Archive for the ‘Ramsell’ Category

celtic tree of life

My father, John Weston Ramsell, was born 18 September 1932 in Los Angeles, California. He was the youngest of five children born to Grover Weston Ramsell (1884-1949) and Annette Marie Misner (1884-1967). He passed away 7 November 1970 in Alhambra, California, at age 38.

This coming Wednesday is the anniversary of what would have been his 81st birthday.

As I’ve stated previously, I don’t have many memories of my father since he died when I was so young. What I do have, are a few pictures, vital records and memorabilia, that document his all too brief life in this world.

My father was born into what  would have then been considered a relatively small, Irish Catholic family.

This first document is his certificate of baptism, which was performed on 9 October 1932, at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Hollywood, California.

John Weston Ramsell Baptismal Certificate 1932Dad’s Baptismal Certificate, 9 October 1932

My father’s maternal uncle, Paul Bergan Misner, was a Bishop in the Catholic church.  He spent many years serving in that capacity at a mission in China. The following is a transcript of a letter written by him to my father on the occasion of his birth. From the content of this letter I’m guessing my dad was a rather large baby. I absolutely love his uncle Paul’s sense of humor. =)

Catholic Mission
Linshwan, Kia nagi, China
24 October 1932

Dear Sir:

I have just received a long distance introduction to you, and I hasten to write, in order that we may become better acquainted.

According to the various descriptons furnished me, I cannot quite make out whether you are contemplating the acquisition of the heavyweight pugilistic championship of the world, the comissionership of police in Los Angeles, or the succession to Al Capone’s throne. Each of these has its advantages, from a material standpoint, but the outlook for the repeal of Prohibition Law, seems to make the last the least desirable of all.

I have known your father and mother for a few years, and if you inherit any of her characteristics, the heavyweight championship should be of easy acquisition. With your father’s coaching, you should soon be able to take all comers. As a first tryout, I would suggest a bout with Irene. (Dad’s sister who was age 4) If you can hold your own with her, there should be some promise. Then try Jean (Dad’s other sister who was age 6 ) but even if you do seem to have a little success in the first encounter, insist on a return bout, as she is an in-and-out fighter, and perhaps on the first occasion she may not feel like fighting, and so you can tell nothing from the results of the first fight. Once that obstacle is passed, you can try the harder succession of Ruth (another sister age 8) and Roy. (Dad’s only brother, age 9) If you can vanquish them, your future is assured. Let it be a fair fight and no quarter.

Your mother and father may try to interfere with your laudable ambition to conquer, but don’t let that disturb you. Keep a stiff upper lip, and go your way undisturbed. Little by little, all opposition will be overcome.

Give my regards to your parents, and tell them that I am backing you with my fortune as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Your uncle,


Reverend Paul Bergan MisnerReverend Paul Bergan Misner c 1930

John Weston Ramsell Letter from his Uncle Paul Bergan Misner at his birthA letter written to John Weston Ramsell on the occasion of his birth from his uncle, Paul Bergan Misner, on 24 October 1932.

This next photo is of my dad and his father, Grover Weston Ramsell taken around 1938. My grandfather, who went by “Wes”, died in June of 1949, two months before my dad’s 17th birthday. It is the only picture I’ve ever seen of my grandfather Ramsell.

Grover Weston Ramsell & John Weston Ramsell c 1938John Weston Ramsell with his father, Wes Ramsell c 1938
(Photo courtesy of Jean Ramsell Brandenburg)

John Weston Ramsell c 1944John Weston Ramsell c 1944
(Photo courtesy of Jean Ramsell Brandenburg)

John Weston Ramsell c1948John Weston Ramsell c 1948
(Photo courtesy of Jean Ramsell Brandenburg)

John Weston Ramsell High School Diploma, Alhambra HS, Alhambra, CaliforniaJohn Weston Ramsell, High School Diploma, Alhambra High School
14 June 1951

Dad entered the military on 9 January 1952, as part of the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was honorably discharged 16 May 1953. He served as a First Aid Attendant at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Corona, California. Dad’s physical description is listed as: blonde hair, blue eyes 71″ tall (5′ 11″) and he weighed 160 lbs.

