Andrea Denise Ramsey (nee. Butler), daughter of Selvyn Keith "Butts" Butler and Gloria Edith "Gogie" Prout Butler was born March 8, 1943 in Harlem, New York. She was the first grandchild of her paternal and maternal grandparents, who had emigrated to the United States from Antigua and Barbados, British West Indies respectively. Her early years were spent with her parents and maternal grandparents in the Bronx. An academically precocious toddler, her maternal grandmother, Momsie, taught her to read at an early age. Andrea often joked that she took years to remember her correct age, because she started school early and couldn't tell her teachers her true age. As part of a close Caribbean family, Andrea, her younger sister, Antoinette, and her parents spent summers in a small rented house on the beach in Rockaway, New York. Those beach getaways were some of her happiest childhood memories. During her time on Tinton Avenue in the Bronx, she developed friendships that would carry her through her entire lifetime. Those friends, and her sister, began a social club as elementary students called "Polly Pigtails". When the girls entered junior high, they felt that they had outgrown that name, and relaunched themselves as "Les Angeliques".
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Andrea attended New York City public schools and graduated from Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, before going on to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she majored in textile design. It was during this period of her early adulthood that Andrea Ramsey married Lenon Henry Ramsey, Jr. at St. Augustine Church in the Bronx, whom she had known since they were 14, on January 28, 1962. Lenon joined the Air Force soon after their marriage. During his service, Lenon and Andrea lived in San Antonio, Texas; Anchorage, Alaska; and Tuscon, Arizona. Their union was blessed with two children, Tracey Simone Ramsey on December 7, 1962 and the late Damon Todd Ramsey on September 10, 1965. They returned to the Bronx at the conclusion of his service.
After many years of working in various roles at famed department store, B. Altman's, Andrea decided to reinvent herself. She returned to her studies, going on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University. After receiving a book about art therapy as a gift from her sister, she realized she could combine her passion for art and her love of helping and healing people, and went on to earn a Master's Degree in Art Therapy from New York University at age 42. As an Art Therapist, Andrea worked to diversify the profession and was a frequent conference presenter on the subject. Over the course of her amazing career, she worked with AIDS patients at Bellevue Hospital, and psychiatric patients at North Central Bronx Hospital. Her colleagues spoke of her often as a consistent advocate of dignified patient care.
When Andi committed to a cause or hobby, she went full on. Whether as a member of the Van Cortlandt Park Track Club, or the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, or as a docent at The Bronx Zoo, or as a research volunteer at Woodlawn Cemetery, she approached every opportunity with passion. Her love of animals was legendary, as she leaves behind three birds and two turtles. Andi was a true Renaissance Woman. We will remember her as a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, painter, a shower of Afghan Hounds, a Bronx Zoo docent, a former marathon runner, a Black doll collector, an Afro-Caribbean genealogist, a Bronx historian, a writer, a gifted painter, and so much more. As a result of her generous spirit and pleasant personality, she was loved by many. Her lifetime accomplishments were matched by none, and her influence will forever remain in the lives of all who knew her.
After a brave and valiant fight against cancer, Andrea quietly departed this life on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at Schervier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Riverdale, New York. She was preceded in death by her husband, son, and parents.
Her beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of her daughter, Tracey Simone, her sister Antoinette "Toni" Butler, grandchildren, Damon Alexander and Kiah Nari, her nieces, Danielle Renee and Milan Danielle and countless family and friends. Our lives, our worlds will never be the same.