The Real Housewives of Benton County Present: Alice Rampton-Building a beautiful community and family

Note the lovely twinkle in those eyes.

If you have lived in Corvallis for a long time, there is a good chance that you know or have at least heard of the Rampton family (Sofia was delivered by Alice’s husband). Alice Rampton is an intelligent, beautiful, funny, and loving woman who has done so much good for the community. I received messages of appreciation from all of Alice’s children and her husband, and they all seem to think that she is something special too. I must admit that I got a little misty eyed reading all of their comments, because I just could so strongly feel the love and admiration for Alice and see the influence for good that she has been and continues to be. Enjoy their heart felt comments (because there are a whole lot of them to enjoy), and then scroll down to read an interview that left me feeling happy and inspired, and I hope that you all will feel that way too!
One of the greatest joys of being married to Alice, is her fun-loving sense of humor.  A few weeks ago, we were out to a buffet dinner with a crowd of people, and I sneaked a couple of sardines onto her plate.  She hates sardines (probably the eyeballs and guts).  So, halfway through my dinner, she simple took her full glass of ice water, and dumped the whole thing on my head, in front of the world.  I knew better than to try to get even, cause she would never quit the tit-for-tat.  And her mischief is always innocent: water, but never red punch.
She is such a loving wife: passionate, playful, fun, very open, makes her needs known clearly, and, most important, expects the best from everyone, which is a way of saying that we all are deeply valued by her.”
-Mark Rampton

My mom is the most amazing woman that I know. She has helped me to realize that being influential is not dependent upon how high a position you hold politically or corporately, but upon how much you strive to better the world around you.  When we were kids, I remember my mom telling us to pick up trash at a campsite even though it was there before we arrived.  She believes strongly in “leaving the world better than you found it.”  My mom has definitely worked hard to improve the world around her.  She has given so much time to various organizations in Benton County: the Benton County Historical Society, the Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister City Association (especially the TOUCH program that supports orphans, latchkey, and disabled kids), the Boys and Girls Club, Wilson Elementary and Wildcat Park, Safety Town, the Mormon Church, and so forth.
My mom taught me that when something wasn’t right, you worked to fix it.  I remember her gathering signatures in the Wilson Elementary School parking lot, so that there would be buses to keep kids from crossing a dangerous street.  Most importantly, my mom is a supportive, loving mother of seven kids.  We are not all peas in a pod, and I remember once that my mom said to me and to one of my sisters: “If you two can learn to love each other, you can learn to love anyone!”  Well, we did learn that lesson, mostly because she and my dad did a good job of appreciating each of us for our unique strengths.  My mom inherited her own mother’s huge heart, and her father’s sense of humor. For us, Mom exemplified humor, love, hard work, sophistication, commitment, thoughtfulness, and service. I love her, and can’t think of a person I would like more to be like!”
-Lisa Rampton Halverson

“My mom was always there….I too remember when I came home from school.  She was excited to see me and would take a few minutes to ask about my day.  And somedays were hard days and I needed her.  She was there.  Her simple words and hug was exactly what I needed. Even now, I can call her on the phone any time of day (even with our 3 hr time difference and miles away) when I have had a long day with my kids, and she is there listen.
I have always admired her partnership with my dad.  They are a team.  I’m sure others have figured this out that when they ask my dad to help out with something they will also get a lot of help from my mom!  It is a 2-for-1 deal!!:) The love each other so much and care about the things that are important to other.  They make projects fun, successful, and motivating.  They are the perfect team!
I remember one summer we went to Palo Alto for my older sister Lisa’s college graduation.  We had plans to play in the sun, vacation, relax etc.. but my parents also knew that their kids needed a little service too!  Before we left town, my mom spent time researching service opportunities and projects we could do in the Bay Area.So in the middle of our vacation we headed over to Habitat for Humanity to help build a house!  I’m sure I complained and grumbled but in the end it made the vacation matter!  And now that I’m a parent, I want my kids to care about helping others too!
Service has always just been a way of life for my parents.  They care deeply about the community they live in.  And so getting involved in programs and activities that directly impacted their children made sense.  When we were young my mom volunteered in the church youth programs and planned meaningful service projects and activities.  She joined others together to build Wildcat Park so we had a super playground around the corner. She started Safety Town in Corvallis because she had experienced firsthand the impact in another community. She was involved with the Graduation All Night Party.  I know she spent hours driving us to and from cub scouts/girl scouts, piano, sports, HVCC, and other activities. She and dad taught Preparing for the Drug Free Year to other parents. She was involved with the Boys and Girls Club programs and building a new center.  She volunteered is the classroom and schools….the list goes on and on.  As we have grown up and left home, she has spent countless hours on TOUCH and Sister Cities and Shipments, the Historical Society Museum, and as Stake Relief Society President.
My mom is dedicated to her family, the community and church.  She doesn’t just get involved for a few minutes but until the job is done!!!  She finds a way to balance it all and along the way motivate others to do more and serve more. I am lucky to call her MOM!”
-Meta Phillips

