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David A. Ramsey

1959 - 2019


“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir, 1873

David A. Ramsey, the woodsman, the local historian, the non-conformist, the much beloved husband, father, son, brother, uncle, grandfather, and friend completed the first leg of his life journey Friday, October 11, 2019, at his home in Northumberland.

David, or “Dave” or “Blackbear” as he was known to his friends, was born May 22, 1959, in Sunbury, PA to Audrey E. (Schuler) Rogers and the late Robert A. Jones.    

David was an ambitious serial entrepreneur whose diverse interests led him down countless pathways. David studied advertising art at Williamsport Area Community College after graduating from Shikellamy High School in 1977. David became a private art instructor and began teaching art lessons to inmates. At that time, David also became interested in real estate and restoring old homes to their original glory. These interests naturally evolved into a business named Ramsey Home Restorations. He advocated for the preservation of historic buildings and approached restoration work, especially exterior painting, as a form of artistic expression. 

In the late 1990s, David and his life partner and wife, Dana L. (Deamer), started side businesses including Ladyhawks Primitive Creations, a traditional trading post, and the Freedom Learning Center, a supplement to structured education that employed an inquiry-based form of learning. David believed that cultivating curiosity from infancy through adulthood was crucial for improving a person’s spiritual well-being. 

David enjoyed reading and lecturing on the subject of local and regional history and participating in historic re-enactments. He was a decades-long member of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and participated in many National Rendezvous and Living History Foundation events. 

David embraced Pennsylvania’s public lands for hiking, fishing and hunting, and he enjoyed being immersed in forests such as Chimney Rock in the Bald Eagle State Forest and World’s End State Park. David discovered the profound peace that could be obtained from forest immersion at a young age. He imparted a deep appreciation for wilderness preservation and self-reliance to his wife and their seven children – Jake, Josh, Jimmy, Joe, Jeb, Jesse and Brent.

Many of David’s favorite pastimes were spent at home with Dana, his wife of twenty-five years. Together they experimented with growing heirloom varieties of vegetables and fruits, canning and drying virtually everything they grew. They enjoyed cooking indoors over an open hearth fireplace, hosting holiday parties for friends and family, and spending most of their weekends with grandchildren.

David enjoyed following local sports teams, especially Penn State wrestling and football, and attended many sports events in which his children played. He was an active participant in his children’s athletic development, encouraging cross training and off-season physical activity.

Always a comedian, David took joy in orchestrating practical jokes even when the embarrassment lacked an audience. He enjoyed making others laugh and practiced compassionate empathy on a regular basis.   

A private celebration of life will be held to recognize David’s journey through the wilderness. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation of funds to the Friends of World’s End State Park or to any Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation Friends group.     



Black Bear showed me so much kindness over the years. I feel very fortunate to have known him. Pennsylvania has lost a treasure. Love to Dana and the family. Van Wagner

I didn't know Dave personally but I have always heard stories of him from his wife Dana. She spoke often of him and the family they shared. You could tell they had a true love story by the way she spoke and that family was everything to both of them. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dana and her entire family on their loss.

Ahh...Dana. My heart breaks for you.
I am at a loss for words, since I am still in shock with the news. But please know, that as a former classmate I am so proud of the legacy he cultivated in his life, as well as your beautiful union with him. I agree with Van...such kindness and strength. Journey on, our dear friend. So much love to you and your family, Dana.
Sherry A.

Black Bear and I shared many great times together over the years. We were classmates, college roommates,hiking buddies and were each other’s best man. He was truly awesome. My deepest sympathy to you Dana , the kids and the entire family for your loss.
Mike Pope

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