Born 12/20/1935 – Died 11/7/2022
Bette Anne Ratzlaff passed away on Monday, November 7 in Santa Barbara at the age of 86. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and dear friend. She passed away after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease. A celebration of Bette Anne’s life will take place on Saturday, January 14, at 11:00 AM, at Santa Barbara
Bette Anne was born in Peoria, Illinois to Pat and Lucille Riley. Seeking a warmer climate for Lucille’s health. They settled in Bakersfield where Bette Anne completed junior high and graduated from East Bakersfield High School. During this formative time, Bette Anne developed a steady commitment to following Jesus Christ and was active in her church and related ministries. Bette Anne and Stan met during their senior year in high school. They began dating after graduation and continued dating throughout college, with Bette Anne at Westmont College, and Stan at Bakersfield College and San Jose State University. They married in July 1957 in the Mennonite Brethren Church of Bakersfield (now Heritage Bible Church) where they were members.
Bette Anne graduated from Westmont and taught school in Bakersfield for the first year of their marriage. Stan and Bette Anne relocated to Los Angeles where Bette Anne gave birth to their daughter Deborah in September 1958. Eventually, she and Stan were the parents of two more children – Stephen and Diane. Her children, grandchildren (8), and great-grandchildren (2) were the joy of her life. She loved reading to them, teaching them, and playing Rummikub with them. She enjoyed her many trips to visit the grandchildren in Austin and Seattle as well as spending lots of family time at the beach and on ski and RV trips.
Bette Anne’s gifts shone in the areas of study, service, and hospitality. She always made time to study the Bible in small groups, leading the groups at times. She was a poised and polished speaker. She led children’s groups and volunteered at the school as well as a substitute taught whenever needed. Both her children and their friends considered Bette Anne a mother who was warm and welcoming to all and was an excellent cook who generously shared her home and food. It was never too much work for her to host family, friends, missionaries, or large work and church parties.
Bette Anne and Stan’s hobbies included sailing, skiing, RVing, and travel. They enjoyed traveling extensively in the US
Bette Anne was a loving and encouraging wife to Stan. She was a great supporter of Stan in his demanding executive and volunteer life. They enjoyed their church life and serving in various Christian ministries, including the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, where Stan served as a board member for 28 years.
In 2010, Bette Anne and Stan moved to Samarkand Covenant Living community, where they enjoyed being with their many new friends.
Bette Anne is survived by her husband, Stan, and their children, Debbie Huff (Ron), Stephen Ratzlaff (Kristie), and Diane Whitfield (Bill) along with eight grandchildren, Allison (and husband Curtis), Tim, Liam, Stanley, Trammell, Katherine (and husband Marcus), Nils, and Peter and two great-grandsons Charlie and Jack, and Scott Ely (nephew) and wife Cindy.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Westmont College, Union Rescue Mission of Los Angeles, Parkinson’s Research Foundation, or Samarkand Benevolent Fund.
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