William James “Bill” Ratliff is survived by his wife, three children, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren. On April 24, 1927, Walter James and Bertha Thompson Ratliff of Cleburne, Texas, had their son, Bill.
He was raised in Cleburne – a tough railroad town; it was expected that he would work for the railroad. He quit high school after his junior year to work for the Santa Fe Railroad as a machinist’s apprentice to help his family.
When WWII broke out, the seventeen-year old enlisted in the United States Navy. He served as Seaman First Class Gunners Mate aboard the USS Salt Lake City CA-25 from May 18, 1944, – June 1, 1946. He participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima, the invasion of Okinawa Gunto and occupation of Japan.
After being honorably discharged from the Navy, he started college at North Texas State University in 1949, majoring in Elementary Administration. He graduated in 1952 after only three years and started teaching in Dallas the day after his graduation.
He met Margaret “Peggy” McLarty in Dallas and was married on Nov. 1, 1952, in Rockwall, Texas. Two children were born in Dallas: a girl, Helen Ann and a boy, Williams James Ratliff, II.
He taught in Dallas until 1957 and then moved to Houston to teach. During this time, the family had another child, Mildred Jane. While teaching, he attended Sam Houston State University and received his Master’s in Administration with a focus in Special Education. After receiving his master’s deree, he went into administration and took a position as a principal of Hardin Jefferson Elementary in Sour Lake, Texas.
After two years in Sour Lake, the family moved to Rockport, Texas, where he was principal of Rockport Elementary for nine years and Elementary Curriculum Director for three. While there he helped organize the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA).
The school district in Aransas Pass wanted him to come to their district, so in 1995, he became principal of HT Faulk Elementary School, until he retired in 1997 after 45 years in education.
Bill and Peggy moved to Dale, Texas, to be more centrally located and closer to their children and grandchildren.
He and Peggy stayed busy with their fruit trees, garden and crafts. He continued his love of education teaching at Wackenhut Correctional Facility minimal security prison in Lockhart. He later became principal of the summer Migrant Workers Program at St. Edward’s University.
He was an active member of Lytton Springs United Methodist Church in Lytton Springs, Texas. He also taught Adult Sunday School for several years.
His life was filled with love and affection for his wife, Peggy, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Services are planned at Lytton Springs United Methodist Church, 8440 FM 1854, in Lytton Springs, on Saturday, July 13, 2013, at 1 p.m.