The following story was submitted by Laurence Ramey's
Laurence Ramey has 103 plus years of history in Logan County. The only
time he has not lived here was from 1922 to 1924 when he attended the
University of Colorado in 1922 -24.
HIS PARENTS, WILLIAM AND DELLA RAMEY
William A. and Adella "DellaĒ Holden Ramey, came to Sterling in the
1880s. Della Holden came to Logan County from New York with her family.
They homesteaded near Fleming in 1886. At the age of 16, she obtained a
teaching certificate and taught school near Fleming.
William Ramey came with his family from West Virginia in 1885, with a
promise of a homestead by both the U.S. government and the Union Pacific
Railroad. They traveled by boxcar and landed in Kearney, Neb. In 1886,
they moved to Iliff.
William taught school at Willard for a year. Della had moved to the
Krackle School near Willard. The two young teachers met, and on June 8,
1893, they were married.
Laurence is the fourth of five sons of William and Della Holden Ramey.
The others are: Raymond, Victor, Loyd and Paul Sr. Of the five, Victor,
Raymond, Loyd and Laurence made their homes in Logan County. Paul attended
the University of Colorado and became a physician and surgeon. He was in
practice for most of his life in Temple, Texas.
At the time of Laurence's birth in 1903, William and Della were farming
near Iliff on the sand hills east of the South Platte River. In 1908, they
moved to Sterling so that the boys could attend a better school. Laurence
attended Logan County High School and was on the football team.
The family lived on Pine Street, directly across the street from the
high school. Since the high school did not have showers, after practice
the football team made full use of the shower in the basement of the Ramey
One day in 1918, Laurence was sent to town to have some repairs done on
a mower. When he arrived at the John Deere store, he had to wait a long time because
a man with a big cigar, accompanied by a young girl was buying repair
parts. The store personnel had to tie the part on to the man's car.
Laurence was intrigued by the store manager who they learned that it
was George D and his daughter, Sarah. San lingered in his mind. When he
entered Sterling High School two years later, there was Sarah in the class
behind him. However, he was too shy to talk to her in high school.
During 1922-24, he attended the University of Colorado. He tried out
for the football team, at 150 pounds, he just wasn't big enough.
Laurence and Sarah met again in the fall of his second year at Colorado
University when he saw her sitting on the steps of Mackey Auditorium. They
struck up a conversation, during which he learned that she didn't like
college and thought her family couldn't afford it. She didnít return for
the second quarter; Laurence didnít return to college for his third year.
In Sterling, he eventually worked up the nerve to ask her to the movies
and soon found every excuse he could to drop by the shop where Sarah
By the fall of 1926, he felt he was ready to take the big step.
Mustering all the courage he had, he asked her father if they could get
married. Her father approved, but Laurence failed to also ask Sarahís
mother, Anna. Mrs. Dersham kidded him long afterwards about this "severe
LAURENCE AND SARAH
On June 8, 1927, Laurence married Sarah Francis Dersham, on the
anniversary date of his parents' wedding in 1893.
They had three children: Annabelle, born in 1928; Griffith, born in
1931; and Ronald, born in 1938.
Sarah Dersham and Laurence Ramey, June 8, 1927
Laurence farmed and raised cattle in the Iliff and Kelly area for
years. He still owns several quarters of dry land wheat in the Kelly area.
This dry land has a history of severe washing from heavy spring rains.
Laurence terraced the land to prevent this washing. He was recognized as
the USDA Outstanding Conservationist in Logan County sometime in the
In 1937, after 27 hailstorms in nine years and the Great Depression
still having its grip on the economy, he joined forces with his brothers,
Raymond and Loyd, to open a petroleum business, Ramey Oil Co., which they
operated for the next 15 years. This business was initially started as an
automobile service station at Third and Oak streets in Sterling.
In 1949 Ramey Oil Co. secured the dealership of the Ferguson Ford
Tractor, the first tractor with hydraulic lift to carry and power farm
machinery. Later, the dealership for the New Holland hay baler, the first
commercially viable machine of its type, was obtained.
Ramey Oil Co. Ford tractors with, from left:
Griff, Annabelle, Ron and Laurence Rameyabout 1942
The oil business gradually grew and delivery of oil, gasoline and
diesel products to the surrounding farming community was begun. In the
summer of 1945, Ramey Oil Co. built a larger building, just back of the
Third Street service station and facing Oak Street to support the farm
machinery business. This building still stands today.
In 1951, Ramey Oil Co. purchased 10 acres south of Sterling on U.S.
Highway 6, next to Riverside Cemetery. A new service station was built on
this property, as well as four apartments. The Skylark restaurant was
added in 1955.
In 1953, the farm supply part of the business was sold to Lewis and
Keith Ramey, who operated it as Ramey Farm Supply. The petroleum part was
sold to Phillips Petroleum the same year.