“One thing that comes to mind about my mom is how well she encouraged her kids to develop into who they wanted to be. She could look past my thick side burns, curly afro of hair, and 70s style garb, and saw me as an individual trying to define myself in the world. The outward appearance was always less important to her than the man I was becoming and the characteristics that were important. She always facilitated my endeavors, be it sports, music or hobbies. She allowed me expand my horizons and find out what I was truly passionate about. At times that meant looking past my shortcomings or “follies of youth”, but it always entailed the understanding of a loving mother.”
Marcus Rampton
Southern Pines, NC

“I have had the opportunity of learning from Alice for the last 10 years, as I am married to her third child Marcus. I have felt so blessed to be able to bask in her goodness over the years. She is an example of everything a woman should be: she is loving, compassionate, strong, funny, gracious, brave, smart, soft, and unparralled in her dedication in making the world a better place.
I obviously never knew Alice as a mother of young children but I have seen the fruits of her dedication to her children’s upbringing. She has raised children that are uniquely aware of those around them, who put others needs above their own, who are devoted to their spouses and children, who know how to laugh and have fun and who have a true sense that we as human beings are all part of one family, all deserving of love and respect.
I had the opportunity of traveling to Ukraine with Alice a few years ago. I had always heard of the work she does there yet I could not have imagined the impact this one woman could have until I walked into the chatslisvi orphanage behind her. The children flocked to her, they wanted to be right next to her, to say hello to grab some of the goodness that Alice exudes.  What really impacted me is how she knew every detail of the building and grounds of the orphanage. She took us around and showed us the changes that had been made to make the orphanage a cleaner, happier, more comfortable place for these children to live. The playground, new tile, new beds and desks were all new and fresh. She finds her happiness in that, knowing  in that little town across the globe, those children know that someone cares.Alice is a mother to many. Her motherly influence extends far beyond the 7 children who were blessed call her mother. She has always been an example to me of the true definition of motherly love.”
Rebecca Rampton
Southern Pines, NC

“One of my most vivid, and oft occurring memories of my mother is sitting snuggled up next to her on the couch in our living room after a long day of school.  She chose to be a SAHM and always made a point to be there for us when we came home from school.  Somehow she managed to make every single one of her school-aged children feel special when they walked through that front door, coming home from school.  I remember her often saying “Anna, come sit on the couch with me and tell me about your day”.  And then we’d have some one on one time.
During this most recent mother’s day, I had a friend share the following mothering advice: “For my mom it was all about the first 5 minutes after we got home from school. She would drop everything to talk and see how things went at school”.  After hearing this, I immediately thought of my own mom and how she too made a point of doing this and how it made me, the “middle-child” who could have easily gotten lost in the sheer number of kids running around, feel special on a daily basis.  I can’t help but think this tradition impacted us kids more than she may have ever imagined.  All of my brothers and sisters, myself included have a fulfilling relationship and love Mom so dearly and I can’t help but feel like it perhaps it is because she really gave us her all during those precious, tender young years.  I will be forever grateful to her for that.”
-Anna (Rampton) Fowler
Bentonville, AR

“One of the things I really, really admire about my mom is how somehow in the midst of putting her heart and soul into raising 7 kids, she managed to become involved and volunteer with a number of Corvallis institutions. I can barely manage to find time to volunteer for one, yet my mom was/is involved more than I can remember- The Boys and Girls Club, PEO, Corvallis Sister Cities, Benton County His. Museum, PTA’s of our various schools, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and  Community Outreach. Seriously, I am so amazed at my mom. I strive to be more like her each day.
One more thing- When I was a kid, whenever my mom was driving around town in Corvallis, she’d roll down the windows and turn up the oldies station (at the time it was 99.1 goldies oldies) and sing along. My mom knew all the words to pretty much every single oldies song. When I was really little, I loved it. Then I got to be about 12 and hated it. Now, we do it together. My mom is also really, really good at dancing along to oldies songs. She knows these specific moves that go along with specific songs. She is so much fun to be around! Makes me smile thinking about all the fun we had as kids dancing with mom in the living room.”
-Sara Egbert
Seattle Washington

“My mom is an amazing person!! She’s always put the needs of other before hers. She has a way of finding a way to bless other peoples lives even different way. She has been such a fun mother also. I can remember going on mom-son dates to the doughnut shop or other places and my mom knew how to make it special for me every time. She was good at letting her children have freedom to decide and choose for themselves but always guiding us in the right direction with her actions and choices. “
-Bobby Rampton

