Those sparkling blue eyes and occasional devilish grin belies the age of this centenarian. A full time resident of New Suffolk for over 60 years, Mr. Vaughan Ramsey will celebrate his 100th birthday on May 19th 2014.
Vaughan's early years were spent in Atlanta, Georgia. During his childhood he watched his mother "Be the life of the party" because of her piano skills. This must have planted a seed! By the age of 8, Vaughan's desire and determination to make music led to the creation of his first organ. Using various household treasures and enormous creativity some rather unusual strains of "music" were heard by Mom's bridge ladies upstairs. The attention he received was rewarding and so a life long career was launched. A fascination with writing and arranging organ music was trumped by understanding the mechanics of every type of organ----pipe, bellow, echo.
This early dedication paid off handsomely when Mr. Ramsey was awarded a full scholarship to the very prestigious Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Years of training, natural ability and insatiable curiosity evolved into positions as head organist and choir director in several Manhattan churches and synagogues. All the while building, repairing and upgrading the mammoth organs, some the size of small homes, which he loved.
The lure of a quieter lifestyle brought Mr. Ramsey and family to New Suffolk. Not caring to be idle, Vaughan quickly became the organist for the 1st Presbyterian Church of Southold from 1975-1997. During his time at1st Presbyterian, in 1982, Mrs. Ramsey passed away. In honor of his wife Vaughan decided to build a new pipe organ for the church. The congregants of today are still listening to the beautiful masterpiece every Sunday. The 1st United Universalist Church of Southold was also fortunate to have this talented gentleman as head organist from 1997 to 2004.
As another example of Vaughan Ramsey's versatility and thoughtfulness, New Suffolk residents, Jim and Muffie Baker shared the following. "......weeks before our wedding we met with Mr. Ramsey in his home to design the music for our ceremony. Together, they assembled a beautiful program, but later and unbeknownst to us, Vaughan wrote a special score of a Beethoven piece and included it in their program. Needless to say, it was a wonderful addition to the event and is still remembered as a most thoughtful gesture".
As recently as 2007, Mr. Ramsey could be seen breezing through New Suffolk on his custom 3 wheel bicycle headed to the post office or to the beach to look for some interesting artifacts. More recently, stimulating afternoon conversation with good friend Wally McGahan, have included everything from engineering to gardening. In sharing time with Vaughan, Mr. Mc Gahan has observed a gentle spirited person with a simple life style. Avoiding controversial or vexing situations and/or people seem paramount to his longevity.
After 100 years this true southern gentleman has never lost his beautiful drawl or his interest in music. Although his recommendation of always, always beginning the day with a cheese omelet seem simplistic, it is his joy in the this simplicity that captures your attention.
New Suffolk wishes you a very Happy Birthday and regards you as one of our own special treasures.