Provost Peggy Agouris sent the following message to the campus community on May 24, 2021. - Ed.
Robert “Bob” Ransom Jr., a former Air Force band soloist, local bandleader, and Instructor of Jazz Trumpet at William & Mary, died on April 28th. He was born in Warrenton, NC, the eldest son of Robert Ransom, Sr. and Esther Ransom. He graduated from John R. Hawkins High School in 1951, and attended Howard University, majoring in Music. At Howard, he met and married Ruth Ransom on April 21,1954. In the same year, Bob joined the Air Force and spent the next 20 years playing with different groups across North, Central, and South America. The last 10 years of his military career were at Langley Air Force Base, where he was a featured soloist with the Tactical Air Command Band. He retired from the military in 1975 as a Senior Master Sergeant.
In 1980 Bob joined the faculty at Hampton University as the Assistant Director of Bands. There he headed up the sound engineering program and directed the university’s jazz ensemble for 16 years before joining the faculty at William & Mary in 1996. Bob also played with the Virginia Symphony, the Great American Music Ensemble, the Renaissance Big Band, the Roy Muth Jazz Band, and the Super Jazz Band. He retired from William & Mary in 2016 at the age of 82.
His wife, Ruth, pre-deceased him in 2019 after 67 years of marriage. A private funeral service was held on May 14 at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church where he was an active and dedicated member. Local musicians hope to soon honor his memory with a concert. Written condolences may be sent to O.H. Smith & Son Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 2515 Marshall Ave., Newport News, VA 23607.
A lovely tribute to him can be found here: https://www.wavy.com/news/local-news/portsmouth/local-pop-musician-and-educator-remembered-by-peers/