Judith Ratcliffe

Judith Ann Ratcliffe (nee Van Patter), known affectionately as Judy by her loved ones, was a beacon of kindness and a wellspring of love throughout her remarkable journey on this earth. Born on July 26, 1943, in St. Thomas, Ontario, Judy’s life was a tapestry of rich experiences and unwavering commitment to her family, friends, and community. On February 23, 2024, she was called home, leaving behind a legacy of warmth and adventure that will forever be cherished by those who had the privilege of knowing her.

Judy’s early years in Aylmer were the foundation upon which she built an extraordinary life. Guided by the loving hands of her parents, Lewis and Claribel Van Patter, Judy blossomed into a compassionate and driven individual. Her siblings, June (John) Hale, Linda (Paul) Charlton, and Rev. David Van Patter, shared in the joys and challenges of growing up, forming an unbreakable bond that would endure through time.

Judy’s pursuit of a career in nursing was not merely a choice; it was a calling. As a proud Registered Nurse of Ontario, she dedicated over two decades to the compassionate care of others at Woodingford Lodge in Woodstock. Her unwavering dedication to her patients was a testament to her character—a woman who lived to serve, to heal, and to comfort.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Judy’s life was a testament to the notion that to truly live is to engage deeply with the world around you. As an active member of St. David’s United Church, she exemplified the values of faith and community, inspiring others to join her in the pursuit of a life well-lived. Judy’s love for her family was the cornerstone of her existence. Her beloved husband, William (Bill) Ratcliffe, was her partner in every sense of the word, sharing in the joys and sorrows, the adventures and the quiet moments.

Together, they raised their son, Stanley Ratcliffe, and daughter, Ann Louise, with immense love and care. As well as embracing their spouses, Karen Ratcliffe (nee Walpole), and David Douglas, with open arms, boundless love, and endless encouragement.

Their grandsons, Cory Ratcliffe,  Steven Douglas, and Austin Douglas, were a source of immense pride and joy. She was their biggest fan, whether from the stands or in the quiet support of their daily lives.

Judy also shared her life with her beloved furry friend, Brady, a golden retriever that was always happy and excited to join on a walk, with his raggedy wagging tail.

Judy’s sister-in-law Verna Jean (late Bruce) McIntyre, Mildred (Fred) Parkin, and Rev. Jane Van Patter added to the richness of her family life, and though she was pre-deceased by Helen (Raymond) Siple and Joyce (Grant) Laur, their memories remained a treasured part of her story. She will also be survived by multiple generations of nephews and nieces.

Her interests were as diverse as her talents. Judy was a dedicated fan of the Woodstock Navy Vets and the Toronto Blue Jays, a gardener whose touch could make the earth bloom, a bridge player with a keen mind, a world traveler with curiosity, and a supporter of local sports, theatre, and art. Her passion for horticulture was not just a hobby but a reflection of her belief in the beauty and renewal of life.

Judy Ratcliffe was a kind, loving, and adventurous soul whose presence uplifted those around her. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Judy lived this truth, nurturing the beauty that lay within her and sharing it generously with the world.

As we remember Judy, let us not dwell on the sorrow of her departure but rather celebrate the extraordinary life she lived. Let us honor her memory by embodying the qualities she exemplified: kindness, love, and a boundless spirit of adventure. Judy’s life was a reminder that each day is a gift to be unwrapped with joy, a chance to make a difference, and an opportunity to leave an indelible imprint on the hearts of those we touch. Judy Ratcliffe’s legacy is not one of mere memory but of motivation—a call to live deeply, to love fully, and to embrace the adventure of life with open arms.

A celebration of life will be held at a  future date.

Donations can be made in Judy’s memory to the Woodstock General Hospital in support of the Diagnostic Imaging Department or a charity of your choice.