Ratzlaff Obit

Having coffee with friends and in the beloved company of his wife Dorothy, Ray Ratzlaff died on the morning of February 1, 2019, a few miles from where he was born. Ray was born in 1931 to his parents, Sam and Marie Ratzlaff. He grew up in a lively household, surrounded by music and his five sisters. He learned to farm while working with his dad. He was passionate about farming the rest of his life. In 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Klassen. They raised their family near Linden Alberta, where he was Principal of Dr. Elliott School from 1959 to 1969. He enthusiastically taught math, sciences and music. Starting in 1967, Ray served as an MLA for one term, including two years in Cabinet, which meant a move to Edmonton for the family. He was a talented and inspirational choral director, teaching himself through years of conducting the Linden MB Church choir. In Edmonton, he conducted the choir at Beulah Alliance Church. All his life, wherever he moved, there was always a choir to direct. After three years in Edmonton, they moved back to Linden where Ray worked as a sales manager for Linden Machine Works. In 1974, Ray and Dorothy along with their youngest son Brad, moved to Kandern, Germany, to teach at Black Forest Academy. Ray was Director of BFA till 1978. Next he became Principal of Eden Christian College in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. He and Dorothy enjoyed life and work in that beautiful setting for the next eight years. In 1986, Ray took early retirement. He and Dorothy wanted to be close to ailing parents, so they moved back to their beloved acreage. Ray loved getting more involved in farming. He loved cutting hay. He worked part time as a community school coordinator, served on the County Planning Board and the Gas Co-op Board. In 2000, Ray and Dorothy bought a home in Three Hills large enough to continue to host family and friends. Dad particularly enjoyed conducting the Pioneer Choir and the congregational life of St. Barnabas Anglican Church. Ray's final move was to a condo at the Linden Lodge, a place he had helped to found years earlier. There, Ray and Dorothy continued to love each other, and enjoyed the company of old and new friends, until he died among them. Ray Ratzlaff was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. He was a good friend and an inspiring teacher to many. He cared about the land, his community and this country. He lived his life in the comfort and with the challenge of knowing that he was a child of God. We will miss him. He is survived by his wife Dorothy, his children: Jennifer, Steve (Catheryn), Brad (Carol). His grandchildren: Maxime, Dorian, Ben (Rachelle), Sarah, Sam, John (Allison), Greg (Joy), Derrick. His great-grandchildren: Rielle, Renée, Owen, Liam. His sisters: Doris (Larry) King, Sue (Irv) Harder. He is predeceased by his sisters, Lois, Helen, Verda, Marie, and his infant son Michael. Memorial services will be held Thursday February 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm at Linden Mennonite Brethren Church. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.sunsetltd.ca