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Annette Joyce Waters Ramaley


1936 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Annette Joyce Waters Ramaley Obituary
Annette Joyce Waters Ramaley grew up in Southern California, but she never fit the mold of a California Girl. She preferred digging holes in the family's yard to play war, riding the trolley to the pet store to buy a pet rat, playing in band, ditching school because she was smarter than her teachers, learning to fix bikes or cars with the neighbors, and more. Her immediate and extended family was important to her, but when the time came to set out on her own, she knew she wanted to keep breaking the mold.

First it was night school with GIs returned from WWII, then Berkeley where she enjoyed International House, then Master's work at Bloomington, and eventually teaching at Carleton College, where she met William Charles Ramaley, the love of her life. From there, it was off to Colorado where her daughter, Julia, was born. It was all Colorado for the next four plus decades, until William's death forced Annette to move to North Carolina where she could be closer to her daughter.

Independent, strong-willed, stubborn, intelligent, opinionated, loyal to friends and animals, caring of the environment, concerned for human rights, unsure at times of her own place in it all. During the beloved decades in Colorado, Annette went back to school in Fort Collins and upon her return to Durango, she dove headfirst into mycology, the study of fungi. Not the kind of fungi most people normally think of, though. Rather, she studied the fungus that grow on already-dead yucca leaves in the desert Southwest. In several cases, she was the first to find something new, publishing reviewed scholarly articles in respected journals despite her lack of affiliation with any particular institution.

The last five years of Annette's life while living in North Carolina were just a long period of waiting to return to the places she loved, the friends she loved, the plants she loved, the animals she loved, the work she loved: the life worth living.

Her Magic dog came to fetch Annette for the last, best walk in the San Juans on March 9, 2018. She will be missed by those of us who remain, but she'd prefer you be inspired by her example. You are not where you came from. You are alive when you break the mold, do what you love, dig a hole, take a hike, pay attention to the little things and follow your dreams. May they lead you over the rainbow and beyond.

Mrs. Ramaley died peacefully of heart disease, dementia and arthritis. Her family plans a small, private gathering at some future time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Union of Concerned Scientists https://www.ucsusa.org/ or Durango Trails 2000 https://www.trails2000.org/ in her memory.
Published in The Durango Herald on Mar. 22, 2018
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