The wife of a departed former Mariners player has been tragically killed after being hit by a lightning bolt while climbing in the Alps, leaving behind two children who now have lost both parents.
Her husband was pitcher Rob Ramsay, who had died a year before after struggling a long time with brain cancer; they now leave behind their sons Reidar, 9, and Ryan, 12.
Ramsay, who was a professor at the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences, had tried to climb the Matterhorn, which rises 14,692 feet above sea level, when a bolt of lightning came down and struck her.
She and another veteran climber, who has not been identified, were trying to scale the Swiss side of the mountain when a surprise thunderstorm showed up in the sky, catching them by surprise.
When Ramsay was struck, she and the other climber went falling back down the hill, stopped only by their safety ropes. Her badly injured friend was still able to call the emergency service number in Switzerland, and they soon contacted mountain rescue services and relayed the emergency and the location of the climbers.
Tragically Ramsay was pronounced dead on arrival in hospital, while her friend is now in critical condition.
The Ramsays had been married for just a year when Rob Ramsay’s brain tumor was diagnosed in 2000, putting an end to his professional career.
She saw him through the illness, including the removal of most – but not all – of the cancerous tissue – but he died in 2016 after suffering a seizure.
‘I could tell she was hurting, but she hid it for the most part’ said family friend Shawn O’Neal.
After that, Samantha kept going for her kids, always remaining energetic, O’Neal said.
‘She was the most alive person I ever knew. She and Rob both were.’
O’Neal said that she had always been active, not just in her globetrotting activities, but also in raising her sons.
‘She was the kind of mom that wanted her kids to be like her, to be active and always doing something,’ he explained.
Pictures can be viewed on Ramsay’s Facebook page, and show her atop the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in June and also skiing on Oregon’s Three Sisters in May.
There are also photos of her and her sons enjoying their time in Seattle, at a baseball game and even the Capitol over the past two months.
UI President Chuck Staben gave a statement on behalf of the school she taught at:
‘We join the entire Vandal family in mourning the loss of a talented instructor, respected colleague and caring member of the UI community.’
This has to be the definition of a freak accident. What else would you call this tragic ending, and now tragic beginning for the two young boys left without parents?
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