Felipe Ramirez Sr.
1928 - 2011
This article was originally published in The Dallas Morning News. Its copyright is held by The Dallas Morning News. This is reprinted with permission.
Longtime custom bootmaker in Oak Cliff
By JON NIELSEN Publication Date: July 3, 2011/The Dallas Morning News
One day after his father’s death, Felipe Ramirez Jr. returned to the boot shop on Jefferson Boulevard, where the two kept alive a century old family legacy.
Manila folders held each customer’s personal design. Boots of all sizes walled the small storefront, each pair a memory of his father, Felipe Ramirez Sr.
“He took every cut, every stitch personal,” said Mr. Ramirez Jr., who worked alongside his father at the north Oak Cliff store. “You can go buy boots anywhere. If you want something to cherish, my dad’s was the place to come.”
For most of his life, 83 years, Mr. Ramirez Sr. custom made boots for politicians, athletes, lawmen and laymen. For 30 years, the Jefferson Boulevard store was the headquarters for the father-son operation known as much for its charm as it is for its artistry.
“He was one of the last of a dying breed,” said longtime customer Craig H. Foote of Dallas. “He’ll be up in heaven making boots for the rest of them.”
Mr. Ramirez Sr. died Friday of heart failure at Methodist Hospital in Dallas. He was 83. He will be buried in Big Spring, Texas.
Mr. Ramirez Sr. was born Oct. 26, 1927. As a child he learned how to make boots by watching his father. Later, Mr. Ramirez honed his trade in Del Rio on the Texas-Mexico border, then in Big Spring and then on Jefferson Boulevard in Dallas.
Mr. Ramirez joined the Army in the 1950s. His goal was to travel – to see the land beyond Texas, said his son Roman Ramirez of Houston.
“They put him in shoe repair,” his son said. “He said ‘I wanted to go away and see the world and what do they do? Put me in shoe repair.’”
After his stint in the service, Mr. Ramirez returned home, where he continued his bootmaking business. He made chaps and boots for a sheriff’s posse in West Texas and outfitted cowboys for rodeos in Snyder, Texas.
In the Jefferson Boulevard shop on Saturday, Felipe Ramirez Jr. said he is determined to continue the family business.
He blinked back tears while looking at the boots he and his father made.
“We were like this,” said Mr. Ramirez Jr., wrapping his forefinger around his middle finger. “It’s hard for me to accept this. I miss my father and my best friend.”
In addition to his sons, Mr. Ramirez Sr. is survived by his sisters, Lola Ramirez, and Lupe Ramirez, both of Big Spring; daughters Betty Flores and Paula Perez, both of Big Spring, Christina Ramirez of Saginaw,
Belinda Ramirez, Michelle Ramirez and Frances Ramirez of Dallas, and Sandra Ramirez of Kaufman; and another son, Fabien Ramirez of Dallas.