Thomas Edward Ratcliff, former Texas Baptist pastor and missionary, died June 4 in Shreveport, La. He was 86. He was born Sept. 12, 1932 in Spurger to Cecil Christopher and Bertha Edna Ratcliff. While at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, he met his future wife, Josie Slaughter, and they married on Aug. 24, 1952. After completing his undergraduate degree and working as a bookkeeper for Standard Oil, he felt a call to the gospel ministry. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was pastor of Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in Woodbine until he and his wife moved to Glenwood, Wash., to start a church there. In 1965, the Ratcliffs were appointed as missionaries by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Mission Board. They spent a year in San Jose, Costa Rica, at language school before moving to the Dominican Republic where he was pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central and Iglesia Bautista de Ozama, and began a church at Mata Hambre in Santo Domingo. He also served as business manager for the Dominican Mission Board. Following a year of furlough in Marshall, the couple moved to Karnack, where he became pastor of First Baptist Church. In 1975 they moved to Beeville, where he became area director of missions for the Blanco-Coastal Bend Associations. He later served as director of missions for Palm Lake Baptist Association in West Palm Beach, Fla., and as director of the missions department at the Missouri Baptist Convention in Jefferson City, Mo. The Ratcliffs moved to Marshall in 2000 to retire, but he subsequently accepted a call to become pastor of Pope City Baptist Church in Woodlawn, where he served 13 years. He then spent another two years leading Cave Springs Baptist Church in Marshall before health problems forced him to retire in earnest. He was preceded in death by his brothers Joseph Escar (J.E.) Ratcliff, Herschel Lawayne Ratcliff, William Wayne (Billy) Ratcliff, Lewis Jefferson (Jeff) Ratcliff, and Curtis Lynn (C.L.) Ratcliff. He is survived by his wife Josie Slaughter Ratcliff; daughters and sons-in-law Suzanne and Mark Wiley of Murfreesboro, Ark., and Patty and Donny Lee of Shreveport, La; his brother and sister-in-law Jimmy Lee and Ruth Ratcliff of Alvin; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Obituary: Thomas Edward Ratcliff
June 6, 2019