Emily J. Ramsey: April 8, 1935-Nov. 15, 2016

After a lengthy period of ill health, Emily J. Ramsey (Rizzo), a longtime resident of Coupeville, Wash., passed away surrounded by her loved ones.

Emily was born in Fitchburg, Mass., to Fred Ernest and Lena Elizabeth Ramsey.

She is survived by her husband and beloved dancing partner of 29 years, Sal Rizzo; daughters Ivy, Tracie and DeeDee; grandchildren, Mara, Brianne, Laura, Daniel, James and Amanda; and siblings Nancy, Fred, Ellen and Barry.

She was predeceased by a son, James Cobban, and sister, Betty Lou.

She was a positive grassroots activist with a finger on the pulse of many organizations, lending her considerable intellect, energy, vitality and passion to the sustainability and preservation of the planet, access to quality education, literacy, the arts and availability of health care and awareness of mental health issues. She was devoted to the empowerment of all people, and especially for women.

Emily was a long-time member of the League of Women Voters of Whidbey Island, acting as co-president for several years, and was a founding member of Small Miracles, Coupeville’s Medical Support Fund which helps cover medical costs for those in need.

Emily was an invaluable part of Coupeville’s culture, serving as president for a period of time of Coupeville Arts Center (now known as Pacific Northwest Art School), starting the annual Auction for the Arts. She taught ceramic arts to youth through the Arts Center, and also taught art to third-graders at Coupeville Elementary School. She taught adult art journaling workshops. She worked for Sno-Isle Library, Coupeville branch, serving as president of Friends of the Library, and was the program’s chair for many events, including the committee to build the new library.

Emily was instrumental in Island County Historical Society’s fundraising for the new building and oversight of the new construction. She and her husband were active members of the Coupeville Festival Association and Emily was a founder of the Artist in Action program. She also led the program “Together We Can” and served as board member and shareholder of the newly formed Coupeville Examiner.

As an elected Town Council member for Coupeville, she was actively involved with various design and historic preservation committees, and she successfully implemented an Interagency Council of Governments.

An open house acknowledging Emily’s beautiful and generous spirit will be held 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 at Wallin Funeral Home in Oak Harbor.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to any of the activities and organizations she loved so much.