels and watch birds and pet an old cat. He was quiet but not silent, with humor that ranged from corny to crazy, the smartest guy in the room, who held a belief in the value of self-help and hard work, who never began a task without a plan, who was willing to share what he knew and willing to learn what he didn’t. He was Captain Chris and Young Ja, a kick ass sailor with a yacht that was always bristol at sunset; he was Chuck, a biker who rode a badass hardtail panhead that could leave baby rocket riders in it’s exhaust, and later just Chris, on an old 45 that took way too many kicks to start till he got hold of it, and who could fix or rebuild any classic American motorcycle. He was an old hippie, a lover of air cooled engines and a renovator of many VW busses; a skilled tradesman, master auto, marine and bike mechanic, a trusted and skilled airplane mechanic, superb yachtsman and well respected marine surveyor. He leaves a simple legacy of grace, honor, humor, love and courage. His was a life well lived. He made do when he had to. He accepted what he had to. Every landing he walked away from was a success, and every day well lived was gravy. He never asked “why me,” instead, he asked only, “please help me do it my way.” For those of us who had the honor to do so, we will miss his presence and his spirit, and we hope that he is making his way down island where the trades will carry him gently on soft seas till we meet again.
He lived a full life: He was a veteran of the US Navy in the mid-70’s and served as a sonar tech aboard the USS WS Sims; after his return to, and throughout the 80’s in Florida, he obtained his A&P License at National Aviation Academy and advanced to become an Inspector at Air International in St. Pete; obtained his captain’s license and sailed a Stiletto off Clearwater Beach, then ran bareboat and captained charters and a sailing school at Marco Island Yacht Charters for many years; then went sailing aboard his own boat, and finally, after cruising in the islands and the Keys, returned to St. Pete, where he established Accurate Marine Surveying, Inc., as a Certified Marine Surveyor, with a reputation for honesty, integrity and a level of skill and knowledge not always readily accessible in his chosen field. He was damn good at it. He had a special love for wooden boats. He camped, he hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail, he built and flew RC airplanes-very well, of course; he captained many a Friday night “booze cruise” with friends from JSI and Gandy Bridge Marina aboard the St. Somewhere; he loved Hawaiian shirts, good rum, good jokes, good friends. He simply was good at everything. He always had a plan. He believed.
Somewhere along the way, he met his soul mate, Leslie. They married in 1979, and often shared their favorite description of their long married life: “it only seems like five minutes… underwater.” She survives, misses, loves, remembers and honors him, as do his sisters Jennifer Leigh and Heather Arias, his nephew Jamie Leigh, niece Katherine Leigh and nephew John Board, his cousin Cathy Ramsdell, as well as his dearly loved chosen brother, Peter Browne, and his lifelong friend, John Hallbourg. His mom and dad, Frances Ralston and Robert Ramsdell, as well as his Uncle Sonny, and Aunts Charlene, Minnie and Myra welcomed him home as did friends and other family whom he loved and loved him. He had many little loves: Sweetie Pie, Wicked Pete, Buster, Chester, Opal, Tennessee, Little Bear, Snagglepuss, Notchmo, Max and Pokey and his little Inky who all brought much joy into his life. He leaves many friends who carry special memories of him both jubilant and quiet.
His wishes were not for flowers or tears, but for respect and support for the good servants of the ACLU, the Pinellas Humane Society, Friends of Strays and Doctors Without Borders, and he asked for a remembrance to any of these organizations if you desire to do so. A celebration of his life will take place in St. Petersburg in July. Plans have not yet been finalized. His family will advise friends shortly so they can join and share a memory and send a lantern into the sky in his honor at that time. We could, maybe, cry a little. He would understand. In the interim, please have 15 minutes of fun today in his name. Make a plan. Pet your dog. Kiss your wife. Laugh. Remember your promises to yourself. Accept someone you love on their terms. Plot a course and stick to it, and if you must, accommodate the wind and weather till you arrive at your destination. Live.