James “Mick” Lester Ramsdell, 89, a lifelong resident of Flandreau, SD, passed away on March 29, 2013 at Riverview Health Services in Flandreau.
Mick was born March 27, 1924 on the family farm to Virginia Lucille Kelley and Lester William Ramsdell. Mick attended Liberty Country School, a one-room schoolhouse, and then graduated from Flandreau High School in 1942. As a child, he helped on the family farm with his siblings, William, Dean and Joyce. Mick enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and was stationed in Guam during World War II. After an honorable discharge, he enrolled at South Dakota State University where he studied agriculture. While attending college, Mick met Janet “Jan” Marie Thorpe from Pierre, SD. They married in Brookings, SD on March 20, 1947, and were happily married for 60 years before Jan passed away on November 15, 2007. Mick and Jan lived one year in Pierce, NE, where he taught agriculture. In 1951, they moved back to Flandreau, and Mick began working with his father Lester and his uncle Stuart at their International Harvester Implement business. In 1957, Mick moved his father’s business, and within six months experienced a devastating fire. Nonetheless, Mick rebuilt and expanded to fertilizer and used machinery. Mick renamed the business Ramsdell F&M and worked diligently to create a successful enterprise that remains in operation. Mick was involved with many community activities during his lifetime. In 1969, he and his good friend, Dale Gust, started the Flandreau Flier Booster Club, which led to the construction of Flier Stadium. He and his wife Jan were avid bridge players. They won numerous tournaments and each earned the distinction of “Life Master.” After raising four children, Mick and Jan began traveling the country in their motor home. They eventually bought a home in Brownsville, TX, and became “snowbirds.” Mick and Jan also enjoyed boating.
Mick is survived by two sons: Bruce (Marvin White) Ramsdell, Atlanta, GA and Scott (Lani) Ramsdell, Flandreau; two daughters: Renee (Glen) Brookshire, Elkhart, IN and Nancy (David) Cutshall, Sioux Falls; nine grandchildren: Kari, Kelley, Laura, Thomas, Alison, Jason, Joni, Brice and Melanie; four great-grandchildren: Allysa, Devon, Tison and Jameson; and one sister-in-law: JoAnn Ramsdell.
Mick was preceded in death by his wife, Janet, grandson, Jamie Ramsdell, parents, Virginia and Lester Ramsdell, two brothers, William and Dean, and two sisters, Joyce and Mary.
His funeral service was held April 2 at the United Methodist Church in Flandreau, with burial in Union Cemetery.