Joan Joseph is the News and Features editor of The Catalyst. For the 2019-2020 school year she wrote for the features column. She has been on the staff...
A Tribute to Tammy Anthon
Members of the RE community reflect on their joyful memories with Ms. Anthon, who passed away in early October
October 31, 2020
For the past twenty years, whenever someone entered the gates of Ransom Everglades, the first RE family member they met was Tammy Anthon. The beloved Tammy was more than just a gatekeeper; she was a wonderful human being who made the Ransom Everglades community feel safe and comfortable.
For freshmen new to the upper school, their first encounter with Tammy was also the first encounter with their new school. And for seniors on their last day, the transition from student to alum was not complete without a final goodbye to Tammy.
Unfortunately, the RE community learned via an October 7, 2020 letter from Head of School Penny Townsend that Tammy had passed away due to surgery complications.
The effects of this loss continue to echo throughout the RE community—especially during this difficult time. “I’m not home right now so I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend her services,” alumna Erin Bakes ’18 said.
Because “it didn’t feel right to do nothing after hearing of her passing,” Bakes started a GoFundMe in Anthon’s memory. Within just 3 hours, the fund amassed over $10,700, with contributors ranging from alumni to current freshmen.
“I never expected the fundraiser to raise over $24,000, too … but I should have. The amount of money we raised in such little time is a testament to how many hearts Tammy touched during her time at RE,” Bakes explained.
Tammy brought joy, love, and compassion to the Ransom Everglades community, and the effects of this tremendous loss will continue to be felt for a long time. However, each memory and anecdote we hold of her should be an example of how to lead our lives.
As we drive by and look to the gate or as we walk to sign out and pass her gatehouse, we should be reminded of her messages of positivity, which should continue to resonate in our everyday actions. Since Tammy was such an important part of our lives at RE, The Catalyst asked members of the RE community to share their favorite memories of her. It is our intention to provide a sense of comfort both to those grieving and to those who never met her.
Anecdotes and Messages:
“I will never forget one of my first official visits to campus as the head-of school elect. It was in the fall of 2013, and I was not slated to assume the headship until July of 2014. I was coming to campus to be introduced to the full board of trustees, and Mr. Kislak, former board member and co-chair of the search committee, was driving me to campus. We stopped at the gate (no computer checks at the gate back then; Tammy just waved people in unless she did not recognize them) Mr. Kislak stopped the car and started to chat with Tammy. She greeted him by name, asked him how his two daughters were (they had graduated several years earlier), asked him how he and Mrs. Kislak were, and she waved us in. I remember thinking how great it was that Tammy was the face of Ransom Everglades. She was such a friendly and open person with a commanding presence, and she obviously valued her relationships with members of the community. As we drove around Lewis, Mr. Kislak turned to me and said: “Don’t ever lose Tammy.” Several years later we decided to change security companies. The one non-negotiable of the transaction was that Tammy had to be included in the contract with the new company, which doesn’t always happen. Fortunately for us, we prevailed. I also remember Tammy this past summer when the Covid numbers were surging. She never hesitated, in spite of her underlying medical conditions, to step out of the guardhouse and take the temperature of the people who needed to access the campus. She was brave in the face of Covid; she did her job as it was supposed to be done. She was happy to be back on campus, taking care of the place that she loved.” – Mrs. Penny Townsend, Head of School
“Tammy would always, always brighten my day. A quick chat before morning advisory was so welcoming, and occasionally having meals together and discussing my architecture work and other subjects was always so natural. I miss you dearly Tammy. You were sweeter than anyone.” – Joshua Abrams ’18
“Ms. Tammy was the type of person who made you feel better about being you. She was the type of person we all need in our lives. One who showed us her love through her side glances and wide smile; one who read us and told us things about ourselves that were sometimes hard to hear. Tammy Anthon was intuitive and was there for those who she sensed needed her and her strength the most. She was a remarkable singer, a proud mother, a doting grandmother, and the guardian angel for each student and faculty member who passed through those coral walls along Main Highway. A fighter, a survivor and believer in the innate good we each possess deep inside ourselves, Tammy challenged us to live that good each moment of every day. We must celebrate Ms. Tammy for she brought to our world something so few have the privilege of experiencing: care and compassion and love, sometimes real tough love, selflessly given without question or hesitation or expectation. “- Ms. Lindsay Danielson
