Charles Ratliff, Sr. was born on January 8th, 1938, the last-born son of 12 children to Frank Ratliff and Alberta Edmondson-Ratliff. Determined at an early age, Charles’ eagerness to provide for his family stemmed from his sense of duty, his sense of identity, and his manhood. From a humble beginning, Charles’ journey to a better life began in the early 50s with a job at B.E. Roberts Food Market where he was a delivery/truck driver. He continued his employment in 1955 until 1966 with the Persian Rug Co. In 1960, During the peak of his employment, Charles wanted to follow his older brothers and attempted to join the Army. However, he was denied entry as the rules stated that he was the last male child and could not join. From there he began a career at Modern Maid where he was awarded several accolades from “Perfect Attendance” to “Outstanding Employee”. After the company was sold Charles began a career with Standard-Coosa-Thatcher while moonlighting at Swan Cleaning Service under First Tennessee Bank until his retirement in 2003.
In the meantime, while working his way through life, Charles grew to have a courtship with Sylvia Simpson to include four children (Carla, Reginald, Carolyn, Charles Jr., and Rahmon (Bonus Son)). Charles would later go on to have two more daughters (Angela and Koneka). Charles's life was not without his faith in Christ. If you were to ask Charles what his greatest accomplishment was, it would not be the material things of life, he would tell you that being a father is what he was most proud of. He loved Dominoes. His rules were simple, play straight, no spinner, ten counts only and if you don’t have a play then you better knock loud enough to be heard in another room. He was an avid reader of the Bible. Posting notes and verses all over the walls of his bedroom. An underrated electrician, he built a scanner and would listen to police announcements. He knew every western movie known to man. If something was broken, then he’d fix it or find another use for it. No matter what it was, you can rest assured that he was not throwing it away.
He was a devoted father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who created a nickname for everyone. If you know, then you know! He had an amazing memory and told stories of his life that were so vivid they seemed to come to life with every word. Even in his last few days, he told stories of a dream that he constantly had where he was in the comforting arms of his mom and dad.
Leaving this earth on Sunday, May 21, 2023, Charles Edward Ratliff Sr. was called home at the young age of 85. He was preceded in death by his father Frank Ratliff (D-1950); his mother Alberta Edmondson-Ratliff (D-1987). Brothers: Forest (D-1990), Robert (D-1948), Frank Jr. (D-1996), Johnnie (D-1987), James (D-1978), Andrew (D-At Birth), Nathaniel (D-1993), and Winifred Alexander (D-1985). Sisters: Marie (D-1920), Josephine Ratliff-Cooper (D-1990), and Juanita (D-2021).
His legacy will continue with his sons, Reginald (Lois) Ratliff, Charles (Barbara) Ratliff, and Rahmon O’Neil; daughters: Carla (Dean (D-2014)) Underwood, Carolyn (Leslie) Mines, Angela Ratliff, and Koneka McBride; eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, cousins , nephews, nieces, and a host of other family members and friends (whom are all too many to name).
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, at John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995.