John Weston Ramsell U.S. Navy CertJohn W. Ramsell Certificate of Course Completion for Naval Reserves
14 April 1951

John Weston Ramsell Military Service Separation Papers 1953Report of Separation from the Armed Forces of the United States Department of U.S.Navy

John Weston Ramsell c1953John Weston Ramsell c 1953

My parents met at the doughnut shop where my mother worked as a cashier. They were married on 14 March 1957 in Pasadena, California.

John Weston Ramsell & Beverly Barrett Marriage CertificateJohn Weston Ramsell & Beverly Jean Barrett Smith,  Marriage Certificate

This picture was taken in Alhambra, California, at the home of my maternal grandparents, Charles and Edith Barrett.

Beverly Jean Barrett & John Weston Ramsell c1960  Beverly Jean Barrett & John Weston Ramsell c 1960

John Weston Ramsell c1970John Weston Ramsell  c 1969

 My father worked as an assistant manager at the Sav-On Drug Store located at Valley Boulevard and New Avenue in Alhambra, California, from 1964 until his death in 1970. My parents divorced when I was about 4, and while my older siblings went to live with my father, I stayed behind and lived with my mother. I didn’t get to see my dad very often, so my uncle would occasionally take me to visit him at work when he was on a break.

One Sunday evening, while I was visiting my dad at work, a fire had broken out in the stock room upstairs at the store.  While attempting to extinguish the fire before it spread to the rest of the building, my father lost his life.

It’s funny the things you remember when something like that happens. I remember I had been sitting at a table, playing with the paper dolls my dad had just bought for me,  eating an ice cream cone. Then I remember fire alarms going off and my dad hustling me outside and telling me to wait for him “right here” on the sidewalk in front of the store, and promising me he’d “be right back.” But he never made it.

There were huge plate glass windows all across the front of the store and all I could see when I looked through them was gray smoke from floor to ceiling. Then there were fire fighters and fire trucks with flashing lights everywhere, and so much water and even more smoke. I remember how kind the fire fighters were that night to a terrified six year old girl, and their continued kindness to my family in the weeks and months that followed.

The following article appeared in the Alhambra Post Advocate Newspaper around 10 November 1970.


Monterey Park

Firemen in two cities are helping see to it that the children of a Monterey Park man, who was killed while fighting a fire in Alhambra last week, will have a chance to go to college.

The fire victim, John Ramsell, 38, of 920 East Newmark Ave., was assistant manager at the Sav-on drug store 1485 E. Valley Blvd. He died from smoke inhalation while trying to extinguish a fire which resulted in some $25,000 damage there Nov 8.

The fund drive is being spearheaded by Sav-on’s area ___ office in Marina Del Ray, and the Alhambra and Monterey Park Firemen’s Association, to help assure the children of a college education. Contributions to this fund can be made at any fire station in Alhambra or Monterey Park or at the Alhambra Sav-on Drug Store.

In addition, the women’s auxiliary of the Alhambra Firemen’s Association, is planning a “Christmas Cheer Basket” sale. Tickets are available at $1 each from the Alhambra headquarters fire station, 301 N. First St., or from Mrs. Ralph Caputo 448-7276, or Mrs. Robert Childers, 448-4392. All proceeds from the sale go to the Ramsell fund, an auxiliary explained.

A fire official said, to his recollection, Mr. Ramsell is the first non-fireman to give his life while fighting a fire in Alhambra.

The Ramsells were married in June of 1969. They have been active in the Monterey Park Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Ramsell was a life long resident of the San Gabriel Valley. As a youth he worked at what was then the Kennedy Pharmacy in Alhambra. He was graduated from Alhambra High School and later served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps.

He had been employed by Sav-on for the past six years, and was at the Alhambra store all that time.

John Weston Ramsell Newspaper Article about his death 1970These news paper articles appeared in the Alhambra Post Advocate Newspaper in November of 1970, regarding my father’s death.

