Ramelle Petroglou graduated from Ketterlinus High School in 1952 and married high school sweetheart James Petroglou in 1953. They marked their 60th Wedding Anniversary in 2013 with their three daughters, Victoria, Katherine and Patricia.
At Ketterlinus she was a member of “K” Club, (the letterman’s club of Ketterlinus High School), yearbook staff for “The Kettle,” senior prom queen and voted “Most School Spirited” by her classmates. She lists Doug Hartley (Civics Class) as her most influential teacher. “He started my interest in government. It was my honor to sign and present him with an American Education Week proclamation when I was Mayor and he was Superintendent of Schools,” says Mrs. Petroglou.
Beginning in 1964, Mrs. Petroglou was employed for thirty years by Department of Military Affairs on Marine Street, the headquarters for the Florida National Guard (FNG). Her last five years were spent in the public Affairs Office helping with government and community affairs relating to the FNG. As legislative liaison in Tallahassee she was able to follow and facilitate passage of bills beneficial to FNG members. One of her duties with the FNG was land acquisition (securing donated land for armories) which included the donation of 20 acres on SR 207 for the construction of the “Robert F. Ensslin” Armory, securing the property on St. Francis Street to build the Air National Guard Headquarters and Travor House on the Oldest House property to develop Military Museum of Florida’s Army.
She was elected to the St. Augustine City Commission In 1979 and served as elected mayor of St. Augustine from 1980-1985, the first woman to serve as mayor of the city. During her tenure as mayor, the City of St. Augustine placed a new well in a deep-water aquifer, closed St. George Street to vehicular traffic and created a walking mall, started the Northeast chapter of the Florida League of Cities and served as the first president, negotiated with the city to donate land for the St. Johns County Library on Ponce Boulevard, participated in annexation of land to State of Florida for the development of Anastasia State Park, saw the St. Photios Shrine built and dedicated on St. George Street and assisted the State of Florida in acquiring land for Guano State Park.
Mrs. Petroglou’s community involvement included serving on the board of directors of the Lightner Museum, Dr. Peck House, St. Augustine Police Pension Fund, Heart Association, Boy Scouts and the Columbus Commission. She was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a charter member of Matanzas Bay Club and Poinsettia Garden Club, St. Augustine Historical Society and Pilot Club, a vestry at Trinity Parish Episcopal Church where she taught Sunday school for 20 years and was school director for 4 years. For 17 years she was a leader for the Camp Fire Girls. She was active in the Flagler Hospital Auxiliary, R.B. Hunt PTA, Cancer Society, United Way and Employer Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR) where she served as the St. Augustine chairman.
Her many honors include the prestigious “EVE Award” given by the Florida Times Union, “Distinguished Citizen Award” given by Osceola District, Boy Scouts of America, “People’s Choice Award” given by Citizens for a Better Community, “Women of the Year Award” given by the Junior Women’s Club of St. Augustine, “Communication Achievement Award” given by St. Augustine Toastmasters Club, recipient of Florida Distinguished Service Medal, chosen Department of Military Affairs “Employee of the Year,” “Knighted” for service to the community, inclusion in “Personalities of the South” and “Daring Daughters: St. Augustine’s Feisty Females 1565-2000,” written by Karen Harvey.