“Tammy was a fundamental part of Ransom Everglades community. I am forever in debt to her as she gave the majority of her life protecting us students. Thank you Tammy, we miss you!!” – Cy Busson ’21
“Tammy always brightened my morning. Seeing her first thing entering school and her smile always made me smile. The several selfies I took with her will always be a reminder and an everlasting memory of her beautiful smile. Handing her my off-campus pass was always a chance to catch up on how she was doing and what was going on around campus. I once sat in her chair, and she didn’t tell me to get off, which made me feel as if we had a special relationship. I had done that before with other RE staff and was told to get off. She was always happy and glad to talk, and I will miss her endlessly especially knowing that when I return to visit campus, she will not be there to welcome me” –Karin Belausteguigoitia ‘20
“Tammy never failed to brighten my days in high school. I will never forget her smile in the mornings, and the small talk on my way off campus. She took notice when I was down, and never failed to make my day my day brighter. She supported our teams at games and went to the musicals and plays. Every student and faculty member can attest to the fact she was an asset to the Ransom Everglades community and an absolute ray of sunshine as a person. Her positive energy was contagious and radiated through the people she impacted at Ransom Everglades. Thank you, Tammy, for teaching me kindness, and let us honor her legacy by working to be the immensely caring person she was. May you Rest in Peace, beautiful angel. ” – Erin Bakes ’18
“Tammy was one of the best parts of my day every single time I went to school. Every morning, I would go through the gate and she’d greet me, smiling and waving. We would often have conversations that started with a cheerful ‘heyyy!!’ and ended with a ‘have a great day.’ She loved when I would bring my dog along for my drive to school. Whenever I was dreading going to school or having a bad day, I always knew my few moments with Tammy would be there; she would often be one of the brightest points in my day. I looked forward to seeing her every time I came to school. Whenever I’d leave for a travel competition (crew regatta), we’d talk about where we were going, and she’d wish me luck. When I told her I’d had a bad day, we would talk about things for a little while and she’d always make me feel a bit better.
On the first and last day of junior year, I brought Tammy flowers to celebrate us getting closer to the end of our time, which by that point had been about ten years. (My brother graduated in 2014.) On the first day back on campus for senior year, I brought Tammy sunflowers and she remarked how much she loved sunflowers. She told me she was so excited to see us graduate, and I could tell how much she cared about all of us. As I walked away from the gate that morning, I didn’t think it would be the last time I spoke to her, but I will be thinking of her on graduation day, and every day before that. Those daily conversations at the gate will always hold a special place in my heart. We’re all going to really miss Tammy.” – Felipe Campano ‘21
“To Tammy, thank you for everything. Every single day no matter what you always cheered all of us up with your infectious smile and love. When I would have tough days, I’d walk by Tammy and would talk through all of my issues. Never in my life have I met a person with the amount of care and love Tammy shared with all of us. God rest your soul, angel. Rest in Peace. Gone too soon.” – Matthew Weissmann ’20
“[I am] going to miss your smile. Tammy, thank you for spreading love and positivity every day.” – Elliot Sable ‘21
“See you in heaven, sweet Tammy! Thank you for the wonderful times in aftercare. We will never forget you, you always made Owen feel special and taken care of during summer camp. Heaven is rejoicing. You are back home my sweet friend.” – Mary Brisbane
“Rest in Peace, Tammy. You impacted our lives in ways words can’t express. It wasn’t your time to go. Thank you for everything.” – Andrew Weissmann ’18
“I would always come to school a little early, and when I would cross over, Tammy would always joke around and ask me questions, whether it was how I’m doing, why I looked sad, or if I had anything important to do. On days where I barely made it in time for advisory she always made sure to stop me and ask if anything was wrong. It’s hard to enter school and not think about her. She will truly be missed” – Joan Joseph ’21
“I am at a total loss for words. Tammy, you were loved by all and will be dearly missed. The most amazing woman…gone too soon. Rest in paradise.” – Michael Colonna, ’17