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Community mourns a selfless 'dynamo'

Theresa Ramirez (click for larger version)
August 02, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — What her friends most vividly about Theresa G. "Terry" Ramirez is her dynamic personality.

"She was a real dynamo in wonderful ways," the Rev. Peter Joyce of St. Mary's parish on Hamilton Street in Southbridge, where Ramirez was a faithful member, said Friday.

Ramirez, 70, of Alpine Drive in Southbridge, was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Stafford Street in Leicester at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28.

At the time of the accident Ramirez was returning home from a visit to her husband of 47 years, Southbridge Planning Board member Peter Ramirez at a rehabilitation facility in Worcester, where he had been staying due to a prolonged illness. Ramirez was scheduled to return home to his wife the following day.

In the days after the accident, Joyce said the loss of Ramirez has shaken the entire parish.

"She was a great lady," Joyce said. "So many of us here really feel that loss."

A home economics teacher in the Southbridge school system prior to raising her two sons and one daughter, Ramirez was also a beloved Sunday school teacher at St. Mary's.

"She loved children," Joyce continued. "She was a great teacher in our religious education program and for First Communion."

"And the children loved her," the pastor added. "The children in our parish particularly, are very devastated by this."

"She was a go-to person, you gave Terry a task and she would get it done," Joyce recalled. "There were times that I went to her for advice and would know that her advice would be honest and fair."

As donations to the church, Ramirez had handmade numerous alter cloths and vestments for different services.

An accomplished seamstress, Ramirez co-owned and operated TeriAnn Creations in Wellesley with her sister, where they crafted children's clothing for two decades.

Ramirez even gifted Joyce with all of the attire for his 25th anniversary Mass.

"Terry made a whole set of vestments," Joyce recalled. "The priests that were in the sanctuary with me, and the two deacons all had matching vesture. She actually sewed every one of them."

Reflecting on that occasion, Joyce is haunted by how prophetic a quip from Ramirez turned out to be.

"It's striking because I remember she told me she had everything cut out and she made my vestment first, she said, so if anything happens to her, I'd have my mine," Joyce said. "I didn't realize how a year later, those words would come back to me."

The evening of the accident, Ramirez was traveling west on Stafford Street in a 2002 Ford sedan when she collided with a 2003 Ford Explorer traveling north on Auburn Street.

According to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early's spokesman Timothy J. Connolly, no charges had been filed in the accident as of Friday and the ongoing investigation was "still status quo."

The Explorer was operated by 20-year-old Anthony Doray of Leicester who is employed as a dispatcher for the Auburn Police Department and is the son of Leicester Police Officer Paul Doray.

Because of the familial relation Doray has to a member of the Leicester department, the decision was made to hand the investigation of the crash over to the district attorney.

Doray and his passenger, Matthew Cummings, also 20, of Spencer, were transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Joyce said that while he and his flock are saddened by Ramirez's passing, their hearts go out to Doray's family as well.

"We're also concerned, and praying for the young man who did this. He's a very young man, this is a very tragic thing," Joyce said, indicating that he had spoken with Doray's family.

"Nobody wins in these events," Joyce said. "Everybody loses something, it's very sad."

News staff writer Christopher Tanguay may be reached at (508) 909-4132, or by e-mail at ctanguay@stonebridgepress.com.

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