Loss of a good guy –  

Nov. 6, 2020 – Shortly before his death, Mr. Ramstad celebrated his 39th year of sobriety. He spoke openly on how he hit his low point. In 1981, he awoke from a blackout in a South Dakota jail cell after his arrest for a drunken disturbance at a Sioux Falls hotel coffee shop while he was a state senator. That shock started him on the road to recovery.

“If I had not wound up in that jail cell, I would not have sought treatment. I probably would be dead today,” he told the New York Times in 2006, for a story about how he became an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor for Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).

James Marvin Ramstad, whose father became president and chief executive of a car dealership, was born in Jamestown, N.D., on May 6, 1946. He was a 1968 graduate of the University of Minnesota and a 1973 graduate of George Washington University law school. He was in the Army Reserve from 1968 to 1974, then worked as a lawyer in Washington.

In 2005, he married Kathryn Mitchell. In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter.

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