Distinguished alumni Ramsdell

Mike Ramsdell

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Mike Ramsdell was born and raised in Bear River, Utah where he attended elementary school. In 1960 he graduated from Bear River High School where he excelled in student government, sports, a capella choir, and performing in a popular folk music trio. During his senior year Mike was elected senior class president and was the quarterback on Bear River’s championship football team.

After high school, Mike served an LDS mission in southern Germany and Switzerland. Following his mission, Mike attended Utah State University, where he received a degree in political science and German. After post-graduate law studies at the University of Utah, Mike was commissioned an officer in the Military Intelligence Corps with a career specialty in Russian/Soviet counterintelligence. While on military active duty, he earned degrees from the Defense Language Institute (Russian and German) in Washington D.C., as well as an advanced degree from the Command and General Staff College for Military Studies. During his years of military service, Mike achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Highlights of his career include Outstanding Instructor at the US/NATO School Command in Oberammergau, Germany. During his posting in Scandinavia, Mike served as a diplomatic courier for the Department of State between the American embassies in Helsinki, Finland and Moscow, Russia. The high point of Mike’s career came when he was chosen to serve as a military liaison officer for Secretary of State George Schultz during the Reagan-Gorbachev Moscow Summit.

Mike’s book “A Train to Potevka,” which details his experiences in Russia at the end of the Cold War, became a national bestseller. After the book’s release, Mike gained a reputation as a popular, sought-after speaker. Several national publications have written about Mike’s book and career, including the popular “Costco Connection.” His compelling interviews with National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting Service are still aired from time to time. Three years after “A Train to Potevka” was published, it was followed by Mike’s second book, “Potevka’s Gifts.”

Mike and his wife, Bonnie, live in northern Utah with their three cats: Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin. Mike’s son Chris, his daughter-in-law Jen, and four exceptional grandkids live nearby. Besides his work on the production of a “Potevka” movie, Mike maintains his passion for racquetball, skiing and college football.

Throughout his career, Mike has served in many civic and church positions, including the honor to serve in the presidency of the very first LDS branch in Russia. He is grateful for the blessings of being a husband, father, grandfather, and friend to those with whom he served during his career. Despite his many years of foreign assignments and living abroad, Mike still proudly refers to Bear River as his home.

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