William James Ratliff


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 w

ork 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.



  1. Mitzi Witt 17 July, 2013 at 00:43 Reply

    We were so sorry to hear that Bill had passed away. What a wonderful man he was, and I feel very blessed to have known him and worked with him. I know that you will miss him very much. But the wonderful years you had together must bring you great comfort and wonderful memories to sustain you during this time. We are praying for you, and know that God will not leave you for a moment.
    Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers,
    Paul and Mitzi Witt

  2. Michaelene Dougharty/Tipton Mills 19 November, 2013 at 15:25 Reply

    Mrs. Ratliff,

    I was so sorry to hear of Mr. Ratliff’s passing. I always loved you and Mr. Bill to pieces. Some of my fondest childhood memories are @ your home. Jane called and left a message on my machine (409-287-3807) home since she doesn’t have my new cell number (409-782-4535). I could not make out the phone number she left for me to call her back. Could you please pass the numbers along to her so we can get in touch again. Tried looking all of you up on the internet without any luck. So Helen, Bill and Jane I am so sorry the loss of your dad and will keep all of you in my prayers and thoughts. Sure would love to see you all again. Take care of your mom and yourselves … God Bless !!!

    Michaelene Dougharty (Tipton) Mills
    Sour Lake, Tx

    (Pine Ridge)
    12480 Pelt Road
    Kountze, Texas 77325

  3. Buck Lee 23 October, 2015 at 14:23 Reply

    Dear Ratliff Family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I was a childhood friend of Jane’s back when you lived on Aldis Street in Houston. Your family was so very loving and kind. I have fond memories of that time. Please accept my belated condolences.

    Jane, I hope all is well with you. I know even from our very young friendship, that you made your father proud. Take care and good fortune to you and yours.

    Your friend from two houses down.

    Buck Lee

    • Helen R Patten 2 April, 2019 at 14:17 Reply

      Buck –

      I just saw this for the first time since my father past away. I have no idea if this reply will reach you. This is Helen Ratliff Patten – Jane’s older sister. I remember you and your family quite well. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

      If you receive this – let us know where you are and what you are doing! Take care –

      Helen Ratliff Patten

  4. Buck 29 December, 2023 at 12:47 Reply

    Hello Helen,

    I remember you too, and Bill. I’m living in Tyler, TX and enjoying retirement. Hope you and your family are well. If you would, please pass my email along to Jane. I’d love to hear from her. Thank you.


    b u c k l e e 8 1 at g m a i l . c o m
    ( remove spaces and replace ‘at’ with @ )

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