Family and friends came to Harlem last week to celebrate the life and memory of its life long resident and esteemed member of New York’s storied basketball community, Calvin Ramsey who passed away Monday morning, March 25. The Honorable David Dinkins and Charles Rangel sat front row center at Convent Avenue Baptist Church as Revs. Brenda Price and Booker T. Morgan beautifully eulogized Ramsey. Brandie Sutton’s beautiful, operatic voice wowed all those gathered.
Also seated throughout the pews of this historic Harlem landmark established in 1942 on the corner of West 145th and Convent Avenue were Earl “the Pearl” and Marita Monroe, Carl and Judy Green, Tom “Satch” Sanders, Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Charles Oakley, John Starks, Allan Houston, Kiki VanDeWeghe, Charles Smith, Pee Wee Kirkland, Kim Hampton, Butch Beard, Mel Davis, Tom Hoover and Sonny Hill.
A large, distinguished wreath designed in the shape of the New York Knicks logo was placed at the front left side of the church beside Ramsey, their one time television analyst and public relations liason.
Colleagues from Madison Square Garden like Knicks President Steve Mills, and Rodger Murray and Stewart Davis, Knick game clock operators who’ve interacted with Ramsey over the years at each home game that he regularly attended, were there to pay their respects. So were Ramsey’s colleagues from New York University where he held a life long assistant coaching position, as well as those from other organizations that Ramsey was affiliated with.
The four page 8-by-10 glossy program which guests received contained an apt verse from the Bible: Timothy 2, fourth chapter, sixth and seventh verse perfectly described Ramsey’s life as we knew it: “For I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I fought a good fight. I’ve finished my course.”
Murray described Ramsey the way most of the mourners had. “Cal was not only a player, but an educator of the game. A friend and an icon. A role model. One that you would see, talk to, shake hands with. He’s someone that lived right here in the community. Someone that you saw. He’s a guy who’ll really be missed.”