Thom Ramakers – R.I.P. 1958 – 2010

Totally in shock and devastated as his life was taken, long before he was done giving.

Teaching was his absolute passion.

With great sadness and devastation we learned that our webmaster, friend and my brother, Thomas Ramakers passed away last Friday from a massive heart attack while visiting his wife in the Dominican Republic.
I’m writing this as the shock and devastation is still so much larger than the understanding.

Strange is in hindsight that he spoke with about everyone he had immediate dealings with at this stage of his life just the day before; he attended a party that evening for his wife’s daughter’s graduation, which he had encouraged and financed; his emails 5 hours prior to his passing were upbeat…and than he was gone!

51 is too young, even if we don’t get guarantees. The only thing we know is, he had so much more to give….he wasn’t done yet, not by a far stretch. Thom was a teacher  who loved to pass on what he had learned and while he was learning. His appetite for learning was voracious and his intensity to pass this on sometimes overwhelming.

Straight out of highschool at 17, he was signed by a Dutch professional soccer club on a promising contract. He played his first game, scored three times and broke his ankle, a career ending event.
Laconically he shrugged it off and decided to pursue medicine instead and became an MD at age 22 with natural healing as specialism. He operated a very successful practice for about 8 years, but turned increasingly disillusioned as the medical establishment kept questioning his highly successful natural healing methods and procedures. So disappointed actually that after visiting me in the Caribbean Islands in the late 1980s, he decided on a career change, sold his practice and moved to St.Maarten, where we ran several tourism related marketing companies for more than a decade.

Having a God-given natural ability to correctly diagnose problems and focus on solutions, Thom did not need a formal education in Internet Technology. He was there from day one and very early on had sold his soul to Apple Computers and learned everything about website building and online technology, while constantly upgrading and updating his knowledge and understanding.
Thom and internet technology were joined at the hip like a scientist and a lab; he was driven and consumed by it.

Thom’s life was far from finished when his heart gave out last Friday and neither is his legacy. He had plans and visions and was working on the future. We daily had long dialogs and conversations. I could throw him bizarre ideas and he would somehow make the technology work for the internet.

He was not frail but his health was not superb either and even though he loved the islands and the water, his favorite worktime and pastime was in front of his computers in an air conditioned room. Sixteen hour days on the computer were rule and not an exception for him and those who did meet him under social circumstances got a rare glimpse of his brilliance, often beyond the realm of total understanding.

He particularly loved French wines, which he had studied intensely and tasted even more; he loved gourmet cooking which he did with the same sense of perfection as a medical diagnosis.

We may pale a little trying to fill his footsteps, but it is our privilege and objective to remember everything he ever taught us about the internet.

My friend Chris deBurgh sang in 1979 “They say that the Stars in the Sky are the Souls of the People who Die”

Thom’s Star is shining brightly somewhere out there in the Universe. It will light us on our path to Carry On.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mrJfgtUmUc

I miss you very much My Brother and Friend

24 Comments

  1. ameliadude

    I am happy that I was able to not only meet Thom, but enjoy many social interactions with him as well. He will be missed tremendously! I am sure he is continuing his teaching on a higher level now! R.I.P.

  2. KC

    R.I.P. Thom. You will be missed and remembered!

  3. Cynnielynn

    Thank you for sharing with us, Han. Thom will be missed by many people. I enjoyed speaking with him and reading his daily comments on SearchAmelia. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Cyndi

  4. rckmom47

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as you try to come to grips with this tragedy…we love you all so much!
    Louise & David

  5. Ameliaprivateeye

    There simply are no words to describe the depth of the impact he has had on my life both professionally and personally. Yes a teacher, more importantly… a friend… and those great memories will be cherished!

  6. SDH

    The last time I saw Thom he just started explaining some complex facets of internet. Like all great teachers, he made sure I understood. It was obvious he enjoyed sharing his knowledge – his smile said it all. Thom’s passing is a tragedy. I can’t fathom the loss you must be feeling: brother, partner, teacher, friend. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  7. Jessica Miller

    Johan, a beautifully written tribute to your brother for all of us who didn't know him to enjoy. God bless you and your family as you grieve over this loss.

  8. Neal

    There will forever be a shadow across our hearts with Thom's passing. He did so much for us and was such a great friend. We are shocked and deeply saddened at the news. Our prayers and deepest sympathy to Han, TJ, Ivana and all of Thom's friends and family. Thom left us way too soon. God bless….Neal, Chris, Heather, Rachel – “Blistur”

  9. Jeff Malone

    Han-My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, my friend. Along with Thom's passion for teaching, with your insight of his life, it is apparent that he enjoyed the journey of life. Jeff

  10. Marc Crutchfield

    Han, I have been struggling with this all day since I first heard the news. Words cannot express the impression that Thom left had left with me. The dinners at each of our houses, the music we played that he so loved to hear in the garage and great conversations we all had over some home made grog. I'm just honored to say that I knew hom even if only for a short while. My dear friend you know without me saying that whatever I can do. Give my cousin a hug from me as well as the rest of the family. I will see you soon.

