Harold Bower, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Service Forester, was Russ Ramser's consultant. On Russ's death, Harold wrote the following article for the Ohio Woodland Journal:
A Tribute To A Tree Farmer
Back in the late 1960's when I was a much younger forester I received a request from a landowner to look at some pine trees that were growing behind his house on the hill. He was raising cattle and wanted to sell the pines, since they were growing in the pasture. Because of their small size and the lack of a pine market in this area the trees remained. As a forester, this was a common type of request and I assumed that this was a one time meeting. I was wrong.
Russell was a man devoted to family, community, and his work. He seemed to have unlimited energy. However, his wife, with womanly wisdom, pointed out that he was doing too much. He should give something up; so, he decided to sell his cattle, which left a lot of pasture land unused. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Russell Ramser, Jr. was born 1 May 1928 in Mingo Junction, Ohio and grew up in Shadyside, Ohio, near where Tom Berger, Columbus Forestry Staff, grew up. Russell left home for college to become a mechanical engineer and an officer in the United States Air Force. He rose to the rank of Major before he retired. He also attended Harvard Business School in the advanced Management Program. In the 1950's he moved to Knox County where he became vice president of manufacturing for Cooper Industries. Later, he became owner and president of the Ohio Cumberland Gas Co. and Maram Energy. In addition to his job duties, he was a member of the Rotary Club, past chairman of the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce and Knox County Area Development, a director of The Ohio State University Alumni Association and President's Club and the Jelloway United Methodist Church. He was also active in fund raising for the United Way, the Salvation Army, and other local organizations. He was a very busy man.
But, back to the pasture fields now. He contacted me again wanting to plant some trees. Again, I thought a few thousand trees would be nice, but he wanted to plant tens of thousands. The thought baffled my mind, people do not just plant whole farms to trees. Neither do they buy adjoining farms to plant more trees. But Russell Ramser did. He was looking to the future to unborn generations and their needs. I soon learned to respect this man very much, because what he said he did. He taught the rest of us by his actions, he planted trees and made every effort to see that they would and did survive, even in the absolute drought year of 1988. The more I talked to Russell, the more I knew that he respected the land. Then, he learned that he was ill and after extensive treatment he left this earth on 9 October 1996 to go onto the sky world. But, he lives on in our hearts and memories. He even began planning for this spring's planting season. He has left his legacy to his daughter, Susan. She will now see that the trees are planted and tended, and in this planting, my friend Russell, who had a good heart and a good mind, will continue to live amongst us and his spirit, which still lives, will be remembered. Have a good journey, Russ.
Post script. Harold Bower is now deceased as well. To read a tribute to Harold see The Woodland Journal, Vol. 21, Number 1, Winter 2014.