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On Saturday evening, my good friend and Charleston magazine entertaining style editor Mitchell Crosby shared the sad news that beloved grand dame, businesswoman, and philanthropist Mrs. Mary Croghan Ramsay had passed away.

In honor of Mrs. Ramsay and her unfailing dedication to her native city, we have unarchived this excerpt from “Patron Saints of the Arts” (written by Anne T. Pope, May 2004) in which she was featured. Charleston has lost one its true gems.

Patron Saints of the Arts: Mrs. Mary Croghan Ramsay
Grande dame of the Charleston cultural scene, Mary Ramsay has given her time
and talents to numerous organizations that have helped enrich her beloved
hometown. Her eyes sparkle recalling her experiences; from modeling for art
classes and her first development assignment in 1938 as a 15-year-old
freshman at the College of Charleston (she raised $10,000 for the Gibbes
Museum of Art), to a recent reunion with master cellist Yo-Yo Ma, whom she
first met when he was a young Spoleto Chamber Music performer. “It’s been
wonderful to see how the arts in Charleston have flourished over the years,”
she smiles. “I’m lucky to have been involved.” In addition to Ramsay’s
personal touch, her longtime family business, Croghan’s Jewel Box (now run
by daughter Marianna Hay) gives generously of its precious baubles for
auctions that support the arts. “I tell fundraisers that if I’m out of
money, they can always have the jewels.”

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