A memorial service for longtime Ramona resident Robert “Bob” Ransom will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, in Ramona First Congregational Church, 404 Eighth St. He was 91.
Ransom died on July 16 in Morro Bay. For the past 10 years, he and his wife, Virginia Hanigan Ransom, have split their time between Ramona and Morro Bay and have been active in both communities.
A private family burial service will be held at Ramona Nuevo Memory Gardens.
A Ramona Rotarian since 1948, Ransom celebrated his 91st birthday in April at the Rotary Club’s 75th anniversary party, where it was noted that he had had perfect meeting attendance for 63 years. He served as president of the Ramona Rotary Club from 1962-63.
Ransom and his family moved to Ramona from Atkinson, Ill., in 1924 when he was 3 years old. When his mother stepped out of the car to find a 6-foot rattlesnake coiled nearby, she said, “Let’s go back to Illinois,” he once recalled.
The family purchased a lumber and hardware business on B Street from John C. Bargar
and called it Ransom Bros. Lumber & Supply Co.
He graduated from Ramon High School in 1939 with a class of 28 students. Although he qualified for Old Pacific Padres, he declined an invitation to their training team, and went to aircraft school. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942, spending most of his time repairing fighter jets.
After serving in the Navy, Ransom joined the family business as part owner with his uncles, Stan and Pete, and his cousin, Joe Ransom, and stayed there until his retirement in 1985. His father, Robert Ransom, died in 1948.
During retirement, Ransom and his first wife, Ona, traveled across the country in their motor home. When Ona died in 1999, he continued to travel to California’s central coast and stayed in Morro Bay where, according to family, he was reunited with fellow Ramona High School graduate Virginia Elliot Hanigan. They married in 2001.
Ransom has three daughters who live in Ramona: Ona Rae Belzner, Ruth (David) Keyser, and Mary (Roy) Cordaro, and a daughter, Ann (George) Alcaraz, who lives in Yuma, Ariz.
In an April 28, 2011 Sentinel article, after he turned 90 years old, Ransom recalled his childhood days in 1930s Ramona:
“When I think back on my early days before all of this fancy electronic stuff and
everything, I just can’t believe how much fun I had,” he said.
“We made our own entertainment, because there wasn’t any,” Virginia said.
He recalled building rafts out of lumber he and his friends would drag across open fields, saying they would raft down Etcheverry Creek.
Ransom was an athlete in high school, winning the Roques trophy. That was always the big trophy, donated by George Roques, who owned the Kenilworth Inn, Virginia said. He was awarded the trophy for his sportsmanship in basketball, his citizenship—everything but academics, she joked.
In the article, Virginia said there are no errors with Bob.
“What you see is what you get. He is honorable, honest. He’s worked hard all his life. You’ll never find a more honest man, anywhere,” she said.