Dr Bill Ramsay  March 29th 2020 (85yrs)

by David Price

My friend Dr Bill Ramsay FRACS died on Sunday March 29th aged 85 years after a long illness & the effects of a rare brain tumor that affected his balance.

Bill was a man one could never forget. 

My earliest memories date back to the early Fifties, where at Scotch College, Bill was my Senior School hero -, mainly because we all worshipped the demigods of the Firsts Football & Cricket teams-& Bill was a champion in both.

His dear wife Robyn  has confirmed that Bill came into the Crusader Group at school through the ministry of the” Bryan Green Echoes”. Crusaders was a precursor of the wider -based Inter School Christian Fellowship &Scripture Union . Bill was a keen young Christian in the mid- fifties when lots of school leaders found a vigorous Christian discipleship quite fashionable .He developed a close friendship with junior teacher David Scott, & then with the late Rev. Lawrie Bartlett who was Commandant at Camp Tallawalla  at Toolangi.I can still remember Bill as a young leader at one Camp there thumping a footy in his bare feet out of the paddock ! In fact the all-purpose Hall at Toolangi site , still bears the  Ramsay name , but for more than his football prowess!

Bill was a big man, with a cheeky glint in his eye; He had a very strong faith in a very big God ,which determined how he spent his time his surgical skills  & his money .I believe his faith was fostered in the gracious family & home in Templestowe,which has still been preserved in the family for son Peter.
Bill was a skilled surgeon of the old school ,where a General Surgeon was trained to do generally everything- This was superb preparation for the life he felt called to live after an intentional early retirement so that he could work in mission overseas where his skills were more needed.  He became quite  peripatetic ,& with Robyn, worked with The Leprosy Mission in Papua -New Guinea, then at Vellore CMC in Tamil Nadu, training in further leprosy techniques under Dr Paul Brand’s successor.

Then followed14 years back in Melbourne from 1973 at Box Hill Hospital; he then volunteered to work at Taksin in Nepal ,then in Bhutan, then in the Camaroon for 12 months , before heading for Northern Iraq to serve among the Kurds -always aided & abetted by his best friend & wife, Dr Robyn.  What an incredible, adaptable & resilient couple--
Qualities like integrity ,faithfulness& humble stamina were there in spades throughout Bill’s extraordinary life ,but deep down it was his personal faith in a personal God that shone through …

He always felt grateful to the members of the CMDFA who were such a network of support for him,  & he was a regular at most CMDFA Conferences. He is part of that heritage , on whose shoulders we see the future more clearly.

We are diminished by his loss, but inspired to serve & love our God generously ,even wastefully ,because Bill did it so naturally.