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Col. Larry's Story

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Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Larry Kenneth Ratliff, 72, of Farmersville, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Farmersville. A graveside service is scheduled for D/FW National Cemetery on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m. with Pastor Darrin Ray officiating. A memorial service will follow at 12:30 p.m. in the chapel of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall with Mr. Wallace Murrell officiating.
Visitation will be Monday, Oct. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Coker-Mathews Funeral Home, Greenville.
Mr. Ratliff was born in Ogallala, Neb., on March 17, 1945, to Bill Ratliff and Betty Taslor. He married Heidi Anne Schenck on July 1, 1967, in Englewood, Colo.
Larry joined the United States Air Force in June 1963 and graduated the Air Force Academy on June 7, 1967, as a second lieutenant. He received a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology, as well as attending Air Force Command and Staff Graduate School, Squadron Officers' School and National Security Management.
Larry has a long and distinguished career of military service as an Air Operations officer, command pilot-C130 Transport/Airlift, Planning and Programming officer, project engineer and flight engineer. He was a veteran of Vietnam where he was based at Clark AFB Philippines and flew more than 300 combat sorties and an unaccompanied tour Jedah Air Base Saudi Arabia as a detachment commander and advisor to Royal Saudi Air Force. In his career as a C130 pilot he completed assignments at Little Rock AFB, Ark., as an instructor pilot, Wright Patterson AFB, Fairborn, Ohio, Aeronautical Division, C130 command pilot at Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas, and commander of Architecture Directorate at Scott Air Force Base, Belleville, Ill., Headquarters Mac.
He earned numerous honors and awards, including, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service with six Service Stars and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
Retiring from the Air Force in October 1988, he went to work for E-Systems/Raytheon/L-3 Communications as a chief engineer in Aerospace where he worked for 18 years on Air Force One, The HM-11 King of Saudi Arabia's Personal Aircraft and many classified programs until his retirement in 2007.
He was an active member of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall. He was involved on many youth mission trips in Illinois and Texas. He was also active with the Air Force Association and the Association Academy of Grads-Air Force.
Larry is survived by his beloved wife, Heidi Ratliff; daughter Kristi McWhorter and husband Rob; sons Stephen Ratliff and wife Heather and Brian Ratliff and wife Brandi; grandchildren Michael McWhorter, Elizabeth Ratliff, Andrew Ratliff, Abigail Ratliff, Evelyn Ratliff, McKenna Ratliff and Barrett Ratliff; and brothers Pat Sibal and wife Cathleen and Terry Ratliff and wife Deb.
He was preceded in death by his adoptive parents, Bill and Betty Ratliff; brother Gary Ratliff and mother Velma Rankin.
Pallbearers will be members of the United States Air Force.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent on behalf of Lt. Col. Larry Ratliff to Northeast Texas Chapter 416, P.O. Box 8633, Greenville, Texas 75404-8633. Donations will be used to support educational opportunities surrounding Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities for students in the local area. Larry was a tremendous member of Chapter 416 of the Air Force Association (AFA). His work supported veterans, students, and much more during his time tending to the AFA flock. These donations will allow him to continue to impact the local area.
For questions or more information on how funds will be used or how to help continue Larry's impact, contact netxafa.org or contact Vance Clarke, Chapter President, at President@nextxafa.org or call him at 903-274-9981.
Published on October 13, 2017
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