“Alice has been my mom for almost two months now, since I married her youngest in June. I remember silently listening to conversations between Bobby and her on the phone when we were engaged, too nervous to introduce myself as the girlfriend. I knew right away that she was a special lady. My first memory of her was when Bobby put her on speakerphone without me knowing and she told him that she was going to some bingo night for a charity, but not to tell me because she didn’t want me to that that she was a gambler:)I didn’t.
The more I learned about Alice, the more I was impressed. Bobby kept casually mentioning things that his mom was or had been involved with like by saying, “Oh there is the Boys and Girls Club in Provo. My mom helped with that in Corvallis.” or “Oh yeah I went to Ukraine because my mom runs an orphanage there.” By-the-way!! But even with her large projects, Alice is extremely personable and really loves the individual.
When we were dating, Bobby told me that he was looking for someone who was like his mom. Hopefully I become close! She is an amazing woman.”
-Jessica Rampton

The Mrs. and The Mr. married for 39 years.

Alice with a handful of her beautiful grandkids that were visiting. Some look happy to be in picture, but one in particular looks she would rather be off playing :).

Kara-You are extremely involved in the community and have been for years. Tell me a little bit about your work with the Benton County Historical Society and what you are working on.
Alice- I’ve either been on the board or an advisor to the Benton County Historical Society (BCHS) for over 10 years. I’m really excited about the future of the BCHS and especially the early stages of a campaign to build a museum in downtown Corvallis at 2nd and Adams.  When the BCHS acquired the Horner Museum collection, which was located in the basement of Gill Coliseum, the two collections were combined and now represent the third largest collection in the state of Oregon.  The museum will feature history, art, culture, and technology.  It will be a hub for learning in downtown Corvallis and have an education space for young and old, a museum store, 2 courtyards, and 4-5 large gallery spaces.  I envision people of all ages coming there to learn, enjoy beauty, be in awe of creativity, learn about the history of Benton County, and feel inspired.  Corvallis is the only city its size in Oregon without a museum.   It’s time!  Here’s a link to the BCHS The BCHS museum in Philomath will continue but will likely expand its research facilities. Right now, there’s a great exhibit at the Philomath headquarters on toys and amusements throughout the various eras of time.  Kids will enjoy seeing the glow in the dark rocks, the doll houses, games, bikes, etc. 

Kara-You are also very involved with Corvallis’ sister city in the Ukraine. How often do you visit the Ukraine, and what do you do when you are there? Is there anything that any interested local Corvallis people can do to help?
Alice- With a good friend, Sabra Killen, I co-chair a program entitled The TOUCH Project (Take One Ukrainian Child’s Hand) through the Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association.  The program involves the sponsorship of over 300 children in Uzhhorod, Ukraine (Corvallis’ sister city) including children at an orphanage, a Roma school, a youth facility, and a center for kids with disabilities. We work in a volunteer capacity and thus all of the funds raised go directly to benefit the children. Sabra and I go over each year, usually in September, and take a delegation with us.  This year, 22 people are going with us. During our 12-14 day stay, we take the children shopping or on outings, advocate for their rights through meetings with government agencies, perform some type of service like painting the school, meet with our Ukrainian counterparts including our director in Ukraine, Zita-Bathori Tartsi.  People who want to help in some way can become a TOUCH sponsor and/or become a member of the Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association by going to the link:

Kara-You were baptized into the Mormon church when you were 18. Can you tell us a little bit of how that came to be and what role your faith plays in your life?
Alice- I had the best parents in the world- Bob and Alice Henderson.  They raised their four daughters in a loving home.  They were service oriented and valued tolerance and fairness.  When I went away to the University of Oregon, I appreciated all of those things that they had given me, but I had questions about the nature of God, revelation, our eternal nature, and the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ.  I went to various churches, enrolled in “Great Religions”at UofO, and ended up studying the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and being baptized.  My faith has built on the wonderful foundation provided by my parents and gave me strength and purpose in my life, my marriage and in raising a family.

Kara-You are the mother to 5 daughters and two sons, but one daughter passed away at 20 months after battling a cancer called neuroblastoma. What helped your family get through what I must imagine must have been a very painful time of your life? Do you have any advice for other families who are grieving or may have recently lost a loved one?
Alice- The love and support of my husband, children, parents, in-laws, extended family, friends, and neighbors all helped during the grieving process.  Time heals but you always have an ache for that child or loved one.  Mark and I read books and went to a support group.  We also went through counseling. We also worked hard to maintain a sense of order and stability for our other kids who were 12 years and younger.  All of this helped.  But the most important factor was having faith that I will see Lora Dorothea again someday and she will be happy, strong, and cancer-free.

