Honoring RE's 'beloved gatekeeper'

Ransom Everglades honored beloved security guard Tammy Valdez Anthon, who passed away unexpectedly on October 7, 2020, by sounding the bell of the newly installed sculpture on the Touzet Quad 20 times for her two decades at RE. The school also established two funds in her memory: one for the renovation of the upper school guard house ("Tammy’s House"), and the other for an Equitable Experience Endowment Fund, which will benefit students who need assistance with "the extras" at RE not typically covered by financial aid.

"A gift to these initiatives will create a lasting legacy for Tammy, a valued member of the RE family who loved coming to work each day, and who always put our students and their well being first," Head of School Penny Townsend wrote in a letter to the community.

Members of the RE community were stunned by her sudden death after she had been hospitalized for a non-COVID-19 illness. Anthon had been described as the school's "beloved gatekeeper" by Daelyn Einhorn '20 in a Catalyst newspaper story last May. RE students, faculty, staff and alumni knew the longtime security guard simply as "Tammy."

"We loved Tammy," Head of School Penny Townsend said at the October 8 memorial and bell-ringing. "She meant so much to all of us, and we will honor her ... She loved her job; she loved coming to work every day. She always gave us a smile ... What a fortunate school to have someone like Tammy. She was the first person so many of us saw."

A Miami native who attended Miami Central Senior High, Tammy began manning the front gate at RE after her security company, Bryant Security Corporation, relocated her from the Ramada Hotel in Sunny Isles in 2000. She never left. A talented vocalist, she sang the National Anthem for water polo games and other sporting events; she also shared her talents with Saint Mark Missionary Baptist Church. She is survived by three children, two daughters and a son, and six grandchildren.

Tammy's daughter Tiffani spoke at the memorial along with longtime front-office assistant Monique Regis and Student Government Association President Georgia Crosby '21. Seniors, the only students on the upper school campus that day, assembled on the new Touzet Quad to pay their respects. Many brought flowers.

"I just wanted to let you know that my mother, she really loved these students out there, she really loved you guys. When she was in the hospital, she couldn't wait to get back," Tiffani said through tears. "This was her second her family. I can't even say her 'second' family – it was her family."

Said Crosby: "She was loved and appreciated, and will be forever ... Her infectious smile and strong character will be in our hearts forever."

Tammy had told Einhorn for the May 26, 2020, story: “Work hard, stay focused, and continue to love Tammy, the best security guard y’all have ever had.”

"Tammy, she protected everyone here," Regis said. "It was hard for me to come through the gate this morning knowing that I would never see her again. I just want to let the students know, the whole community know, she loved everybody. She watched out for us ... We're going to really miss Tammy."

The event concluded with Townsend's reading of Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman," followed by the sounding of The Ringing Rock. The sculpture, created by RE parent and renowned artist Mark Handforth, had been installed the evening Tammy died. It was rung for the first time for Tammy.

For information on how to contribute to the memorial funds, please contact Melanie Hoffmann, Director of Advancement. 

Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Middle School2045 South Bayshore DriveTel: 305-250-6850
Upper School3575 Main HighwayTel: 305-460-8800
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.