Missionary and Pastor Ratcliff Dies at 86 - Word&Way

Missionary and Pastor Ratcliff Dies at 86

Tom Ratcliff

Thomas Edward Ratcliff died at the age of 86 Shreveport, Louisiana.

Tom Ratcliff

Born in Spurger, Texas to Cecil Christopher and Bertha Edna Ratcliff in 1932, he moved to Huntsville, Texas after high school where he earned a Bachelor in Business Administration from Sam Houston State Teachers College. It was there he met Josie, the love of his life, and they married on August 24, 1952.

Feeling the call to ministry, they moved to Fort Worth, Texas where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and pastored Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Woodbine, Texas until they moved to Glenwood, Wash. They began a new church there, where he served as a bivocational minister, teaching high school business and typing.

Brother Tom and Mrs. Josie, as they were affectionately known, followed God’s leading into foreign mission work and were appointed as missionaries by the Foreign (now International) Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1965. After language school they moved to the Dominican Republic where he pastored and began a new church while serving as the Dominican Mission Board’s business manager.

They later moved to Karnack, Texas where he pastored First Baptist Church. He served as the Director of Missions for the Blanco-Coastal Bend Associations in 1975, and then Palm Lake Baptist Association in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Tom became the director of the missions department for the Missouri Baptist Convention in Jefferson City, Mo., from 1988 until his retirement in 2000, when they moved to Marshall, Texas. Tom never liked the term “retire,” and accepted a call to pastor Pope City Baptist Church in Woodlawn, Texas for 13 years, followed by 2 years at Cave Springs Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas before health problems caused him to finally retire.

He is survived by his wife Josie Slaughter Ratcliff; daughters Suzanne (Mark) Wiley of Murfreesboro, Ark., and Patty (Donny) Lee of Shreveport, La.,; his brother Jimmy Lee (Ruth) Ratcliff of Alvin, Texas; grandchildren Steven (Marianne) Wiley of San Augustine, Fla., Thomas (Lauren) Wiley of Benton, Ark., Luke (Britney) Lee of Shreveport, La., Melody (Matthew) Rogers of Gulfport, Miss.; and five great-grandchildren: Emma Wiley, Noah Wiley, Ledger Wiley, Olivia Wiley and Bridger Lee.

He is preceded in death by his father and mother Cecil and Bertha Ratcliff; brothers Joseph Escar (J.E.) Ratcliff, Herschel Lawayne Ratcliff, William Wayne (Billy) Ratcliff, Lewis Jefferson (Jeff) Ratcliff, and Curtis Lynn (C.L.) Ratcliff.

Tom Ratcliff was passionate about two things: supporting and encouraging young ministerial students and mission work around the world. Because of this, the family requests that donations be made to East Texas Baptist University in memory of Thomas Edward Ratcliff for scholarships to students preparing for Christian ministry or to The Mandate at themandate.com.

Visitation was held June 6 at Downs Funeral Home in Marshall, Texas and a celebration of life on June 7 with interment to follow at Andrews Cemetery in Karnack, Texas.