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Published: Sunday, 3/25/2007

Engineer amused kids with his magic

William C. Ramisch, 83, an engineer by trade who enjoyed entertaining children with his ventriloquy and magician acts, died Friday at St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee.

The cause of death was organ failure due to sepsis, his daughter, Candace Gillen, said.

A resident of Maumee, Mr. Ramisch's engineering and draft work career spanned more than 60 years, and involved work at numerous area firms.

His first job in the field was as a partner with his father, the late Carl Ramisch, at B & C Engineering, a tool and die bolt business which they opened in Toledo shortly after World War II.

As recently as last month Mr. Ramisch was working as an industrial contractor for Sponseller Group Inc. in Holland, his daughter said.

"He always joked about how he would never retire," she said. Mr. Ramisch also was a founder of the Toledo regional chapter of the American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians.

He served as chapter president during the 1960s and was elected the national secretary and treasurer in 1967.

Following a lifelong curiosity, Mr. Ramisch took a ventriloquy class in the early 1980s and soon began giving ventriloquist shows at area schools, libraries, charity events, and nursing homes, Ms. Gillen said.

His used several dummies over the years, although his favorite went by the name Ted. The duo usually dressed in matching bow ties, jackets, and slacks

Mr. Ramisch also enjoyed volunteering his magician talents and could perform nearly every trick imaginable but for the rabbit-in-a-hat act, because he had no live rabbit, his daughter said.

An only child, Mr. Ramisch was born in Detroit and moved to Toledo while in junior high school. He graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1941, and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

As a youth he earned an Eagle Scout award in the Boy Scouts of America, and during the 1950s helped to establish Boy Scout troops at the former St. Anthony's Villa in Toledo and St. Joseph's Church in Maumee, his daughter said.

Mr. Ramisch was active in the Waterville Playhouse, and performed in numerous plays over the years, including Li'l Abner, Guys and Dolls, and Hello Dolly.

"He was fantastic," said Rosemarie Kehres, a friend and fellow stage performer. "Everybody loved to be in a play with him."

Surviving are his daughters, Candace Gillen and Claudia Ramisch; four grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow in Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee, where a Scripture service will be held at 7 p.m. The funeral will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the funeral home, and continue with a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. in St. Joseph's Church, Maumee.

The family suggests tributes to the Knights of Columbus Youth Fund or the Arthritis Foundation.



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