Ronald “Ronnie” Allen Ratzloff, age 74, passed away peacefully on May 20, 2023. Ron was born December 5, 1948, to Ollie Nell Southall in Corpus Christi, TX. At age 14, he spent his first paycheck from the H.E. Butt grocery store on a fishing lure and promptly caught a beautiful Speckled Trout in Oso Bay to the disbelief of onlooking elder fishermen. Ron would spend the rest of his life working hard and sharing a love of nature with his family and friends. After graduating from W.B. Ray High School, Ron joined the United States Air Force and served as an Aircraft Electrical and Environmental Systems Specialist during the Vietnam War, sparking a lifelong career as a brilliant tinkerer. His work on flightlines in Oklahoma, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Iceland, and Thailand kept countless planes safely in the skies.
After his stint in the Air Force, Ron worked as a field technician for IBM, servicing industrial printers all over the country. While visiting Denver for training in 1973, he met Reatha Joy Welborn at a friend's barbecue. They fell in love instantly, married the same year, and made their first home in Corpus Christi, where they spent most of their free time fishing together and with family. Reatha once punched an undercover cop in Ron’s defense after she noticed the man harassing him at a Texas dancehall called the Yellow Rose, a testament to their fierce love for each other. Ron was always the sort of stand-up guy who's worth fighting for.
They then relocated to Denver and welcomed their first son, Rocky, into the world in 1981. Several years later, twins Ronnie Lee and Rusty were born, and the young family moved to a lovely little piece of the countryside in Franktown, CO. Ron cherished the family home set in the rolling grassy hills and ponderosa pines, living there for nearly 35 years. Ron and Reatha spent 42 years together on this Earth, and their love for each other remains an unforgettable, inextinguishable flame. While he enjoyed traveling the country, honing his technical skills, and the friendship of his teammates with IBM for nearly 40 years, Ron's unwavering focus always remained on his family. We will always treasure our warm memories of fishing with Dad, and all of the lessons he taught us about patience, the importance of hard work, and respect for animals and nature.
Ron is preceded in death by his beloved wife Reatha and son Rocky. He is survived by his daughter Ronnie and her partner Andrew, son Rusty and his wife Lauren, sister Gayle, and many other loved ones across the country, including the Southall, Lopez, Rains, Gil, and Myers families. His warm smile, gentle spirit, quick wit, and steadfast presence will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. A memorial service to celebrate Ronald's life will be held at 12:30 pm on Saturday, June 10 at Castlewood Canyon State Park. In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Ron may be made to GO2 for Lung Cancer or Freedom Service Dogs of America.