90-year-old Gilbert Ramirez remembered after tragic death in downtown Saturday night

Police investigation involves eyewitnesses

90year old Gilbert Ramirez remembered...

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - 90-year old Gilbert Ramirez is being remembered with a special memorial in downtown Santa Barbara where he was hit, injured and later died over the weekend in a tragic crosswalk accident.

The incident occurred in a mid-block crosswalk between Cota Street and Haley.

The driver involved has not been named but did stop and cooperate.

Santa Barbara Police officer Ethan Ragsdale says the investigation will be concluded next week based on evidence that has been collected and interviews with eyewitnesses.

This morning specific technical equipment was used at the scene to do measurements and help with diagrams necessary for the report.

The same equipment was used up the street at State and Micheltorena street where a 91-year old man was struck and killed in late January by a suspected drunk driver who was arrested at the scene.

This morning flowers and handmade cross were placed at the scene by Gilbert Ramirez's son Armando. 

On his knees he said,  "daddy I love you so much and thank you for all the things you have done for us all the family, how you taught us by your actions not by your words."

Armando talked of the admiration for his dad, a World War II Navy veteran who began serving his country at the age of 17 when he volunteered for the armed forces.  He was assigned to the Pacific region and was assigned to a refueling tanker near the Marshall Islands.

Gilbert officially received his diploma from Santa Barbara High in a special ceremony in 2017.  He would have graduated in 1947 if he did not go into the service.

"Not having a high level of education he just demonstrated his love for the things he did for his family and friends... and how Will Rogers said he never met a man he didn't like and women and children and dogs and cats alike," said Armando.

Gilbert was known for being nimble on his feet and his daughter Rebecca Bustos remembers the last dance with her dad. " yeah we danced to La Bamba in January ( in Arizona). That was fun."

The family stopped to see Tommy Byrne the owner of the James Joyce who, with others, is planning a tribute night. Gilbert was often seen in the Irish bar enjoying the company of the crowd on Saturday nights. That's when he would be swing dancing with every available partner to the tunes of the vintage Ulysses Jazz band.       

At his 90th birthday last June, there was a big cake for Gilbert awaiting his arrival and many friends and family members celebrated with him for hours.

He often also went to the Red Piano Bar nearby for sing-a-long songs or popped into the Wildcat Lounge where a snappy younger crowd gathers. But there, Gilbert was given VIP service with no waiting.

The family also says Gilbert would join into the Zydecko Zippers band at the Palace Grill restaurant and play the tambourine or another instrument they had out for the public.

Armando said, "I asked him, 'dad are they going to pay you?'  He said 'no.' He said 'but I do think by my being there brought them more money!'"

The family lit candles at the accident scene and recalled how they hoped Gilbert Ramirez would have lived to be 100 to share even more of his spirited life.

"Just love on everybody,  take them for who they are and have forgiveness in your heart like we have for this poor fellow that hit my dad," said Armando.

Then he bent down and looked at the flowers, cross, and candles and said"...and we look forward to the day we see you again, in Jesus name. Thank you daddy. Love you."

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