The City of Concord is mourning the loss of former City Council Member J.E. “Jim” Ramseur who passed away on Friday, April 29, 2022. Through his more than 30 years of dedicated service, Ramseur helped create the vibrant city that attracts thousands of visitors each year and today ranks among the fastest growing in the region and safest in the state. His passion for Concord’s history and vision for the future is reflected in so many of the buildings and places residents love today. Concord is thriving because of Ramseur’s many contributions, which cannot be overstated and will not be soon forgotten.
“Jim’s life work was about making our city what it is today,” said Mayor Bill Dusch. “He was a thoughtful and pragmatic leader who always put those he served first. He loved our city and honored it by sharing its history.”
Ramseur served on Concord’s Planning and Zoning Board and was appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission in 1989, the same year Mayor Dusch joined the Commission. He was elected to City Council in 1995 and served until his retirement in 2015. Throughout his distinguished career, Ramseur was instrumental in helping the city strategically plan for its anticipated growth, while also working to preserve its rich history. He played a key role in the naming of Warren C. Coleman Boulevard/US 601 and Concord Parkway/US 29, and ensured the architecture of the current City Hall on Cabarrus Avenue West reflected features from the original 1902 building. He was also a strong advocate for more parks and greenways throughout the city, and in July 2021, the city named the future northwest park the J.E. Jim Ramseur Park in his honor.
“In our 30 years of serving together, Jim taught me that no detail is too small,” said Dusch. “From the design of the city hall windows, to ensuring Concord’s name appears during the nightly news weathercast, he took pride in our city and his work to improve residents’ quality of life. His careful stewardship and love for our city’s past, present, and future created the opportunities we enjoy today, and we are forever grateful.”
Members of City Council, including former members and city officials, joined Mayor Dusch in expressing their condolences and sharing their deep appreciation for Ramseur’s contributions to the City of Concord.
“Jim was an exceptional lover of Concord's history with a vision for its future,” said Council Member Andy Langford. “I will always be thankful when he encouraged me to run for City Council.”
“Few people loved Concord as much as Jim,” said Council Member Brian King. “He showed that love for his city with his passion for our history, and through his actions to make Concord even better for the future. He was a dedicated servant-leader to our community and we will miss him.”
“I first met Jim during the course of my career as an officer of the Concord Police Department,” said Council Member Betty Stocks. “He was kind and receptive in getting to know me as an individual. As I progressed toward another level, nothing changed with Jim. He remained kind, receptive and supportive of me. Jim loved Concord. He embraced Concord's past, present and future. He will be missed in the Concord-Cabarrus County Community. Peace & Blessings to the Family.”
“Jim was a steady and dedicated leader for our city,” said Council Member JC McKenzie. “His service and contributions too numerous to list. But like many, my lasting memory will be his knowledge of our history. No matter what I would ask him, within a day at most, I would have the answer.”
“Concord lost a true icon with Jim’s passing,” said Council Member Terry Crawford. “Jim’s twenty years of tireless service on Concord City Council, in addition to his prior service on the Planning and Zoning Commission, puts him in a very special group of past City servants with his tenure. Jim was also the ‘Historic Gatekeeper for Concord.’ His passion for preserving Concord’s past and making sure that citizens had access to the information was one of his hobbies. But most of all, Jim was a personal friend. When my wife and I first moved to Concord, Jim was the first local political figure we met. Later, when I made the decision to run for Council, Jim was one of the first people I met with and he offered me some great advice. I am grateful to have known Jim and to have called him a friend. I will miss him but not forget him.”
“When you think about the qualities that make up a great public servant, loving the city you serve is certainly a top quality,” said Council Member Jennifer P. Hubbard. “Jim Ramseur loved his city – he loved the people who lived in it, the people who served it, and the attributes it displays. His passion was displayed in every thought and decision. Jim's influence and hard work will live on. His deep knowledge of every aspect of history will be missed.”
“Jim was more than a Councilman, he was a historian, veteran, dad, husband, brother, friend to many and the smartest well-grounded man I have ever known,” said Council Member John Sweat Jr. “He always gave me advice and mentorship, but the best advice was when I first joined Council and he told me ‘listen to what you hear and also what is not directly said, you will learn volumes.’ He always ensured the questions and topics discussed about the city were thorough and to the point. He was an awesome photo-bomber and he would always pick up the phone when I called. Jim will be sorely missed, but we have a city park to enjoy with his namesake and a beautiful City Hall that he helped in the design by maintaining a part of our city history and architecture. I'll miss Jim's wit, most of all, and I will never look at May 4th the same way ever again. RIP Jim, you have served your country, community and family well.”
“Jim was one of the first people I met when I moved to Concord and we were friends for more than fifty years,” said former Mayor Scott Padgett. “I have never known anyone who served in more capacities for the City of Concord. What was most important was the manner in which he served. He was dedicated and had almost perfect attendance. He was practical and methodical in his approach on all issues that came before the boards he served. He was a watchdog for public expenditures and wanted to make sure Concord got the most value for the money it spent. He loved the City of Concord more than anyone I know. We have lost a great citizen and leader.”
“During the 20 years that we served together on the Concord City Council, Jim took the responsibilities of being a Councilmember very seriously and established his positions on issues based on what he felt was best for the city,” said former Council Member David W. Phillips. “He always studied his agendas, made detailed notes, and asked a lot of questions before he decided how he would vote. Jim’s contributions will continue to have a positive impact on the growth and success of the City of Concord for many years to come.”
“Jim Ramseur was an intellectual and kind gentleman,” said former Council Member Ella Mae Small. “He was a historian and knew a lot about the history of Concord and Cabarrus County. He used this knowledge to improve the quality of life of many people who lived in our area. Jim shared his thoughts with our council members, and made suggestions, that the council often agreed with. He was civic-minded and tried to make the City of Concord all that it could become for all people. I have missed him since he retired from Concord City Council, but he had continued to be involved with the city. My prayers and thoughts are with Terry, and the other members of Jim’s family.”
“Jim was an extremely effective leader because he loved the community where he was born and worked hard to maintain a sense of its history while constantly advocating for its future,” said former City Manager W. Brian Hiatt. “That perspective, along with his business acumen, made him so successful in the appointed and elected roles he accepted while serving Concord. His attention to detail was crucial in helping us build a responsive and accountable city government during times of rapid growth and an evolving local economy. I will certainly miss him, his leadership and his support.”
“My condolences to Jim’s family and recognition to him for his years of service to the City of Concord,” said former Council Member Al Brown, Jr.
Ramseur is a Concord native and seventh generation Cabarrus County Lutheran. He graduated from Concord High School in 1964 and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is survived by his wife, Terry, and his two children JD Ramseur and Beth Ramseur Myers.