May 21, 1936 – August 27, 2018
James William Ratzlaff, born May 21, 1936, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, August 27, 2018.
Jim leaves behind his loving wife of 54 years, Jane; their two children, Jim Jr. and Susan; his daughter-in-law, Leinani; step-grandsons, Lowell and Larkin; and his grandson, Marcus James, Susan’s son.
What a life he led: Jim was born in Wichita, Kansas, to William and Lois Ratzlaff. He was an Eagle Scout; he attended the University of Kansas on a Navy scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum geology; and he proudly served as an officer in the Marine Corps.
On a business trip to Hawaii for the National Association of Securities Dealers, he met the love of his life, Jane Penington…on a blind date. They married in April of 1964, and began their life together in Virginia, where he attended George Washington University Law School at night, earning his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree and becoming a member of the Virginia Bar. In 1967, Jim and Jane had their first child, Jim Jr., in Virginia, and in 1970, their daughter, Susan Elise, was born in California.
After working for the NASD in Washington, DC, Jim was hired by Capital Research and Management Company in Los Angeles, where he worked for 35 years until retirement. His love of nature—and fly fishing—led him and Jane to Roseburg, Oregon, where in 1989 they bought property on the North Umpqua River. It has been their great adventure together to build their ranch and join in the community along the river, where they have enjoyed dear and wonderful friendships.
Jim’s humble origins, tremendous good fortune and deep integrity led him to feel an intense obligation to give back to the world that gave so much to him. His great passion became philanthropy, particularly protecting the environment and helping those less fortunate in the communities in which he lived—which, to his expansive mind, extended well beyond Douglas County.
A hungry reader and lifelong learner, he was also an avid golfer and fly fisher (he had a beautiful Spey cast), a skilled pilot, an excellent winemaker (though he would never admit it), a fledgeling truffle farmer, and a grand fan of the cocktail hour. Above all, he was a gentleman, a devoted husband and father, and a loving friend to whatever dog was nearest to him. A kind, moral, generous, humble, brilliant and loyal man, he will be deeply missed.
Jane and his family will be holding a Celebration of Life for Jim on Saturday, October 6, 2018, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at their beloved ranch in Roseburg. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages friends to make a donation in their local area to a cause that is important to them.