Funeral services are scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Saturday, December 14, 2019 at First United Methodist Church for Max Gene Ratliff of Artesia, NM. Max, a veteran of the Air Force, was 82 when he passed into the arms of Jesus on December 9, 2019 at Touchmark Long-Term Care in Edmond, OK, surrounded by loving family and caretakers.
Rev. Monty Leavell will officiate at the services. Burial will follow at Woodbine Cemetery. Pallbearers will be sons-in-law, Doug Coffman and Darrell Artrip, grandsons Cody Waugh and Baylor Coffman, and wonderful friends, Brian Haller and Killian Nettesheim. Honorary pallbearers will be nephews, Walter “Butch” White and Craig Simons, former son-in-law, Bruce Waugh, great friend Randy Dickerson, and all former students and athletes who he had the privilege of coaching and teaching.
Visitation will be at Terpening & Son Mortuary on Friday, December 13, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Max was born October 24, 1937 in Crescent, OK to Gene “Lefty” Ledford and Ema Jo Carter Ledford. His father, a professional baseball player, died tragically in an automobile accident in 1939, and he was later adopted and adored by Max H. Ratliff, who raised him and called him “Sonny Boy.”
Max graduated from Artesia High School in 1956. He was a standout athlete, lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He went to college at the University of New Mexico, where he played both quarterback and pitcher for the Lobos. This is where he met his future bride and love of his life, Marion “Mimi” Chase. A Milwaukee Braves draft pick, he suffered an arm injury in the oil field and was unable to pitch professionally.
Max then moved with Mimi back to Artesia, where he taught Biology and English for 30 years at Artesia High School. He was defensive coordinator for the Bulldog football team and head coach for the baseball team for several years, enjoying state championship teams both as a player and a coach. Max truly “bled orange” for the city of Artesia and the Bulldogs, sharing his love and admiration for both to anyone who visited with him.
Max was also an avid hunter and fisherman. He never met a stranger and always had a funny remark, unique quote or story to share. He loved eating and dancing and his favorite holiday was Christmas. He loved his Lord and Savior and set a great example as a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, coach, teacher and friend.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife of 54 years, Marion “Mimi” Ratliff, his brother, Thomas “Corky” Ledford, and his nephew, Rick White.
He is survived by daughters Jennifer Artrip and husband, Darrell and Llana Coffman and husband, Doug, along with grandchildren Whitney Waugh and wife, Jamie Nevers, Cody Waugh, Skye Helker and husband Evan, Abrielle Coffman and Baylor Coffman. He is also survived by sister, Susan Simons and husband, Mike, sister-in-law, Sally White, nieces Teddi Stella and Michelle Pavlik, nephews Walter “Butch” White and Craig Simons and numerous cousins.