Letters to the Editor
On July 25, Charleston lost a remarkable woman, Mary Loretto Croghan Ramsay.
Mrs. Ramsay understood the balances of life. Her faith, family and business all tied together to create a bigger than life, wonderful lifestyle which she never took for granted. Besides supporting the charities tied to her son George, who was born with Down syndrome, as well as her alma mater, the College of Charleston, Mrs. Ramsay focused her support on the local arts community.
From the very first Spoleto Festival USA to the Charleston Symphony to the Gibbes Museum of Art, she always made a point of knowing who the players were in each organization and their needs.
In a time of need (which with non-profits is generally always), her maneuvering and strategizing could be summed up as a cross between a Fortune 500 CEO and Dolly Levy. She was simply good at putting people together.
When interesting people moved to Charleston, one knew that they would be included in her entourage.
If a night owl, you might receive a late night call requesting that you entertain someone new to the city, along with why you should. Everyone knew that the outcome would probably be very interesting, so all followed direction, without question.
This lovely lady, with her always perfect hair, sizeable purse, exquisite jewelry, and not-so-good driving record continued these actions as a whirling dervish until just very recently.
Certainly not to be discounted were the jewels from her shop that appeared at every charity auction. Few fund-raisers in Charleston over the past 30 years have not featured an exquisite piece of jewelry from Croghan's Jewel Box, located on "Wonderful King Street," as her advertisements always proudly announced.
Thus, the phrase "Doing the Mary Ramsay" was coined. When one had three or more events to attend in one evening, as she often did, one knew they would bump into Mrs. Ramsay.
Always with wrapped hostess gifts in the trunk, she always had a plan for the evening. Unless there was a seated dinner involved, she knew that she could come, see the hosts, friends, introduce her entourage to new people and be on her way.
From her expansive home on Broad Street, Mrs. Ramsay entertained beautifully and was the quintessential Charleston hostess. She never concerned herself with the small details in entertaining, knowing that above all, being invited into someone's home was a gift from the beginning.
Within her church and family, Mary Ramsay will be greatly missed.
By leading through example, Mrs. Ramsay joyfully taught that living in such a great city and country has its price and that we all have to give back to continue the splendor.
It is an obligation and not a choice. For that lesson, I will be eternally grateful and hope that others will follow in her footsteps.