Melvin Ratcliff, 87

Melvin Ratcliff, 87, of Lynnville, died Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, at St. Francis Manor in Grinnell.

A funeral service was held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell. A luncheon followed in the Heritage Room of Smith Funeral Home. Interment will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at Woodland Cemetery in Lynnville.

Memorials may be designated to Lynnville-Sully Youth Sports to benefit the girls softball and boys baseball programs, mailed in care of the Smith Funeral Home, PO Box 368, Grinnell, IA 50112. Memories and condolences may be shared with Melvin’s family online at

Melvin Leo Ratcliff was born the son of Harold Rayford and Charlotte Mildred (Groves) Ratcliff on Sept. 24, 1933, at the family home near Lynnville where he was raised. He graduated from Lynnville High School in 1952. He honorably served in the United States Army from 1955-1957.

Melvin was united in marriage to Marcile Wisgerhof on Sept. 13, 1957, at Sully Community Church. Their marriage was blessed with two daughters, Cindy and Bonita. They lived in Greenfield and Sully before making their home in Lynnville. Melvin was employed by the Iowa State Patrol from 1957-1958 and then worked at the Farm and Home Store in Lynnville, Sully Plumbing and Heating, and Sully Telephone. In 1969, he started Ratcliff Electric and owned and operated the business for over 30 years.

Melvin’s family was his everything. He enjoyed having his family live close by and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was an outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting, and enjoying the tranquility and family time at their acreage. He was a longtime youth softball coach and played fastpitch softball for over 30 years. He will be remembered as a family man, as a talented wood carver, and as a fun-loving prankster.

Melvin is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marcile Ratcliff of Lynnville; two daughters Cindy (Ron Reynolds) Arkema of Killduff and Bonnie (Steven) Hofer of Lynnville; grandchildren Christa (Shaun) Vander Weerdt, Anthony Arkema, Jerri (Trevor) Nikkel, Joshua Hofer, Jamie (Randi Visser) Hofer; and great-grandchildren Chloe and Reagan Vander Weerdt, Bella and Lillian Nikkel, and Owsley Hofer.

He was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother Trina (DePenning) Ratcliff; brother Rayford (Eleanora) Ratcliff; sisters Neva (Earl) Klyn, Vera (Gerald) Beason, Alice (Lloyd) Sparks, Velma (Floyd) Sparks, and Doris (Clair) Fenner; brother-in-law, Stan Schrag; and nephews, Larry Sparks and Tim Schrag.

Comments are closed.