Act of Remembrance: The Ramey Family

By Carlos Verde

In July 2020, the life of longtime Brantford Red Sox sponsor Brett Ramey was cut tragically short at age 53.

Nearly three years later, Rashell Ramey stands at the end of the Red Sox dugout adorned in a team pullover.

Following Brett’s death, the Rameys sold his hair-styling and ice cream businesses; the family, however, had no intention of abandoning the Red Sox.

Today, Rashell is the IBL club’s trainer, older brother Braydin serves as an assistant coach with Brantford’s junior team and mother Maryann chips in on concessions at Red Sox home games.

“It’s a way for us to show our support,” reflected Rashell following Brantford’s visit to Hamilton on Sunday. “My dad used to cut the Red Sox a cheque every year, and he was really proud to support the team. Now that we don’t have the business anymore — this is our way of trying to compensate for that cheque.”

She will be tasked with a brief speech and delivering the first pitch prior to Brantford’s Canada Day home game, which the club is dedicating to her late father; funds will be raised for the Stedman Community Hospice, where Brett spent his final days.

“It means a lot for me, to be able to tell people about his involvement with the team, and how we’re still involved for him and for the team,” she reflected. “Canada Day is a really big day for us.”

Her work as a trainer is in addition to work and school endeavours; she wants to eventually become a teacher, and regularly runs up 20- and 22-hour days when the Sox play night games.

But hard work is one trait she happily inherited from her father, a successful small business owner.

“The boys call me a jack-of-all-trades, and make it known that my work is appreciated,” laughed Rashell. “I’m up at 4:00 a.m. to go to work, and they know that and think I’m crazy.

“But this is for sure a way to remember my dad.”

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July 1’s fundraiser for Stedman Hospice is one of a number of initiatives the Red Sox support.

“As a community team it’s important that we aren’t just here to play ball — we need to be involved with the community as well,” said Brantford co-owner Connie Pomerleau, whose club also supports The Lansdowne Children’s Centre and Brant County SPCA. “Brett Ramey was a program sponsor for many years, (and) the Hospice is a really important place for patients and their families at the end of their life.

“My aunt and uncle both spent their last weeks in Stedman in the last six months, and I’m thankful there is such a wonderful place and that they were taken care of,” continued Pomerleau. “There are very few hospices in Ontario, so Brantford is very lucky to have Stedman.”

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The day he passed, Brett Ramey was carried from the Stedman Hospice; outside, a sombre crowd of family and friends congregated — as best they could during the height of the pandemic — and shared memories.

God’s Country by Blake Shelton played over a speaker.

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On any given Friday night, the Ramey family is here, there and everywhere around the Red Sox: Maryann takes orders at the concession, Rashell tapes ice-packs onto the lifted pitchers and Braydin is more often than not on the road with his junior team.

Three years after Brett’s death, they carry on his affiliation with the Red Sox — both to honour his memory and to support their grassroots hometown team.

A ballpark in the evening is a serene place, with the crack of the bat punctuating the still night air; as the sun sets somewhere around the third inning, it feels — if you are the type inclined to believe in that sort of thing — a little bit like God’s Country.

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The Brantford Red Sox will dedicate their July 1 home game against Kitchener to longtime sponsor Brett Ramey (1966-2020). The Brantford Piston Pushers Car Club, one of Brett’s favourites, will be in attendance and funds will be raised The Stedman Community Hospice. Tickets are available at the gate or on SeatGiant.