Geraldine Corrine Larson Ratzlaff, beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend, and neighbor, departed this life to be embraced by her Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm on January 29, 2019. Gerry was born to Fred and Myrtle Larson in Montpelier, North Dakota on May 30, 1930.
She was the oldest of four children born to Fred and Myrtle. When Gerry was three years old the family moved to Big Falls Minnesota, a small town near the Canadian border. The family lived there until 1942 at which time they migrated to Bly, Oregon, a very small logging community. Gerry attended the one-room school in Bly until she graduated from high school in 1948. She was active in her school and had lots of fun being a yell-leader, participating in school plays, playing on the girls’ basketball team, and being voted Junior Prom Queen. The Larson family moved to Dinuba, California in 1948. There Gerry met the love of her life, Les Ratzlaff, at a dance several days after arriving in Dinuba. Les and Gerry were married in 1950 at the Zion Mennonite Church. They settled in Kingsburg in 1952 where Les had secured his first teaching position. In 1955, they moved to Turlock where they settled to raise their family. To help with family finances Gerry went to work. She worked for many years for the State of California Employment Development Department, both in Turlock and in Modesto. Gerry retired from the EDD in 1985 to spend more time with her grandchildren and to travel with Les. The active couple traveled to Norway, China, Australia, New Zealand, and the British Isles, as well as taking a six month motorhome trip across the U.S. Gerry and Les enjoyed their travels and meeting new friends from around the globe. Gerry lost her dear husband Les in 1996. This was a most difficult time for her but she found comfort and strength in her Christian faith, her family, and her friends.
After Les’s passing, Gerry continued to travel and visit with friends and family, volunteer in her community, and stayed active in the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. She sang in the Choir for many years. She journeyed several more times across the country with friends and with her sister Lois. She especially loved her times with her grandchildren, shopping, and traveling. Gerry’s youngest daughter Lisa passed away in 2015, at which time she began living with her son, Fred, her daughter Leslie, her sister Lois, and her son-in-law Greg. She lived in Kingsburg again at the time of her passing.
Gerry has always been a loving, giving, and generous person. She has been a loving sister and a loyal friend. She has been loved well, and will be missed by many.
Gerry will meet in Heaven her parents Fred and Myrtle Larson, her husband Leslie Ratzlaff, her daughter Lisa Holmes, and her brother Peter Larson. She is survived by her sister Lois Bothwell, brother Eugene Larson and wife Loretta, son Fred Ratzlaff and wife Meredith, daughter Leslie Soghoian and husband Gregory, son-in-law Gregory Holmes; grandchildren Jeromy Ratzlaff and wife Holly, Jennifer Kirtland and husband Todd, Matthew Soghoian and wife Felicia, Bethany Soghoian, Zachary Holmes, Hillary Ullmann and husband Jason, Chelsea Jacobs and husband Lee; great-grandchildren Emory and James Ratzlaff, Gwyneth, Jillian, and Audrey Kirtland, Giulia Robles, Eric and Alex Leon, and Eve Renee Soghoian, and Mia Jacobs; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service and a celebration of Gerry’s life will be held on Saturday February 16, at 3:00, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 640 N. Minaret, Turlock. In lieu of flowers Gerry requested that donations be made to the Turlock Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.