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Carol Elizabeth (Kuhlman) Ramey, 84

February 22, 2013

Carol Elizabeth (Kuhlman) Ramey, 84, of Akron, passed away peacefully on Feb. 20, 2013, after a courageous three-month battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Carol was born on July 29, 1928, at home in New Knoxville, the daughter of Reinhart W. and Dorothy (Kuhlmann) Kuhlman.

She is survived by her husband of 62 years, John Henry Ramey. When they were first married, they moved into Chicago Commons settlement house near the Loop in Chicago. They then lived in Hartford, Conn., returned to Chicago for 11 years, and lived in Cincinnati, for four years before moving to Akron.

Music was an important and central part of Carol’s life. Following her early education in New Knoxville, where her father was a teacher and Superintendent of Schools, she graduated from Wapakoneta High School. Beginning at age 14 and through high school, she was the organist at English Lutheran Church in Wapakoneta. She received her Bachelor of Music with a specialty in organ performance from Ohio State University, where she was the first student of Wilbur Held, noted organist and composer. In Chicago she served as Director of Music at University Church (Disciples of Christ) and in Akron as Interim Director of Music and Organist at Westminster Presbyterian Church. One of the highlights of her tenure as Interim Director was creating special programs to celebrate the nation’s Bicentennial, including music of William Billings on her personal reed pump organ. She was also substitute organist at many area churches including interim organist at Suffield United Church of Christ and Bethany United Church of Christ. Throughout the years, she played the organ at many weddings and funerals, including funerals at Billow Fairlawn Chapel, where friends may call for her own passing. For more than two decades, Carol played Christmas carols on the piano at the Holiday Exhibit Preview Party at Hower House.

For many years, Carol served as Administrative Assistant to John in his role as General Secretary of the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups. They worked as a team for this International Professional Organization on conferences, membership, and editing the newsletter and other Association publications. Through this work, their network of friends and colleagues stretched around the world. Carol was a lifetime member of the American Guild of Organists. She served as President of the University of Akron Faculty Women’s Club and Chair of the Newcomers Committee. In the music fraternity Delta Omicron-Zeta Omicron, she served as both President and Secretary. During her 43 years as a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, she sang in the choir and served on three committees: Search Committee for Director of Music, Organ Rebuilding Committee, and Five at Five Concert Committee. Her social calendar regularly surpassed those of her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed concerts in Akron and Cleveland, played bridge, tended her network of friends by communicating through emails and attaching digital photos, and knitted many hats, preemie hats, sweaters, and afghans.

Carol is also survived by her daughters, Janet Szilagyi (Imre) and Susan Ramey, both of Kingwood, West Virginia; and grandchildren, Erzsi Szilagyi of Stanford, California, Kristina Szilagyi of Baltimore, Md., and Lydia and Jeremy Darrow of Kingwood, West Virginia; brother- and sister-in-law, Ralph E. and Jean Ramey of Federal Way, Washington, and sister-in-law, Margaret (Peg) Harshfield of Norcross, Georgia.

Carol was preceded in death by her sister and brother-in-law, Melba (Kuhlman) and Charles E. Westervelt of Westerville, and brother-in-law Stanley W. Harshfield of Norcross, Ga.

Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at Billow Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road, Akron. A celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1250 W. Exchange Street, Akron, the Rev. Derek Starr Redwine, officiating and organist Jim Mismas. Internment will be at Pilgar Ruhe Cemetery in New Knoxville, Ohio, at 1 p.m. Sunday, the Rev. Bruce Ervin, officiating.

The family would like to thank her physicians, Dr. Grenville Machado and Dr. Esther Rehmus, and the staffs of Akron General Hospital and Visiting Nurse Hospice and Palliative Care for their wonderful care.

We will sorely miss our beautiful, gracious, strong, and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. Thank you, Carol, for your wonderful life. Rest in peace.

Memorial gifts may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church Five at Five Fund, 1250 W. Exchange St., Akron, OH, 44313; Zeta Omicron of Delta Omicron Scholarship Fund, c/o Michelle Worthing, President, 3538 Dayton Avenue, Kent, OH  44240; Akron Chapter American Guild of Organists Scholarship Fund c/o Rex Roseman, Treasurer, 112 Westover Dr., Akron OH 44313-7767; or Visiting Nurse Service Hospice and Palliative Care, 3358 Ridgewood Road, Akron, OH 44333. (Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 330-867-4141)

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