In 1952, Laurence brought in the Ramey-Ragatz addition to the city of
Sterling, which is roughly the area from Beattie Drive to Delmar Street
from Eighth to Tenth avenues. One of the streets in that addition is named
Holden Lane, named after Della Holden Ramey, Laurence's mother. In 1952,
there was an oil boom in Logan County; which brought a housing shortage
because of all the oil workers. Many of the lots in this addition were
sold to an oil drilling company that built houses for its employees.
Sarah and Laurence built a new house in the Ramey-Ragatz addition in
1953-54 at 920 Beattie Drive. They took great joy in this house.
Sarah's flower garden of tulips, irises and roses was second to none.
They resided in this house and spent many enjoyable years there.
In 1961-62 they jointly operated the Skylark Restaurant with son
Griffith and his wife, Artis, on the Ramey Oil Co. property on U.S. 6.
Laurence and Sarah enjoyed traveling and fishing. They made a number of
trips to Oregon to fish for salmon with Sarah's brother, George Dersham
and his wife Minnie. They owned several different boats over the next
several years and enjoyed boating and fishing on North Sterling Reservoir
and at Blue Mesa near Gunnison.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Laurence was an active volunteer for
Cooperating Ministry. In 1992, he was recognized as its outstanding
In 1973, the Logan County High School classes of 1922 and 1923 held a
combined 50th reunion. Tillie Krum Bach Lantz, a member of the Class of
1922, worked with Laurence, also a member of the Class of 1922, and Sarah,
a member of the Class of 1923, to organize this event. Although Tillie,
and Laurence both were members of the LCHS Class of 1922, their paths did
not cross very much until they started working on this class reunion.
Upon completion of the two-class reunions, Tillie, Sarah and Laurence
found that they had some money left over from the affair. They decided to
donate it to the Colorado Boy's Ranch. Thus, after 50 years, Tillie's and
Laurence's paths had started to cross a bit more.
On June 8, 1977, Sarah and Laurence celebrated their 50th, wedding
anniversary. Sarah had suffered from cancer for several years. She lost
her life as a result of cancer in February 1978.
LAURENCE AND TILLIE
After Sarahís death in 1978, Laurence and Tillie started playing
cribbage and bridge together.
Tillie had previously married John Lantz in 1929. He died in 1950. They
had two daughters: Jo Ellen, who was born in 1933 and died in 1948; and
Jeni, who was born in 1937. Tillie and John were charter members of the
Sterling Country Club.
Tillie and Laurence were married on May 26, 1979, at First Presbyterian
Church in Sterling, with the full blessing of both families.
Tillie loved to play golf, which she continued to enjoy at the country
club until just before her sudden death on Feb. 10, 1991, from a heart
attack. She was also active on the country club board of directors.
Laurence and Sarah were both active in the First Presbyterian Church.
Laurence joined the church in 1919, a year before the current church at
130 Fourth St. was built. Both he and Sarah served as elders and deacons.
He is the oldest living member of this church.
Tillie was active in All Saints Episcopal Church in Sterling before her
marriage to Laurence. She joined First Presbyterian Church just before
Laurence is also a member of the Sterling Masonic Lodge, the Royal Arch
Masons, the Knights Templar, Eastern Star and White Shrine. He received
his Masonic Lodge 65-year pin in May 2007. Sarah was active in both
Eastern Star, White Shrine, and was a Rainbow for Girls Mother Advisor for
many years. Tillie joined Eastern Star after her marriage to Laurence.
In August 2002, at the Lions Club Cowboy Breakfast, Laurence was
recognized as one of Logan County's Outstanding Pioneers.
In October 2003, Laurence celebrated his 100th birthday. An open house
was held on Oct. 5, 2003, at the First Presbyterian Church. Many guests,
friends and relatives shared this day with him. Joining him for this event
were his daughter Annabelle and her husband, Arnold Fournier, of
Englewood; sons Griffith and his wife, Artis, of Tempe, Ariz., and son
Ronald of Milliken; and a stepdaughter, Jeni, and her husband, Ken Forbes,
of Fort Collins.
Also joining him were: Griff and Artis' three children, Beth, Brian and
Marla; Ronís two children, Cynthia and Laurence; and Jeni and Kenís three
children, Kevin, Linda and John. There were also three great-grandchildren
and four step-great-grand children.
Friends and relatives came from Anchorage, Alaska; the Phoenix area;
Torrance, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; Albany, N.Y; Norfolk, Va.; Creswell,
Ore.; Wimberley, Texas; Colorado Springs; the Denver and Front Range
areas; Fort Collins; and the Sterling area.
Today, Laurence still resides in his house on Beattie Drive, through
the help of a good caregiver on the weekdays, and his family, who are with
him on most weekends. His health has deteriorated during the past few
years, but he still looks forward to attending the senior Meet and Eat
program at the Heritage Center each weekday.
On most afternoons, Laurence Ramey can be found at McDonaldís, where he
meets and talks with friends over coffee.