July 29, 1918 – March 7, 2019
Isabel (known to many as ‘Buddy’) was born in Britannia Mines, BC in 1918 and was the only child of Howard and Daisy Dawson who had emigrated to Canada from England a few years earlier. Her mother was a music teacher and her father a Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor at Britannia Mines, which was the largest copper mine in the British Empire at the time.
In 1920, when Isabel was two years old, the little Dawson family moved to Kaslo, BC where her father had employment with the Federal Government to survey the mountains in the Kaslo-Lardeau area as well as the Silverton and New Denver areas.
When Isabel was 13 years old, the family moved to Nelson as her father had accepted the position of City Engineer. Isabel resumed her education at the new Trafalgar Junior High where she made many life-long friendships and her nickname began also. After finishing grade 10 in Nelson, she was sent off to a private school on Vancouver Island, Strathcona Lodge School for Girls, completing grades 11 and 12 there. She then returned to Nelson High School for her senior matriculation year, grade 13. Upon graduating, Isabel attended the Nelson Business College after which she worked at the Provincial Assessors Office in Nelson. Prior to this job and while she was still attending school, she enjoyed working at the Capitol Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights as the Admissions Cashier at
the theatre’s main door entrance which was located on Ward St. at the time. The admission was 25 cents.
Isabel was a very athletic young woman and loved sports of every kind…swimming, skating, tennis, hockey, softball and badminton. But, it was the latter, badminton, where most of her trophies were won and also initiated her life-long path. In 1938, while playing in the badminton hall in the new Civic Centre, she met another very good player, Bill Ramsay, who just happened to be tall, dark and handsome. They soon fell in love and after a three year courtship were married in 1941 at Trinity United Church, now the Nelson United Church. They continued playing badminton winning many doubles competitions together.
In those days, regulations in Canada stated that no woman could become, or remain, an employee of the government once married so Isabel left the Assessors Office. However, since the Second World War was in progress and Bill had joined the RCAF, they were moved to Ontario where Bill was assigned to the Centralia AirforceBase. Their elder son, Tom, and elder daughter, Sheila, were born while in Ontario.
After the war, they returned to Nelson where two more children arrived, Elaine in 1946 and Bruce in 1956. Bill resumed work in the businesses he purchased before being interrupted by the war: Vogue Studio (photography and film developing) as well as Lena & Ramsay (photo-engraving). Buddy was able to work from home in the Vogue business by applying her artistic skills. She created coloured photographs by hand tinting and artfully brushing black and white photographs with transparent oils. Buddy was one of the first individuals in the area to do this. They established Ramsay’s Cameras on Baker Street in 1953 and a little later Buddy started and managed the art supplies division of Ramsay’s.
Isabel was now not only a very busy young mother of four and working in their business, she also led a very active community and social life. She was truly a woman ahead of her time. For many years she was involved with and/or held office in the PTA, the Capitol Theatre, United Church Women, Hospital Auxiliary, Silver King Ski Club, Rotary Club, Bridge Club, Golf Club and Tennis Club. She and Bill loved dancing as well…so there was the Silver Slipper Club, where dances were held regularly in the Silver Room of the Hume Hotel. Oh yes, there was also the Square Dancing Club!
After Buddy and Bill sold Ramsay’s Cameras and retired in 1971, they travelled the world …much was in conjunction with the Rotary Club. While Bill was a Rotary District Governor and also a President, Isabel always assisted him with the many responsibilities that came along with the positions. She was also very active and involved with the Rotarian counterparts (their wives), the Rotary Ann’s.
Isabel was a well known philanthropist donating generously over the years to many local groups and organizations in Nelson and the area.
Although Isabel lived a wonderful and amazing life, she was not untouched by grief. She was predeceased by two grandsons, Jason Martin in 1997 and lain Ramsay in 2012. Her beloved, Bill, also predeceased her in 2001 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years earlier.
Isabel is survived by her four loving children: Tom Ramsay (Sharon) of Calgary, Sheila Martin (Dave) of Nelson, Elaine Hagel (Ben) of Nelson, and Bruce Ramsay (Lisa) of Nelson.
Thirteen grandchildren: Christine Deyell (Stacyn) of Calgary, Heather Palaschuk (Andy) of Australia, Louise Lozie (Matt) of Kelowna, Margaret Kranenburg (Dylan) of Calgary, Staci Proctor (Greg) of Nelson, Ryan Martin (Lea) of Nelson, Leanne Hagel of Nelson, Dr. Jeff Hagel (Asia) of White Rock, Jennifer McLorie (Dave) of Nelson, Isabel Ramsay of Calgary, Fiona Ramsay (Wesley Ernst) of Calgary, Domenic & Marlowe Ramsay of Nelson.
Fifteen adoring great grandchildren (calling her GG): Joshua & Jacob Deyell, Anna, Lucas & Nathan Palaschuk, Evelyn & Fiona Lozie, Drake, Atlyn & Larson Proctor, Dawson & Ledger Martin, Ashton & Oakley Hagel, and Mara McLorie.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory to: Nelson United Church, 602 Silica St., V1L4N1 or Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation, 3 View St., V1L2V1
The family invites her many friends and acquaintances to a memorial service at Nelson United Church, May 11, 2019 at 11 am followed by a reception at the Hume Hotel.