A. Ogden Ramsay, 95, teacher of biology at McDonogh School

April 23, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

A. Ogden Ramsay, who taught biology at McDonogh School for 44 years, died Monday of cancer at the Brethren Home in New Oxford, Pa. He was 95 and had lived in Littlestown, Pa.

He was affectionately known by generations of McDonogh students as "Bugs," because the biology teacher made microscopic slides of insects from the pond at the Owings Mills school. Through-out his career, he studied animal behavior and published academic papers on the topic.

"He was one of my most admired teachers. He was a charming guy," said Snowden Carter of Owings Mills, a former student. "The ice pond was Mr. Ramsay's favorite place."

Born in Spartanburg, S.C., he was a 1925 graduate of Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. He Joined the McDonogh faculty in 1927 and obtained a master's degree from Columbia University during his tenure at McDonogh.

In the late 1940s, he began a series of investigations in animal behavioral psychology. He tape-recorded bluejays and kept cages of raccoons, gray foxes, chickens, crows and other animals.

He took an owl to the WMAR television studio -- it got loose --and appeared on a 1956 broadcast of the "Omnibus" television show.

In 1954, he published, with Eckerd Hess of the University of Chicago, a paper on laboratory produres for imprinting -- the rapid learning that occurs during a brief period after an animal's birth. He retired from teaching in 1971 and continued his interest in psychology. He also enjoyed writing poetry.

In 1930, he married Mette Dyppel. She died in 1993. He then wed Ann Gladfelter, who survives him. A memorial will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Brethren Home Community, 2990 Carlisle Pike in New Oxford. Pa.

He is also survived by two sons, Dr. O. Bertrand Ramsay of Ypsilanti, Mich., and the Rev. Frederick J. Ramsay, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Pasadena; four grandchildren; and six great-gandchildren.

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