In Loving Memory of Deacon Ken Ramage
Services for Deacon Ken Ramage
Rosary Wednesday January 18, 6:30pm
Funeral Mass Thursday January 19,10:00 am
Final Commendation will be held privately with the family.
A reception following the funeral Mass in the parish hall.
Both will take place at Good Shepherd Catholic Parish, St. Mary’s Church
The Journey of Deacon Ken Ramage
(excerpted from “Cradle to Call: A Collection of Journeys to Ordination” published in 2010)
I was born in 1947 in Lindsay, California and have a younger sister, Lynda. While growing up, my dad farmed tomatoes, and I helped in the summer during the picking and packing season. My first “Position was that of a box boy at age 8. I ended my “career” in agriculture at the age of 16, putting on lids and stacking the boxes of packet tomatoes. We attended various churches when I was young, but through junior high and high school, we attended the Lindsay Presbyterian Church, where I was baptized.
After high school, I attended College of the Sequoias and Fresno State, receiving a degree in Civil Engineering in 1969. While attending Fresno State, I met a cradle Catholic named Judy, and we married in 1968, one semester before we both graduated. My first job after college was with PG&E in Emeryville, near Oakland.
At this point in my life, I had no strong religious beliefs, but did occasionally attend the Catholic Church with my wife. However, in 1969 I did agree to attend some Inquiry classes while we were still living in Oakland, but whatever the priest was selling, I wasn’t buying. But in 1970, we moved to Tulare (my wife’s home town) to work for the City engineering department. There, I once again attended Inquiry sessions at St. Rita’s and finally something clicked. I entered the Catholic Church in 1971.
Although I never left the church, my faith took a backseat to worldly matters until, in 1991, my beliefs were challenged within my family. As I searched for answers, my faith was renewed and deepened, and I became more active in this faith. I also gained a great passion for sharing and defending the Catholic faith with others. This ultimately led to our purchasing the local Catholic bookstore in 1992, which we renamed St. Joseph’s Christian Supply. After two years in business, we decided to make its non-profit status official and found a group of like-minded folks to run the business as a non-profit, operated totally by unpaid volunteers.
It was also during this time that we both began to search for a stronger sense of Christian community. We both had great admiration for St. Francis of Assisi and his life of Gospel simplicity. This led us to first chapter of the Secular (“Third Order”) Franciscan Order.
In 1999, after completing a three-year ministry formation course called New Wine, I was invited by my pastor, the late Monsignor Tom Kleinhans to enter the Diocese’s first diaconate formation class. Both my wife and I attended classes in Fresno, one weekend a month for three years, along with weekly study group meetings with future deacons Jim Rooney, Paul Hernandez and Anthony Silveira and their wives.
Finally in 2003 along with 21 other men, I was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Fresno and assigned to my home parish of St. Mary’s.
Judy and I have three adult children, Tim, our oldest, is an ordained Presbyterian minister married to Jennifer and they have three children, Joshua, Koby, and Karis. Our daughter, Debi, remains Catholic and is married to Robert, a Navy Seal in San Diego, and they hve two children, Jordan and Jacob. Our youngest son, Chad is the Youth Pastor at the Porterville Nazarene Church and is married to Voni and they have two children Kaden and Brecken.
I retired from the City of Tulare in August of 2009 but remain active with St. Joseph’s Christian Supply, numerous duties with the Catholic Church of Visalia and occasional consulting work for the City of Tulare. I also enjoy playing the guitar, listening to music, taking trips with Judy and being a grandpa.