GREENSBORO Stephen Earl Ratcliffe died on 21 February 2013 with family at his bedside in Greensboro, NC. Unfortunately, Sarcoidosis and lymphoma took his body away from us but not his spirit.
Services will be held in Iowa at a later date.
He was the son of Frances Crawford and Ivan J. Ratcliffe. He is survived by his loving wife of over 30 years, Mary Lu Cummins Gross Ratcliffe. He leaves three stepchildren: Ann Gross of Tulsa, Oklahoma; James Gross of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Steven Gross, M.D., of Greensboro, North Carolina. He is also survived by his sister, Barbara McRoberts, who resides in Burlington, Iowa - where she & Steve attended schools. Uncle Steve leaves nephews Scott McRoberts of Palatine, Illinois and Chad McRoberts of Chicago, Illinois. "Popo" leaves his grandchildren/nephews/nieces: Ryan, Connor, Kyra, Bailey, Lucy, Paige, Lily, Jack, Mia, and Dominic. And let us not forget the most recent dogs in his life: McDuff (whom just predeceased him), Mattie, Jeter, and Molly.
Born in 1945 in Des Moines, Iowa, Steve graduated from Roosevelt High School and then attended the University of Iowa (Go Hawks!). He served as a medic for the Navy in the Vietnam War. He lived in San Francisco for a time before relocating back to Iowa, settling in Des Moines where he met his wife. Initially in banking, he worked in insurance for most of his career. He was with Aetna for many years, following a career path thru Omaha, Nebraska. Steve took a promotion to work in Hartford, Connecticut where he and Mary Lu spent over twenty years. He completed his career as Assistant Vice President of Sales at AXA Equitable. He and Mary Lu retired in 2010 to Greensboro, North Carolina.
A man of sharp wit and good humor, Steve was always ready to offer a joke or story. He could talk like a sailor but loved to be the sharp-dressed man (as long as he could rebel with a fun necktie from time to time). A lover of life, Steve enjoyed music, gardening and painting. Steve loved having a dog or two by his side, often visiting the local farms and rescue leagues. A proud Scotsman, he enjoyed golf. After a brief affair with the UConn Huskies, Steve & Mary Lu became devoted fans of the New York Yankees. He treasured sharing a beer with friends & co-workers, exploring the islands of Maine or a B&B in New England with Mary Lu and family, tackling the latest crossword puzzle, and reading a good thriller. He touched many lives, showing grace, humor, and wit. He is sorely missed.
Donations in his honor to organizations working to rescue animals such as Red Dog Farm (5803 Bur-Mil Club Road, Greensboro, North Carolina 27410. www.reddogfarm.com) are appreciated.
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." Milan Kundera
Online condolences may be made to haneslineberryfuneralhomes.com/