John Graham Ramsay

I have nothing but positive memories of John.

We first met when John interviewed me for the Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics MSc course in 1969. I turned up in borrowed shoes feeling quite inadequate, my only evident attribute probably being enthusiasm and even that must have been disguised by nervousness. My admission must have been at least in part due to John’s generosity of spirit and he even arranged a grant. He proved to be a magnificent lecturer, readily understandable. He again helped me some twenty years later in agreeing to a short sabbatical attached to ETH.

I recall a field trip when John produced one of his own hand drawn maps. I was slightly horrified. It seemed such a work of art that to expose this creation of John’s to the elements, although intended for open-air exposure, seemed a travesty. This must have been John’s normal, incredibly high standard and one of the many factors contributing to John’s advancements in structural analysis. Yet, despite his achievements at so young an age, he was the antithesis of pomposity. I recall helping to “bump” John on his 40th birthday, for which he held an excellent party.

Later we learned of more of his artistic talents, including poetry and music. John was clearly a man of many talents but my overwhelming memory is of kind informality. He had no need to advertise or emphasise his capabilities, and in consequence those of us who were taught by him were indeed extremely fortunate to experience his clarity of thought, his generosity and his natural warmth.

Tim Harper

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