ST. PETERSBURG — For half a century, Gerry Ramsberger devoted his life to the youth of St. Petersburg.
He coached them in baseball, taught them in political science and mentored them.
"He commanded such respect," said his daughter, Katie. "In the profession that he chose, so many kids paid him accolades."
Mr. Ramsberger died Monday at the St. Petersburg home where he had lived for nearly 50 years. He was 88.
Born in Piscataway, N.J., Mr. Ramsberger joined the military on his 18th birthday and served with the Third Army, fighting in all five major European battles.
After the war, he married his childhood sweetheart, Dorothea Schellhorn. The couple was together 53 years until her death in February 2000. They had six children.
After he earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Notre Dame, the family moved to St. Petersburg in 1954.
He coached baseball and football and taught at Boca Ciega and Northeast high schools from 1956 to 1968. In the mid 1960s, Mr. Ramsberger also helped run the Neighborhood Youth Corps, which helped at-risk youth find part-time jobs.
During a teacher's strike in 1968, he sided with the teachers and lost his job. But that opened a door at St. Petersburg College, where he taught for 30 years.
After retiring in 1998, Mr. Ramsberger became a familiar face to many as the press box attendant for the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Just last week, the baseball fields at Boca Ciega were renamed Gerry Ramsberger Fields in his honor.
Mr. Ramsberger is survived by three daughters, Katie and Kerry Ramsberger, and Becca Poltorak; and three sons Peter, a longtime Pinellas circuit judge, and Timothy, general manager of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and Thomas, who was also elected as a circuit judge in 2012.
He also had numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
The family is planning a celebration of life for 10 a.m. May 18 at the Boca Ciega High School auditorium.
Times columnist John Romano contributed to this report.