News Channel 9 has confirmed with Hamilton County officials that former county executive Claude Ramsey passed away early Monday morning.
Mike Dunne, Hamilton County spokesman, says a family member informed the county attorney Monday morning of Ramsey’s passing.
Ramsey first began his career in government as a member of the General Assembly, serving four years after being elected in 1972. He was a county commissioner for two years and served as Hamilton County assessor of property from 1980 to 1984. He served 16 years over five terms as Hamilton County mayor and played a key role in luring Volkswagen to Chattanooga.
Before resigning in 2011, he had been re-elected with 77 percent of the vote.
Before his retirement in 2013, Ramsey spent three years as deputy governor to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger issued this statement:
“Hamilton County has suffered a tremendous loss this morning with the passing of Claude Ramsey.
Claude was a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly on behalf of the citizens of Hamilton County. As a member of Hamilton County’s first Commission, as Assessor and as Hamilton County Executive and Mayor, Claude Ramsey had the best interests of the people of this community in his heart.
Claude worked tirelessly to improve education and was at the forefront of making Hamilton County a manufacturing center again.I greatly appreciate the assistance Claude gave to me, first as a commissioner and then as Hamilton County’s Mayor, Claude made my transition easy when he went to Nashville to serve as Governor Haslam’s Deputy Governor.
We will miss his wisdom, insight, kindness, humor and most of all friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with Jan, his children and their grandchildren.”
State Sen. Bo Watson released this statement concerning the death of Ramsey.
“Claude Ramsey was a giant in the community. He was dedicated, passionate, tough and respected. Claude focused on results, and his record was legendary. He had a positive influence on all of us.
“Much of the progress that we have made in Hamilton County is due to the unselfish work of Claude Ramsey. His contributions to our community are just immeasurable, including economic development with Volkswagen and the Read 20 literacy initiative.
“He once told me, ‘Never forget to ask someone for their vote.’ Even though Claude was an incredible political force, he never took any election for granted. If people ran against him, he ran to win.”