Sven Göran Ramklint, beloved husband of Newell Taft Friedman, died of complications from COVID-19 on December 30. The owner of All About Blinds on Main St. in East Hampton, CT, Sven was 83 and had just celebrated 50 years in the interior design business.
Born in Lund, Sweden in 1937, where family and friends knew him as “Göran,” he was the youngest child of Valter and Elna Ramklint. His father was a pastry chef and Sven developed a taste for customer service (and sweets) at Ramklints, the family’s esteemed pastry shop. After earning an engineering degree and working in advertising, Sven’s taste for the American lifestyle drew him to Chicago in 1963. He landed on July 4 and was welcomed to the city by one of his contacts as a “Viking adventurer.” True to this label, in 1966 Sven spent 3 months navigating an International Harvester Scout off-road vehicle from Chicago to South America and back with his first wife Ulla-Britta, a Swedish journalist. He began a graduate business degree but switched to art school to study interior design. By 1968 Sven had worked his way into a VP position for a company operating a window treatment business. He purchased part of that business in 1970 and opened additional stores around Chicago, as well as in San Francisco, CA and Phoenix, AZ.
Sven was in one of his shops when Newell and her two boys walked in. She was hired as a store manager, and as Sven said, “the rest is history.” Sven married Newell in a ceremony at the Chapel of Love in Las Vegas, NV in 1986. His stepsons and in-laws toasted the couple as they departed in a pink limousine.
Sven and Newell went into business together, opening a shop called Design for Living, in Evanston, IL and establishing The Waters Edge, their beloved Bed & Breakfast on the shores of Lake Como, WI. Sven’s talent for carpentry and the couple’s flair for interior design transformed the property into a beautiful refuge. During prohibition, the historic inn was a haven for bootlegging and gambling. Sven never tired of regaling guests with tales of the notorious Chicago gangsters of the 1920s. The Waters Edge was a magnet for extended family who appreciated their good-natured hospitality during family reunions. “Sven’s ready smile and the twinkle in his eyes radiated his warmth, humor, curiosity and attentiveness,” reflects his niece Laura.
In 2001, after the arrival of their first grandchild, Sophia, on the East Coast. Sven and Newell sold the inn and moved east to Connecticut where Newell grew up. They put down new roots in East Hampton and opened their business, All About Blinds, where together they focused on selling and installing customized window treatments. Sven enjoyed attending Long Wharf theater with Newell and made frequent trips to New York City to delight in watching Sophia perform on horseback, on stage, on athletic fields, or in the living room. He enjoyed a good historical book, a cup of black coffee, classical music, opera, and was always ready to pick up a power tool to make an adjustment. Sven’s stepson Andrew notes “he loved anything with a motor in it, especially if it had wheels or could fly, or both.”
His nephew, Jim, describes Sven as “unfailingly nice, engaging, strong and gentle at the same time, and a devoted companion to Aunt Newell.” Sven’s devotion to Newell was unparalleled even as her health flagged and she entered long-term care at Chestelm. Sven took great pleasure in holding his wife’s hand as they shared her favorite movies and show tunes. In recent years, Sven poured his energy and time into his business. After shutting down for the pandemic, he re-opened in June and, with the help of his good friend Jean Maheu, built back the business. By December, he told a local reporter that he had just completed the best third quarter he’d ever had and saw no reason to slow down.
Sven is survived by his wife Newell, his brother Lars Ramklint and his sister Ulla Raaschou. He will be greatly missed by all who loved him: in the U.S his stepson Daniel Friedman (his wife Gail); his granddaughter Sophia Friedman (her mother Donna); his stepson Andrew Friedman (his partner Claudia and stepdaughter Elisa); his sister- and brother-in-law Marianne and Donald Marcus, nieces Laura and Sue, nephew Jim, and their children; and in Sweden his sister-in-law Goldy Ramklint; nieces Mia, Ola, Charlotta, and nephews Henrik, Anders, Petter, and their children.
Due to the pandemic, a memorial will be held at a future date. The family would appreciate hearing remembrances at www.spencerfuneralhomeinc.com.
In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation in Sven Ramklint’s honor to the East Hampton Public Library, 105 Main Street, East Hampton CT 06424
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