August 25, 1949 - July 7, 2019
Visitation: 5 – 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11, 2019 at Thompson’s Harveson and Cole Funeral Home.
Memorial Service: 2 p.m. Saturday, July 13, 2019 at University Christian Church with a reception following at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, scholarship donations in Bill’s honor can be made to either the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo’s Calf Scramble, (FWSSR, PO Box 150, Fort Worth, TX 76101, fwssr.com/sponsorships-and-scholarships/, or to the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate, (FWSSS, PO Box 17005, Fort Worth, TX 76102, fwsss.com/ ).
William Durrah Ratliff, III, better known as Bill to most, also known as Billy to his family and many lifelong friends, passed on to be with his Lord and Savior on July 7, 2019, with family by his side after a brave battle with cancer. Bill would have turned 70 years of age on August 25, 2019.
Born August 25th, 1949, and raised in Fort Worth, Bill was a 5th generation Texan and the oldest of six children to Barbara Warner and William D. Ratliff Jr. During his childhood, Bill was a high-achieving competitive swimmer and then a stand-out football player at Arlington Heights High School. Playing center on the offensive line, (just as his father did), and wearing jersey #50, he started a lineage that was continued with his brothers and eventually his son Bill IV. After graduating in 1967, Bill headed to Austin and the University of Texas where he graduated in 1971 with a BBA in Accounting, followed by a J.D. from UT Law School In 1974. In 1975, Bill graduated top of his class from Southern Methodist University Law School with a L.L.M. in Taxation & Probate.
Upon graduating from SMU, Bill moved to Washington, D.C. where he clerked for the U.S. Tax Court for two years. He moved back to Fort Worth in 1977 and joined the law firm of Cantey & Hanger. In 1984, Bill left C&H to open the Fort Worth office of Haynes & Boone. In March of this year, he joined the law firm of Decker Jones. Bill was Board-Certified in commercial real estate law, tax law, and estate planning and probate law. He was named Super Lawyer multiple times, and through the recognition of his peers, was awarded with numerous other legal accolades. His successes and achievements in the legal industry are much too long to list. Bill was highly devoted to all of his clients and oftentimes formed very close friendships with them. One close longtime family friend (and client) stated that Bill always cared more about taking care of his clients than he did for himself.
Bill was truly devoted to his family and friends. He was a fabulous son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and uncle. He loved the outdoors, spending countless hours on the family ranch in Cleburne watering his trees, improving the hay pastures and working cattle with his family. Watching his granddaughter Brooke scamper around the ranch property brought particular joy to him these past six years. Times spent with Big Bill at the ranch will always be cherished by his wife, his mother, his kids, their spouses, his siblings, nieces & nephews, and numerous friends and other family.
Bill was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and remained an active alumnus; another lineage that was continued by his three brothers as well as his son Bill IV. He was also a member of The Steeplechase Club, River Crest Country Club, and The Fort Worth Club.
Bill was an active member of the Southwestern Exposition & Livestock Show, as well as the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate, serving as Syndicate Chairman in 1996 & 1997. He was a long-standing and active member of the Calf Scramble Committee, Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. His favorite time of the year was the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo season. One of his greatest passions was raising charitable funds for various agricultural scholarships, never seeking any recognition. His involvement in the Fort Worth Stock Show and FWSS Syndicate was truly an honor to Bill and he always took tremendous pride in each of his roles and activities over nearly four decades. Bill truly considered all of his great friends to be like family– his Stock Show Family.
Countless people have been the beneficiary of Bill’s generosity. He frequently “forgot” to bill his friends for the legal advice he offered them. His kindness and loyalty to his many friends will never be forgotten. Nor will his infectious sense of humor and wit.
The Ratliff Family would like to extend sincere and special thanks to all of the amazing doctors, PA’s nurses and other caregivers at the Moncrief Cancer Center and UT Southwestern Medical System, in particular, the nurses, techs, therapists and staff on 10th Floor North at William Clements Hospital for truly amazing passion, empathy and support during a long 21-day stay. In addition special thanks also goes to the VITAS Healthcare and Stayton nurses and caregivers that were so caring and compassionate with Bill and the entire Ratliff Family throughout the past several weeks.
Bill is preceded in death by his father, Bill Jr., brother, Bobby, brother-in-law, Bill Dremel, niece, Chelsea Dremel, and brother-in-law, Eddie Deems.
Survivors: His mother Barbara; wife, Julie; son, Bill IV and wife, Rachael; daughter, Emily Ratliff Hughes, her husband, Randy, and their daughter, Brooke; and siblings, Bryan, Louise Deems, Brent (Susie) and Jeanne Dremel; sister-in-law, Patti Ratliff; brother-in-law, Zac Martin (Melanie); along with nephews, Sam (Heather), Robert (Natalie), John (Hayley), Trey Dremel; nieces, Ann Bonner (Johnny), Shelly Rogers (Zach), Rachel Huston (Peter), Wendy Dremel and Hayley Martin; as well as numerous great-nephews & nieces, cousins and countless dear friends.