Dear Idaho Academy Members,
Many of us are still in shock from the recent loss of Samantha Ramsay. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about her. Her smile. Her passion. Her support. Her influence. Her adventures. I struggle with how to put into words the incredible hole that is left in the lives of those Samantha touched. For those of you who had the opportunity to spend time with Samantha, I’m sure there are many stories to share.
Below is one such story, captured by friend and U of I/RDN colleague, SeAnne Safaii-Waite:
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and University professor Samantha Ramsay will be remembered forever in the hearts of her students, colleagues, friends and family. Samantha died on July 31st after being hit by lightning while climbing the Matterhorn in Switzerland. She was doing what she loved to do, climb, and no mountain was too large for her.
To know Samantha was to love her. For those of us who knew her, we knew her as a pioneer in the area of child feeding research, an avid athlete, loving mother and a remarkable woman that I was fortunate to call my friend and colleague. Much of our time together was spent competing with each other, as friends often do. And I am happy to say that I paled in comparison, but she pushed me farther than anyone ever has—and she pushed her students with the same vigor and enthusiasm. Thank you Samantha.
Samantha was a leader in everything she did. She was past president of the Idaho Academy and received the following leadership awards:
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Award for Excellence in Reviewing 2012
Marion Featherstone Scholar Award, Family and Consumer Sciences 2011
Marion Featherstone Scholar Award, Family and Consumer Sciences 2014, 2016
Idaho Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics Emerging Dietetic Leader 2014
Office of Alumni Relations, Faculty Alumni Award for Excellence 2015
Recognized Advisor for Maren Austgulen, University of Idaho Women’s Basketball 2015
University of Idaho Presidential Mid-Career Award 2016
NDEP Area 1 Dietetics Educator Award 2016
She introduced her students to the wonderful world of research. She did this in her own unique way, with a smile, an air of confidence, and peaceful reassurance that built trust and enthusiasm. It was magical to see how easy Samantha could lead her students, and I always marveled at what she and her merry band of graduate students were able to accomplish. Her research interests spanned parental feeding, nutrients for children, child eating behaviors, and international mealtimes. She contributed to a broadened understanding about child feeding practices and offered actionable steps for improving the nutritional status of children around the world.
Like some of the mountainous, wilderness areas where she spent much of her time, Samantha was a free spirit with a strong will. She honored and valued these places and they were a part of who she was. Samantha became a single mother after her husband Rob died last year, working to provide for her family while following her passions. She approached these challenges much as she approached a mountain climb — with grace, optimism, and regard for the beauty in all things.
All of us who cared for Samantha honor and celebrate her life, for it was a life of service, sacrifice, joy, laughter, and strength. It was a life to admire, to remember, and to appreciate. We love you Samantha, keep climbing and never stop!
A Go Fund Me site has been established to support Samantha and Rob’s children at: https://www.gofundme.com/47zev9k
Samantha Ramsay’s Celebration of Life will be held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church (1036 W A St, Moscow, ID) on Saturday, August 19, 2017, at 11 AM. A light luncheon will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall. If you would like to bring a food donation (such as a salad or dessert) please contact Gen Long at 208-877-1190 or Gretchen Isakson at 509-554-0620.
Crystal Wilson, EdS, MS, RDN, LD
President, Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2017-2018