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Obits/Ramsey of MITES is dead at 67

William H. Ramsey of MITES is dead at 67

William H. Ramsey, a mentor and role model to hundreds of students as executive director of engineering special programs in the School of Engineering since 1988, died January 14 at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He was 67.

Dean Joel Moses of the School of Engineering said a memorial service will be held during the spring term.

"Bill was an alumnus, a colleague and a friend of whom we were all proud," Dean Moses said. "In his work, he was professional, straightforward and thorough. He brought to our students the benefit of many years of professional engineering and managerial experience. But we in the dean's office will remember him best for his sense of humor, his devotion to his family and his church, and his wonderful smile when the topic of St. Kitts came up." St. Kitts, where Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey had built a home, was where they planned to retire.

Mr. Ramsey was responsible for the administration of the MITES program-Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science-and the Engineering Internship Program (EIP) in which students combine academic programs and on-the-job experience.

MITES, now in its 21st year, annually brings to MIT each year 35 to 50 high school students between their junior and senior year who have an interest in studying science and engineering. The program received national news coverage last spring in the Wall Street Journal and, as a result, on ABC-TV's Nightline. The focus of the news coverage was a Washington, DC, student who realized his goal of being selected for the MITES program. As the MITES program drew to a close, the student was advised to further strengthen his academic tools before applying to MIT, and this was reported in a second Wall Street Journal article. The articles brought the program considerable public attention, both favorable and critical, and many letters and phone calls. Mr. Ramsey dealt with many of these, responding in his characteristically courteous, clear and calm manner.

MIT President Charles M. Vest said Mr. Ramsey was "a dedicated and effective leader of educational efforts" and a "very warm and caring mentor.

"Some 800 young men and women have benefited from the MITES program over the years. Many had the good fortune to be here during the Ramsey years," President Vest said. "Their success and contributions to society are Bill's legacy. It is very painful to realize that he will not have the pleasure of the retirement years that he was about to enter. His death is a tragic loss to our community."

In 1988, when his appointment in the School of Engineering was announced, Mr. Ramsey was quoted in Tech Talk as offering this advice to MITES students: "There are disciplines that you will learn in the sciences and engineering which will be valuable to you for the rest of your life no matter what you finally do in your professional work. This is a benefit which is not evident until you look back on what you have accomplished. Work hard, be diligent and this investment in your future will bring a positive return."

Diligence, hard work, honesty and fairness were traits his colleagues associated with Mr. Ramsey.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, he was a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School. He received the SB in electrical engineering in 1951.

He returned to the Institute in 1987 as an officer in the Industrial Liaison Office where he was responsible for research interactions between MIT and 18 computer and electric power companies in the United States and Europe.

Between graduation from MIT and his return to the Institute, Mr. Ramsey spent 20 years in military electronics as a circuit designer and systems engineer and manager and 15 years in management consulting and the vice presidency of Ault, Inc., an electronics firm in Minneapolis.

At the time of his death he was a board member of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He was a former president of the board of the City Mission Society in Boston. He was a resident of Newton.

Mr. Ramsey is survived by his wife, Charlotte M. (Finley) Ramsey, a teacher in the Brookline schools; a son, Marc S. of Palo Alto, CA; a daughter, Lynne Clark of Pittsburgh; a brother, Roland of Barbados; and a granddaughter.

A memorial service attended by about 300 people, many of them from MIT, was held January 19 at the Second Church in Newton/United Church of Christ, West Newton.

Robert E. Durland

Robert E. Durland, 66, retired manager of furnishings and furniture in the Office of Purchasing and Stores, died January 12, at his home in Sandwich. Mr. Durland worked at MIT from 1957 until his retirement at the end of 1987.

Mr. Durland was a past president of the National Association of Educational Buyers and also of its regional group.

He enjoyed target shooting and was the first civilian coach of MIT's pistol team as its jurisdiction was transferred from ROTC to the Athletic Department. A life member of the National Rifle Association, he was also a past member of the US Olympic Shooting Committee and a referee at the National Rifle and Pistol Championships.

Mr. Durland is survived by his wife Barbara A. (Bowes) Durland, retired assistant to the vice president and treasurer for information systems; two daughters, Lisa A. Durland of Rocky Hill, CT, and Lynne E. Sousa of Winchester, and three grandchildren. Remembrances may be sent to the Hospice of Cape Cod, 923 Route 6A, Yarmouthport, 02675, or to the charity of one's choice.

Elizabeth S. Massey

Elizabeth Simms Massey, 82, of Natick, died on November 16. Mrs. Massey was an elevator operator in Physical Plant from 1956 until her retirement in 1974. She is survived by three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Remembrances may be sent to the American Cancer Society.

William G. Pasquantonio

A funeral Mass was held January 24 for William G. Pasquantonio, 81, of East Boston, who died on January 19. Mr. Pasquantonio was a member of the service staff in Physical Plant from 1968 until his retirement in 1977.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis Saurino Pasquantonio; a daughter Jennie Papadopoulos of Greece; two grandchildren and a great-grandson. Remembrances may be sent to the charity of one's choice.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 25, 1995.

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