Full of energy and determination, Agnes Rambo dedicated herself to more than twenty-five organizations and councils for nearly fifty years. When someone asked her why, she said “All my life I’ve been doing things in the community because I like people and I want to help wherever I can.” It was that simple to her.
Agnes Wilson was born in 1909 in Dalmuir, Scotland. She trained as a highland dancer, earning many medals and even performing before royalty. Later in life, she shared that skill by teaching local girl scouts. She was a Girl Scout leader for 14 years
She came to the United States with her family when she was 14. She married Peter Rambo when she was only 17 and they had four children: daughter Ellen (Haigh) and sons Peter, Robert and Charles Rambo.
During the 1940s, she worked at Forest Lawn Granite Works and was active in her children’s PTA groups. When the children grew up and moved away, she decided that “the house was like a morgue” and began volunteering.
For over fifty years, she was an enthusiastic volunteer at the Community Hospital (now Healthsource) and was president of its auxiliary and saw important changes and expansions that kept it an important part of the area’s health delivery system. When she wrote a letter of resignation in the late 1990s, the board refused to accept it and named her an honorary member.
She was vitally interested in mental health issues and served on the county’s Mental Health board from 1971 to 1979 and later sat on its advisory board. Governor William Milliken appointed her to his Health Planning Advisory Council. The former convent for Holy Family Church became a residential treatment center for disturbed women and was named Rambo House in her honor.
She served on the Saginaw County Commission on Aging, the Jury Commission and represented the Women’s Council before the Saginaw City Council and gave reports to that organization for twelve years.
In 1967, she was the first woman member of the board of supervisors of the Saginaw County Fair. She was superintendent of the hobbies department for almost forty years and always managed to put together a colorful and interesting show. Exhibits could include everything from tiny embroidered silk Chinese slippers for bound feet to collections of barbed wire and salt and pepper shakers.
In the late 1970s, she was president of the Big Sisters board of directors and president of the Saginaw Chapter of the American Association of Retired People. She also taught Sunday school at the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Said her son Charlie, “She served the community in so many ways that tracing the full measure of her influence could prove difficult.”
Her greatest passion was the Republican Party. She served as precinct captain, chairwoman of various committees and president of the Saginaw County Republican Women. She was a delegate to county and state conventions for twenty-five years. She proudly entertained two Presidents: Gerald Ford and President Nixon in her own home. Those presidential visits were thrilling experiences in a long lifetime.
Agnes Rambo died at the age of 95. Her old friend Harold Evans said, “It was just so very Agnes Rambo: she died on Presidents’ Day.”
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