Barbara Ratliff
Barbara Ratliff

Obituary of Barbara Jeanne Warner Ratliff

Barbara Jeanne Warner Ratliff, born on May 26, 1926, passed away peacefully at home on February 12, 2024, at the age of 97.

She was born to Louise and Monte Warner in Washington, D.C. and spent her early years in Oklahoma City and Dallas. Barbara graduated from Highland Park High School and the University of Texas, where she was a proud member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Known as a lifelong learner, she was fondly referred to as a professional student due to her thirst for knowledge and new experiences. Her love for sports was evident at an early age as she excelled in tennis and various other activities, having been recognized as the "Ideal Girl" at Camp Waldemar.  

At the University of Texas, she met William Durrah Ratliff Jr., the love of her life. They married on June 20, 1947, and shared 49 beautiful years together until his passing in 1996. Barbara was a loving and devoted mother to her six children, Bill, Bobby, Bryan, Louise, Brent, and Jeanne, creating a home filled with love, laughter, and endless warmth. Her doors were always open, welcoming everyone, as she never considered anyone a stranger.  

Barbara's passion for swimming shone brightly as she not only enjoyed the sport but also taught and promoted lifesaving for over 70 years. Even after retiring from teaching at the age of 94, she continued to swim daily until her last days. Her zest for life was contagious, and she touched countless lives through her love for swimming. Her legacy lived on through her daughters Jeanne and Louise, who carried on her passion for teaching swimming.  

An active member of her community, Barbara served as a docent at the Amon Carter Museum and Botanical Gardens. She cherished the outdoors, seeking adventures, and was involved with organizations like the Woman's Club, Junior League, and River Crest Country Club. Her commitment to mental health in Tarrant County was unwavering, as she generously shared her knowledge and time with others. Barbara also taught Spanish at Arlington Heights Elementary School, where her children attended as well as, Holy Family, reflecting her dedication to education and sharing her expertise with others.  

Barbara welcomed 11 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren into this already robust family and was lovingly know as BABA. Her grandkids were her joy, and she was the first there to support, cheer them on, and host the house full of cousins.

Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, sister, four of her six children, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren. Husband William Ratliff in 1996, son-in-law Bill Dremel in 2000, son Bobby Ratliff in 2003, granddaughter Chelsea Dremel in 2011, sister Betty Lou Linehan in 2013,  son-in-law Eddie Deems in 2017, son Bill Ratliff in 2019,  granddaughter Wendy Dremel in 2019, daughter Jeanne Ratliff Dremel in 2021, and son Bryan Ratliff in 2023.  The magnitude of these losses was a testament to Barbara’s resilience and fortitude that she lived throughout her life.

Barbara is survived by: sister Janet Warner Fisher; daughter Louise Ratliff Deems; son Brent Ratliff and wife Susie; granddaughter Shelly Rogers and husband Zack and great grandsons Cade and Brock; granddaughter Rachel Huston and husband Peter and great grandchildren Finley and Dane; grandson Bill Ratliff and wife Rachael; granddaughter Emily Hughes and husband Randy and great-granddaughter Brooke; grandson Robert Ratliff and wife Natalie and great-grandsons Wyatt and Henry; grandson John Ratliff and wife Haley and great-granddaughters Olivia James and Blakely; grandson Sam Ratliff and wife Heather and great-grandchildren Remington, Claire, and Rowdy Kate; granddaughter Ann Bonner and husband Johnny and great-grandsons Ford and Beau; grandson Trey Dremel and fiancé Jackie; daughter-in-laws Patti, Julie, and Douglas; many cherished nieces and nephews in the Fisher and Linehan families; and God-daughter Mary McClain.

Many special friends that have supported Barbara daily including ranch foreman Tommy Searcy, Verety Braymen, Fran Flavin, Anne Paup, Dick Rimbey, as well as her lifelong friend Nancy Leonard.

Lastly but certainly not least, Barbara is survived by her dear friend, Eva Varela, who has helped her and been by her side for 23 years and regarded as family by Barbara and all of the Ratliff’s.  Eva was a vital support and a beloved presence in Barbara's final years, and she will always be an integral part of the Ratliff family.

A heartfelt thank you to Comfort Keepers Kelly Brooks, Rebecca, Lala, Maria, Yvette, Yessi, Tina, and Mary. Additional heartfelt thanks to Chris Garland, Sheridan, and Kristi of Community Hospice.  You were all exemplary in taking care of our mother.

Barbara Ratliff's life was a tapestry of love, learning, and community impact that will be remembered and cherished by all whose lives she touched.

Visitation:  5:00 to 7:00 pm, Wednesday, Feb 21 at Thompson’s Harveson Cole, 4350 River Oaks Blvd, Fort Worth.

Graveside Service: 2:00 pm Thursday, Feb 22 at Greenwood Memorial Park, 3100 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Finishing Well Ministries that includes taglines on its website “Fulfilling God’s Plan for Our Aging Years” and “How Can We Encourage You?” Information on how to donate can be found at their website