When David Rambo passed away a week ago, the 38-year-old Osage Beach, Mo., resident left behind his wife, Julie, his son, Blake, his daughter, Haley, and his step-daughter, Avery Berberich, but he also left behind a boating community in and around Lake of the Ozarks that he touched deeply.
Ryan Werner (left) and Rusty Rahm (center) are sorely missing their partner-in-crime, David Rambo, and will be for some time.
Born in Jefferson City, Mo., the son of Cleve and Linda (Dembinski) Rambo worked as a boat salesman for several local businesses around the lake before he helped start Wake Effects—a retail/boat dealership that specializes in wakeboard boats and pontoons and recently became a dealer for MTI, which is based in Wentzville, Mo.—in 2010 with his brother-in-law Ryan Werner.
Werner, who is the Wake Effects general manager and partner (with accomplished entrepreneur and marketing expert Rusty Rahm), said that Rambo wasn’t just a great brother-in-law and loving husband and father, he was one of the best salesman he’s ever seen.
“David had such a friendly nature that his way of selling was to get know the people he was selling boats to and treat them more like friends than clients,” Werner said. “He truly had a passion for this business. He was definitely happiest when he was on the water with his family and friends.
“Rambo is the reason I got into this industry,” he continued. “We worked for Kelly’s Port in the early 2000s and all of our team members from back then showed up to the memorial this week. It was like getting the whole gang back together again. That might not have happened if it was anyone other than David. His fun-loving attitude was really that infectious.”
Werner and Rahm said they were overwhelmed by the local marine industry support at his memorial service on Tuesday. And while they have plans to put together a tribute of sorts to Rambo at the Wake Effects facility, which will be opening a new showroom this spring, as well as create a staff spirit award in his honor, the one thing Rambo would have wanted, they said, was to see the company continue to succeed. “He was in it to win it,” Werner said.
“I’ve never met a guy who was more passionate about selling boats than Rambo,” Rahm said. “He was one of the funniest, most genuine people I’ve ever been around. He always had a smile on his face. When he was on the water, it was obvious to me that there was no place he’d rather be. He was so happy and comfortable running a boat.”
Tim Gallagher, MTI’s sales and marketing manager, only recently got to know Rambo but called him “one of those guys who the first time you meet you always remember.”
“I hadn’t know Rambo all that long, I really only got to know him this summer as he was a big part of getting Wake Effects going as an MTI dealer,” Gallagher said. “He definitely had an impressionable personality. He put a lot of effort into learning the performance end of the boat business. He caught on right away and it was easy to see he had a deep desire to learn as much as he could about this industry so he could take care of his customers. I saw a lot of potential and was looking forward to working closely with him this coming year. Unfortunately we won’t get to see all of that potential come to light. Wake Effects lost a great member of its group.”
Mark Maasen, one of the brothers behind Poly Lift Boat Lifts, said he will always remember Rambo as a loyal, hard-working guy who didn’t hide his feelings.
“You always knew were you stood with Rambo,” Maasen said. “He had such a charismatic personality and man was he a hard worker. His memorial service was like a who’s who of the marine industry in this community. It was evident that he touched a lot of people’s lives here at Lake of the Ozarks. Our thoughts are with his family in this tragic time.”
Rahm said donations for Rambo’s children can be sent to: David M. Rambo Children’s Educational Fund, 4773 Osage Beach Pkwy, Osage Beach, MO 65065.
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