I wasn’t allowed to attend my fathers funeral because my mother felt I was too young to handle it. I had never even been to visit my  father’s grave-site until a few years ago. Being there turned out to be an incredibly emotional experience for me. He  had been dead for over 30  years, but kneeling  at his grave that very first  time, it felt to me as if it had just happened, and I couldn’t stop crying.

John Weston Ramsell Gravestone Whittier, CaliforniaJohn Weston Ramsell grave marker at Rose Hills Cemetery in Whittier, California.
(Photo courtesy of Louis Mata)

Read Full Post »

Paul Weston Ramsell 1957-2004

celtic tree of life heart

My brother, Paul Weston Ramsell, was born 24 January 1957, in Los Angeles, California. He died 7 September 2004, in Monroe, Pennsylvania.  Yesterday marked the 9th anniversary of his passing. He is greatly missed.

090813_1401_PaulWestonR1.jpgPaul W. Ramsell
c 1961

Ramsell, Paul Weston 1976Paul W. Ramsell
1975, Baldwin Park, California

1975, South Carolina, Columbia Mission

Ramsell, Paul and Jeannette, Frances Wedding AnnouncementPaul & Fran Ramsell
6 April 1978, Los Angeles, California

Pauline&FranPaul & Frannie
(The beautiful long red hair belongs to our niece, Larisa Ramsell, who is hiding behind Paul in this photo, =))

Ramsell, James Weston, Ron, Ramsell, Paul WestonPaul with his sons, James & Ron

Paul & Jeannie Aug 2004Paul & me at our nephew Bodie’s wedding
21 August 2004, St. George, Utah

Read Full Post »

celtic tree of life heart

My son Cody recently asked me to send him some genealogical information about my father, John Weston Ramsell, and my maternal grandfather, Charles McWhirter Barrett. While I have a lot of vital information about each of these men, I know very little about them on a personal level.

My father died when I was 6, so I don’t have many memories of him. The ones I do have are random in nature. For example, I remember he always wore highly polished, black, wing tip dress shoes, and his slacks were always a bit too short, so I could always see his socks peeking out from underneath the hem. He was a chain smoker and was rarely without a cigarette in his hand. He absolutely loved Star Trek and the music of Nat King Cole. My parents split when I was around 3 and I lived with my mother. On the weekends, when daddy would come to visit me, he would always take me to Winchell’s to get doughnuts. I blame my deep and abiding love for them on him.

Today I came across an online digital copy of my parent’s marriage certificate which I had never seen before. I recognized my mother’s handwriting immediately when I saw her signature. I’d never seen my father’s handwriting or signature on anything before. I noticed that the letters in his name seemed to slant to the left a little bit, so I wondered if maybe dad had been left handed.


John Weston Ramsell Signature Marriage License14 March 1957, Pasadena, California

I sent a mass text to my older siblings, asking if that were the case, and these are the responses I got from two of them.


John: “He was until the nuns (my dad went to Catholic school) made him switch from the “sinister” hand. That’s the lore anyway.” John explained that the word sinister is Latin in origin, and means on the left side, and is considered unlucky or ill-boding.…good to know.

John Weston Ramsell, Class photo c1940Dad c 1940 Class Picture

Annie: “He was but they (the nuns) made him change to the right hand, and he became ambidextrous. That’s the story I was told. Interestingly enough, Meegan (Annie’s oldest daughter) has his nose and she is left handed AND she was born on his birthday.”Meegan and Grandpa Ramsell2Meegan Abrahamson 2006 & John Weston Ramsell c 1960

So…my dad was left handed. Huh. And for some unknown reason, learning this new piece of personal information about him has me feeling ridiculously, but also in a wonderful way, emotional. I miss you Dad:)



Read Full Post »

Thomas/Krueger Ancestry

Family history for the Thomas and Krueger Families

Yellow Rose Productions

Where creativity is only the beginning

Hearts of the Fathers

Prepare thyself to search their fathers....shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their hearts? Job 8:8-10

Aileen Rose

Prepare thyself to search their fathers....shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their hearts? Job 8:8-10