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Obituary of Ramona Updegraff
Ramona Moorefield Updegraff, 92, passed on November 21, 2022. She was the loving spouse of Ambrose G. Updegraff MD who passed a year earlier. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, she graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1946. She attended St. Pete Junior College and received her R.N. degree from Charity Hospital in New Orleans, La in 1950. From there, she did specialized internships in Ocular motility at both Loyola (Chicago, Illinois), Cornell (NY,NY) and the University of Iowa - where she met Ambrose. Married in July, 1954, the couple were committed to helping the St. Petersburg community with Eye care. She was the Chief Orthoptist at the then Mound Park Hospital (now Bayfront Medical Center). Ramona put people at ease with her laugh, smile, enthusiasm and her genuine desire to make the community better. She was past president of the St. Anthony’s Women’s Auxiliary and past president of the St. Petersburg YWCA. She was a Red Cross volunteer. For fun, she loved to sail and was an active part of the “Salty Sisters” at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. She played Bridge her whole life and loved the camaraderie forging lifelong friendships. She practiced as an Orthoptist in Ambrose’s ophthalmic practice and raised four children in Allendale.
She found peace at our gulf beaches and moved there in 1980. She quickly realized the future “growing pains” of the region and the stresses placed on her beloved Gulf. Not to sit idle, Ramona became a Commissioner at Redington Beach from 1981-1985 and during that time received her B.A. in Human Resources from Eckerd College in 1984. She was Mayor of Redington Beach from 1986-1990. She is credited for stopping the mass construction of “Breakwaters” along Gulf beaches. Although a contentious time, no doubt she saved lives, as the one breakwater in existence has had multiple drownings and currently creates a public health hazard. For her contributions to the state, then Governor Bob Martinez appointed her to the Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Subsequently she served on the Non-game Wildlife Advisory Board for the State of Florida.
Ramona always encouraged others and was a master at connecting people to make the community better. In a room full of people, you always knew where Ramona was by her incredible laugh. She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Ruth Moorefield, and three siblings, Eleanor, George Jr. and Beverly; Grandchild Isaac and Nathaniel. Ramona is survived by her children Elizabeth, Katherine, Stephen, Michael; Grandchildren Brooks, James, William, Thomas, Sarah, John, Abigail, Ruth, Emily, Hannah, Julia; Great-grandchildren Ian, Sadie, Felix, Blake, Tychicus and Evangelyn.
Ramona’s funeral service will be Saturday, February 4, 2023, 10am at First United Methodist Church, 212 3rd Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dr. William A. Smalling Scholarship fund at First United Methodist.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Ramona Updegraff, please visit our Tree Store