Bill Ramsey was one of Omaha’s top PR professionals for decades, starting at WOW Radio after serving as a Marine Corps infantryman during the Korean War and working at his own firm Bill Ramsey Associates until just last year passed away on November 5, 2016.
Ramsey served the advertising and public relations profession for more than 55 years. He was honored with the Omaha Federation of Advertising’s (now AAF Omaha) Silver Medal Award in 2006. Ramsey continued contributing to the advancement of the communications profession and service to his clients and the community throughout his professional career. The Council Bluffs native began his career as a WOWT newsman and photographer. Later he served as public relations director for Duchesne College and Academy of the Sacred Heart, Creighton University, Holland Dreves, Poff & Reilly, Bozell & Jacobs, and Father Flanagan’s Boys Home (now Boys Town). He and his wife Pat had had their own advertising and public relations agency founded in 1982.
In 2006 Lori Meier then Omaha Federation of Advertising’s (now AAF Omaha) President was quoted, “Ramsey is a consummate communications professional. He is a leader, teacher, mentor, advisor and major contributor to our profession.” The federation was honored to have Ramsey received their highest award the Silver Medal.
Over the years, Ramsey was the driving force and strategist behind a number of successful communications campaigns. Among his many successes are: Cox Communications’ license approval to provide services to the city of Omaha; Harvey’s Casino, approval of the first riverboat gaming license in the state of Iowa; Omaha Public Schools: “Vote Yes for the Kids,” $56-million school bond issue in 1988; “Let’s Go to Bat for Rosenblatt,” facility improvement promotion and fund raising for Rosenblatt Stadium; many local and state political campaigns; and multiple non-profit organizations needing visibility or to raise funds. While at Boys Town, he worked on the multi-media campaign, “Love Is A Family Affair” with the National Advertising Council.
Ramsey and his writing partner, Betty Dineen Shrier, finished their sixth book last year, “From Tears to Tributes” – on death and dying. “Bill’s last book is very close to my heart”, said AAF Omaha’s Executive Director, Teri Hamburger. Ramsey and Dineen Shrier included tributes to Hamburger’s father who passed away in 1986 and to her nephew killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011 in their last book.
Ramsey received numerous professional and community awards including being named the “Person of the Year” in 2002 by The Daily Nonpareil in recognition of his efforts to improve his home town; the Paul Lund Community Service Award from the national Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), one of the top three awards presented nationally; Distinguished Omaha Press Club member award; Creighton University Alumni Award; Serran of the Year, US Council of Serra International; three George Washington Honor Medals from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge; the Salvation Army “Extra Mile” award; and the U.S. Defense Department PATRIOT Award for support of the Guard and Reserve. Ramsey’s work on the Boys Town campaign, “Love Is A Family Affair,” was awarded the national Gold Quill Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the Gabriel Award from the National Catholic Broadcasters Association. He and his wife, Pat, received the Jason Award, from Children’s Square USA for service to youth, families and community.
Ramsey donated significant time and held top positions with a variety of non-profit organizations including service as: Serra Club International, USA Council, president; Metro Area Transit, board member and chair; NEBRASKAland Foundation, president; Six Million Lights Foundation which sponsors Holocaust Era Education at the college and university level, board member; National Conference for Community and Justice, board chair; Victory ’95, 50th anniversary celebration of the Victory in World War II, public relations chair; Omaha Press Club, president; Public Relations Society of America, Nebraska president and national PRSA Board of Ethics chair; Uta Halee Girls Village, chairman endowment board; Children’s Square, USA, board member and chairman; and member of several other boards and committees.
Ramsey is survived by wife, Patricia and children Jeanne, Mark, Ellen, James and Margaret. Ramsey’s son Mark was the Omaha Federation of Advertising’s (now AAF Omaha) president in 1992.