Donald (Don) W. Ratzlaff

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Donald (Don) W. Ratzlaff, 85, died June 28, 2016, at Kansas Christian Home surrounded by some of his dearest friends. Don was born Nov. 25, 1930, at Grace Hospital, in Hutchinson, Kan., to parents Aron and Susana (Friesen) Ratzlaff. His great-grandparents were Mennonite immigrants coming from Russia in 1874. They settled a farm in Kansas.

Don's parents moved their family to Missouri in 1938, to a little farm west of El Dorado Springs, Mo. The family moved again in later years to a farm north of Nevada, Mo. Don attended a one-room schoolhouse east of Nevada, near the little town of Dedrick and also the Rinehart School in Vernon County of Nevada. Eventually the school district consolidated and he completed High School in Metz, Mo., in 1948.

Don enlisted in the Army in Nevada, Mo., he served in the Army Medical Corp from 1952-1954, during the Korean Conflict and through that he took great interest in the nursing field. After his service with the Army Medical Corp, he attended California State Los Angeles, earning a Teaching Certificate. He then graduated from College of the Desert, in Palm Desert, Calif., in 1978, as a Registered Nurse. He worked as an R.N. in many states including Montana, California, Missouri and Kansas. He worked in the Neonate Intensive Care Unit as an R.N. in Billings, Mont., Northridge and Fresno, Calif. He then worked in medical/surgical units until moving to Springfield, Mo., in May of 1988.

Don worked in the Substance Abuse Unit at the Park Central Hospital, and the Psychiatric Units at Springfield Community Hospital until taking retirement in 1994. He moved to Newton in 1996 to being near several of his cousins.

Don joined St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in 1997 and loved attending services, and volunteered with the Payee Program at the church for 10 years.

Don is preceded in death by his parents, Aron and Susana (Friesen) Ratzlaff; son, Michael Lynn Ratzlaff; and siblings, Lorena Fay, Melvin Ratzlaff, and Wesley Ratzlaff. He is survived by numerous nieces and nephews including, nephews, Loyd and wife, Sharon Ratzlaff, of McPherson, and Melvin Ratzlaff Jr. of Gloster, Miss.; nieces, Debbie Ratzlaff Mulkey of Gloster, Miss., Pam Stokes of Gloster, Miss., and Mary Anne Johnson of Centre, Ala.; dear friends, Terry Zeidler of Redlands, Calif., and Charlie Robinson and Rich Stinnett of Newton; and a loving church family.

Visitation will be held at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church of Newton, on Thursday, June 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. Graveside services will be held Friday, July 1, at 12:30 p.m., in Buhler Cemetery East, Buhler, Kan., followed by a Memorial Service at St. Matthews Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. Friends are invited to join in a time of sharing and fellowship meal after the memorial service at the church.

Memorials may be made to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church O.E.F (Operating Endowment Fund). Condolences may be left at