Ramona Ann Didier

Ramona Ann Didier, 81, joined the angels in heaven on June 29, 2022. Ramona left this world embraced by her daughters, Kimberley and Valerie de Ropp, at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge. She was preceded in death by her parents, the late Ruth and Donald (“Big Don”) Buttry, and close family friend, Sam Cody.

Ramona earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in French with a minor in Musical Theater at UT. She taught voice, piano, French and Spanish; owned three boutiques (where she was a trendsetter with her own clothing designs); sang in a combo band; and was named a finalist in the 1959 Miss Knoxville pageant. For 40 years, she served the community as proprietor of the family businesses “Big Don The Costumier” and “Big Don’s Elegant Junk” in the Old City.

Ramona worked as the costume designer for a myriad of musicals in greater Knoxville including such favorites as West Side Story, Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, and Annie. She was active with the sororities and fraternities at UT and costumed their productions of Carnicus and All-Sing.  Her costumes were worn by Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell in the 1996 feature film Box of Moonlight

Ramona was featured many times in the Knoxville News Sentinel and on local TV as the premier professional for special events, birthday parties, balloon deliveries, Halloween and holiday costumes. Ramona was an aficionado of singing telegrams and a free-thinking eccentric who often stayed in costume after performances to run errands still dressed as a gorilla or flapper.

Her favorite character was “Sparkles the Clown”, which she created in the 1980s. “Sparkles” entertained children of all ages with magic tricks, face painting, and animal balloons. Ramona delighted in making people smile and especially loved children and young people for their innocence and imagination.

Ramona found strength in her faith and always believed God was watching over her. “Let go and let God” and “God, you know my needs” were her mantras. She loved her family, animals, gardening, traveling (especially to the beach) and collecting antiques. 

In addition to her daughters, Ramona is survived by her son-in-law John Alderson, Jr.; grandson, Ryan de Ropp; and granddaughter, Maria Farmer.

Ramona’s daughters would like to thank Jim and Diane de Ropp, the staff of The Groves, and Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to local animal shelters.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Halloween Eve, October 30th, a date that is fitting for the “costume queen of Knoxville”. Location TBA.

Posted in Obituaries.