    Marc

  11. Walravens Muriel

    This was so beautifully written Han , I have met Thom a few times, he was such a nice person. I pray for you and your family in this time of sorrow. Han als je and TJ iets nodig hebt we zijn juist een telefoontje weg over de brugge hier in Yulee+++++++
    Muriel W. Couch and family

  12. Innkeeper

    I will miss Thom very much, he was a very special person and I agreed with him about so many things; in medicine, about the internet, about people and about life. He had created something here with you Hans that was very special and many people were dependent on. He will be missed by many. He was extremely gifted and unique.

  13. Suzanne

    What a beautiful message honoring Thom's life and this song is a gorgeous tribute and reminder to us to live strong and love life…It is so short. Our ongoing prayers are with you all.

  14. Ndeonas

    A beautiful tribute to a truly great person. I am still in shock about his passing. I learned so much from Tom and enjoyed many conversations not only about technology and medicine but life itself. I lost my father in 1969 and I still miss him each and every day. Han, there are certain people in our lives who leave voids when they pass that can never be filled. Tom will be missed every day. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  15. Ronveaux

    words don't express our feeling of lose dear Han

  16. slicesoflife

    I had the privilige to meet Thom trough the European American Business Club. I enjoyed his depth of knowledge about so many topics, his fast intelligence and his continuous willingness to help. Thom, you will be missed.

    When he shall die Take him and cut him in little stars And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun
    – William Shakespeare

  17. Natasja Ramakers

    Upsetting, scary and incomprehensible; on the same day Thom died I booked a trip to the Dominican Republic with my husband, 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter. I told my father (Thoms brother Wim) to send him an email that I was visiting the island I knew he was connected to but wasn't sure he was staying in….. silently hoping to see Thom and his family again after such a long time… It must have been over 10 years. It was not planned but nevertheless a unique opportunity… Unfortunately…. Therefor I can only learn from your exchanges what his life must have been those years. And I am happy to learn from all of your words that his passions remained the same. I remember a great concert of Peter Gabriel he invited me to probably trying to teach me something on music as a 12 year old…., As of today I am still treating my own children with the medicines I remember using myself as a child upon his prescription, and they still do the trick…The many wonderful holidays we spent together on the ski slopes of Austria, in Spain and Norway.. I also recognize some quotes here and there that my grandma, his mother used. Sensing comfort, that although lives have seperated you still can find some redlines that keep the link alive….sadness that it wasn't meant to be although we were probably so close… My thoughts are with his family that I unfortunately know so little of and with you Han.

    Natasja Ramakers

  18. Suzanne

    Han…Here is a song I love…thought I would share it with you…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBHcUv_42zI&feature=related

  19. Dave Ferraro

    This is a great tribute to him Han.
    It must of been both a joy and a hardship to write it.
    While you are recounting his life – only some of the highlights – you are also saying goodbye.
    You are stronger than I am.
    Nothing I can say will be of help to you right now, so I'll just say I'm sorry.
    Dave

  20. TJ Seaton / Ramakers

    As Han’s wife, I know he is a gifted writer, but this far exceeds anything else he has written because it came from the depths of his heart and soul.
    Han has lost his baby brother and friend of 51 years, his intellectual equal, his sounding board, his business partner of many years and so much more. The loss goes deep, but I have seen the comfort that our friends and family has brought to him by all your caring and the love we share for Thom.
    We all feel the pain of Thom’s short time with us but each day I feel more peaceful knowing and seeing the legacy he left behind of teaching, healing and the caring for others. He made a true difference in the lives of so many.
    Thank you for all the love and concern, it means more than you know.
    Please always share your personal memories and stories of Thom with us. They have such wonderful healing powers.

  21. Edvandermeulen

    To Han and his other brothers in Holland. I was overwhelmed as I heard of the death of Thom. It came as a shock, because he was so young and so active.
    I knew Thom as my youngest cousin who lived about twenty years nextdoor in Heerlen (the Netherlands). So I grew up with him. In that period I remember him as a smart and energic boy, who knew what he wanted.
    As he left Holland and went to St. Maarten we lost contact.
    It is good to read what other people write about Thom. How he helped them, supported them. How social he was and how deeply he was loved.
    This has supported me and will also support Han and his brothers. I wish them much strength in bearing this great loss of losing their youngest brother.
    Cousin Ed Vandermeulen

  22. S.Carroll

    This is a wonderful tribute to your brother Han, I am so sorry to hear of your, and your family's loss. You could always see the caring and love of teaching in his eyes. My prayers are with you and your family.

  23. Richard Kastelein

    I met Thom in Sint Maarten a decade ago – and he was a brilliant man. Abolutely one of my earliest inspirations on the potential of the Internet, startups, and an emerging new media paradigm. Was very sad to google his name today, to see what he was up to, to discover this eloquent tribute to one of the great visionaries in the Caribbean, who was instrumental in connecting our island to the the greater world on so many levels.

    RIP Thom.

    Richard Kastelein
    Groningen, Netherlands.

  24. Anonymous

    To Richard Kastelein: Thank you Richard. It helps to know that he made a deep impact on so many levels and in so many circles. I miss him every day.

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