Kara-What is the first random happy memory that pops into your head when you think about raising your children when they were younger?
Alice- Driving with all the kids in our big brown van and singing songs from the 50s and 60s with them. Watching them put on neighborhood plays in our backyard with about 30 kids during the summer time.  Playing croquet or riding bikes together.  Listening to the funny things they said as kids.  I wrote some of them down and now we all hoot and holler when we read these things together.

Kara-You have been married for 39 years. Do you have any advice about how couples can nurture their marriages during the joyful but very exhausting years of raising children?
Alice- You need to make/find time to prioritize your relationship with your spouse.  I would always try to find a dependable babysitter when I moved to a new community.  It can be expensive but it’s worth it.  Sharing childcare with other moms worked, too.  Mark’s schedule as a Family Practice doc was hectic and unpredictable so I also had to be flexible, expect the unexpected, and be satisfied with doing things alone or with friends if he was busy or delivering a baby.  Just getting away would energize me and help keep the home more peaceful and joyful.  We  also  made a concerted effort to be involved in the same activities- teaching parenting classes, co-chairing shipments of aid to Ukraine, taking swing dancing, reading a book or scriptures together, taking a class, going to a lecture or movie. Mark was very supportive when Pat Starker and I started Corvallis Safety Town.  He never squelched my ideas and desires.  It’s easy to drift apart during this time and you have to almost fight for time alone and together.  In our early marriage, we tried to say three nice things about each other before we went to sleep. Learn what you need to learn to communicate effectively with one another. Although we had a traditional marriage where he was the breadwinner and I stayed home during the day with the kids, we worked hard to have an equal marriage and partnership.  We defined our own roles in the relationships based on our  skills and interests.  He made the bread and I mowed the lawn.

Kara-What are some hobbies you have or other things you are passionate about that we haven’t already talked about?
Alice- I love family history. It’s like solving mysteries, learning about your roots, and connecting people.  I used to teach genealogy at the public library in Augusta, Georgia when we lived there for three years.  But that was pre-computers and so my goal is to get things updated and organized on my computer.  Sometimes I imagine that it would be interesting to be a detective.  I also write articles or chapters for books in my head.  I like writing and started out in journalism at UO.  And I love to travel to other countries, learn about the history and people of a another place, enjoy their food, beaches, historical sites, culture, parks, and museums.

Kara-What brings you peace and happiness?
Alice- Sitting outside on a warm summer day with a good book.  Watching a great BBC series with my husband.  Being with family in a relaxed setting.  Knowing that  all of God’s creations have a piece of divine inside each of them.  Laughing with friends.  Holding a grand baby.  Looking in our dog’s eyes.  Hiking Chip Ross or walking down the Riverfront in Corvallis.

Megan - July 27, 2011 - 8:27 am

Oh I love Alice! That was simply a joy to read. I feel like I could have written my own letter of how Alice has touched my life and been so very influential for me in the short time I have known her. What a lucky girl I am to have her as my Corvallis Mom.

Abby Bain - July 27, 2011 - 8:53 am

Love this! I don’t know Alice well but I know her husband and I figured he must have an amazing wife to support and allow him to do the amazing work he does! Yay Alice!

Anna - July 27, 2011 - 9:09 am

This was such a treat to read Kara! Thanks for sharing!

Julia - July 27, 2011 - 1:15 pm

What a great article about such a wonderful lady. I grew up around the corner from the Rampton’s and was friends with their children. Every time I entered their home I felt loved and a part of something fun and exciting. Alice is an amazing women and she and Mark raised some pretty spectacular children. Great post!

Rachel Griffith - July 27, 2011 - 11:31 pm

How come I wasn’t asked to write something? After all, I’m one of her kids too! At least, she and her big beautiful family have always made me feel that way. Alice and Mark took me in during a very dark period in my life. What impact that one act of charity has done for me! Alice has always made time for me, sat down, made full eye contact and given me her undivided attention. She never made me feel like she was too busy-and she could very well be the busiest woman I know. I am just one of I’m sure hundreds of stories. Alice is one of a kind, a beam of light for more than her own generation. Her influence was described above-and I’m telling you…there’s more, there’s way more. If we could all be a little more, and it would only have to be just a little bit more like this superb woman-by golly-the evil of the world wouldn’t stand a chance! Thank you for your hilarious sense of humor, immense love for others, over the top commitment to service and refreshing honesty. Indeed, Alice is the real deal.

Adrienne S - July 31, 2011 - 5:35 pm

What a beautiful post. I knew Dr.Rampton must have an spectacular wife and family. I have to admit, I got a little misty reading this. Really awe inspiring. I hope my kids say things like that about me when they are grown.

Amanda - August 4, 2011 - 9:01 am

I loved the pictures will all the kids trying to squirm loose lol.