Molly Falconer de Ramel, who with her husband raised two extraordinary children, led a life of inspiring and caring for others through her reporting on national television, leadership coaching work with senior executives worldwide, and community service. She died surrounded by her devoted husband and family Sunday evening, October 24th, of injuries she sustained in a tragic accident at home in Newport RI the previous day.
Molly was born in Washington, DC in 1970, the eldest child of her father Allan Ackerman, of Chicago, and her mother, Abigail Campbell King, AIA of Jamestown, RI. Her father is an entrepreneur and was a Managing Director at several international management consulting firms. Her mother is an architect currently practicing in Rhode Island. Molly grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, and attended Shady Hill School in Cambridge. A classmate from those days said recently “She excelled in both academic achievement and well-organized, high-intensity mischief.”
Molly was recognized throughout her life as a remarkable, accomplished human being, and as a kind, tough, and intelligent mother and wife with a real sense of humor. She was a passionate knowledge seeker and athlete – in high school at Milton Academy she was Captain of the squash team, Massachusetts state champion and top ten nationally in Extemporaneous Speech, and first woman to be Editor of the Milton paper. At Harvard, she graduated Magna Cum Laude and was named a John Harvard Scholar. Launching her career in television, she established herself as a powerful talent at smaller cable stations, attracting the attention of national networks, where she was an anchor and reporter daily from New York City for several years, winning an Emmy honor for her reporting of 9/11. She loved language, and it did what she wanted.
Leaving broadcast television to marry Guillaume, the love of her life, Molly moved with him to Newport, Rhode Island to start their family. She soon took a position heading Brown University’s media relations department before establishing herself in the corporate world, founding and leading Periwinkle Worldwide. In the business world, she rapidly became a trusted sought-after coach and teacher of executives in leadership, often helping them glean a compelling narrative from tangled ideas. Her clients led organizations who are household names across the world. Both with her family and with clients, she put others ahead of herself.
At rest, her nose was in a book, and whatever the book’s topic, soon after she would translate its essence to help her children or a client. Her husband Guillaume’s writing is forever improved for Molly’s advice and editing, as were his speeches for his two political campaigns. A childhood friend said of Molly: “She had complete clarity in her understanding of people, places, and of complex relationships. This made her a sharp and successful journalist and a savvy businesswoman. And despite best efforts, it also made her right in almost any argument. Resistance was futile.”
Clients of hers described her recently as exceptional, a kind heart seeing passion in everyone and helping them see it too, an absolute joy, bubbly, honest and eloquent, and unafraid to convey the hard truths that would make someone even better. A client said that Molly loved what she did so much that to her, it wasn’t work. And, that any time they saw a meeting with Molly in the calendar, they smiled inside, knowing it would be good.
The meteor of her career is clear for all to see, and yet she often said that who their children were becoming was her proudest achievement. Guillaume and Molly were devoted to each other for nearly two decades. As one example, Molly was descended from pilots, yet was afraid of flying, and overcame it to be with Guillaume on their many adventures among the clouds.
Molly lent her insightful voice as a Director or Trustee of The Redwood Library, St. Michaels Country Day School, the Boys & Girls Club, RhodySquash, and the Belmont Chapel Foundation, thus supporting her interests in literature, history, education, and helping disadvantaged children.
Molly is survived by her loving husband of nearly two decades, Guillaume Henri de Ramel, and their two children, Charles (Charlie) Norman Prince de Ramel, a sophomore at Milton Academy, and Elizabeth Donaldson de Ramel, who attends middle school at St. Michaels Country Day School. She is survived by her mother Abigail, her father and stepmother Allan and Martha, her mother-in-law Elizabeth Prince of Newport, and her brother, Samuel (Sam) Ackerman, who lives with his wife Jacqueline LaGanke Ackerman, and their two children, Autumn Alethe Ackerman, and Samuel (Sammy) John Ackerman in Saunderstown, Rhode Island.
A memorial celebration of Molly’s life will be held, and those details will be sent out soon. Anyone wishing to make a donation in memory of Molly may do so to Milton Academy c/o Development Office / 170 Centre Street / Milton, MA 02186 and note that your gift is “For current-use financial aid in memory of Molly de Ramel ’88 P’24.”
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