Joe was born May 17, 1939, to Herman Ratcliff Sr. and Rae Lumpkin Ratcliff in Minden. Joe spent his childhood with his brothers out on the lake hunting and fishing with their dad. Joe was a graduate of Minden High School and Louisiana Tech University. He entered into his field of mechanical engineering, moved to Kingsport Tennessee, but finally settled back home in Minden as plant manager at Ludlow Plastics. Joe and Ginger together raised two sons- Stephen and Stanton. Joe was a lifelong hunter and outdoorsman and loved passing this tradition on to his children and grandchildren. In his later years Joe enjoyed training dogs and competing in and winning several national championships.
Joe and his wife, Ginger, were heavily involved in the Minden community, owning several stores and being active in their church. Joe was a dedicated man of faith devoting his life to following God’s will. Many years were spent as a Sunday school teacher, leader of Celebrate Recovery, and deacon. Joe taught 10th grade boys in Sunday school for over 20 years, providing spiritual growth and personal friendship to these young men. They all remember his love for them and the Lake Bistineau hunting trips on which he took them. Joe was a loyal and faithful member of the Intercessory Prayer Ministry for over 20 years, spending at least an hour a week in the prayer room and meeting weekly with a group of men each Friday before work to pray for the needs of the church and our nation. Joe was the only church member to serve three consecutive years as chairman of the Deacons at First Baptist, providing valuable spiritual and administrative leadership, even in the absence of a pastor to lead the church.
In the Old Testament a name was not only identification; it was an identity as well. Names give meaning, they bring power and understanding. It is only appropriate that Joe wore many names: Husband, Dad, Poppa, Brother, Son, Uncle, Teacher, Friend, Duck Hunter, Deacon, Witness, Good and Faithful Servant, Holy man of God. Ginger knew him as her Rock, Provider, Protector, Defender and “Big Boss.” The list goes on and on.
Joe has won his battle and now joins his beloved parents Herman and Rae Ratcliff in heaven. Left to cherish Joe’s memory include: his wife, Ginger Ratcliff; son, Stephen Ratcliff and wife, Wendy; son Stanton Ratcliff and wife, Lea; brother, Herman Ratcliff Jr. and wife, Betty Jo; brother Don Ratcliff and wife, Freda; grandchildren: Kathryn McIntosh and husband Matt, Emily Kerrigan and husband Josh, Rance Ratcliff, Michael Ratcliff and Ellie Ratcliff; great-grandchildren Ethan and Andrew McIntosh; numerous nieces and nephews; and special friends Judge Graydon Kitchens and wife Roberta, Robert Gorman and wife, Ruby and Colonel Bill Hensley.
Honoring Joe as pallbearers are Rance Ratcliff, Michael Ratcliff, Wade Ratcliff, Brian Ratcliff, Matt McIntosh, Josh Kerrigan and Barney Burks. Honorary pallbearers include: Herman Ratcliff, Jr., Don Ratcliff, Ben Ratcliff, Judge Graydon Kitchens, Robert Gorman, Colonel Bill Hensley, General Leonard Miller, John Coast, and the deacons of First Baptist Church.
The family would like to give special thanks to Joe’s faithful caregivers: Stephanie Lewis, Machell Edwards, Barbara Arrington, Barbara Boswell, Wendy Ratcliff, B.J. Pike, Town & Country Nursing Home, Regional Hospice and all the nurses for their dedication, love and support. Each and every caregiver dedicated themselves to Joe and proved to be true blessings. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church Building Fund.