On April 13, 2019, Ronald Louis Ratnecht, a resident of Fernandina Beach, Florida passed away at the age of 71, an unexpected result of a scheduled surgery. He was surrounded by his family from the day of his surgery until his passing. Ron was born on January 8, 1948, in Norwich, Connecticut to Louis and Shirley (Armstrong) Ratnecht. He attended St. Bernard’s High School, Class of 1966 and graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a Bachelors in Engineering.
He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1968-1969 and was a recipient of the Bronze Star. It took him many years to get there but he was a very proud Vietnam Veteran and wore his hat to prove it. It always brought the biggest smile to his face to say “Welcome Home” to a fellow Vietnam Veteran and even turned down an Army Challenge coin from another veteran because he already had one of which he was very willing to share. He enjoyed spending time at the American Legion in Fernandina Beach and at the AmVets in St. Petersburg, Florida. There are two bricks on the memorial site of the “old” American Legion in Fernandina Beach dedicated to Ron.
Ron is survived by his high school sweetheart, Joanne Foster Ratnecht whom he married on May 18, 1968 in New London, Connecticut; his three daughters: Dawn Ratnecht, Diane (Owen) Berger, Denise (Erick) Sterne and four grandchildren: Daniel and Alexandra (Lexi) Sterne, Evan Berger and Arabella (Ari) Ratnecht.
He was a Mechanical Engineer and for many years worked in the pulp and paper industry moving his family to different states but finally settling in Fernandina Beach and retiring from power generation sales which he thoroughly enjoyed. Although he traveled for many years of his life for work, he always found time to participate in his daughters’ extracurricular activities.
Ron was a volunteer firefighter for the Yantic Fire Department in Connecticut and for the Grand Island Fire Department in New York. He did volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity in Virginia, Texas and Florida. He was always happy working on projects big and small in “his” garage. He built the cabinets that line every wall in the garage and was asked often about them. He helped all three of his daughters with projects at their homes, some of which probably seemed never ending, however, he never complained, nor seemed to mind, always loading up his Mazda Miata with as much wood as he could. We all have a piece of his handiwork in our homes.
His true passion in life was his love of golf which just intensified when he retired. He would play 3-4 times a week, take many golfing trips and would brag that he didn’t wake up until 10:00 am when he was asked if he wanted to do something. He also loved surf fishing and spent many a beach trip teaching his daughters and grandchildren to fish.
His siblings include Leslie Marrocco, Louis J. Ratnecht, Janet Oldham and Nancy Ratnecht. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Robert Marrocco and sister-in-law Sharon Murphy along with multiple nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and three brothers Stephen, Gerry and Christopher.
The family wishes to thank the numerous doctors and staff at the Mayo Clinic for their loving care and support during his time spent there.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, 161 N. Clark, Suite 3550, Chicago, Illinois 60601 or at MDA.org.
Mass is to be held on May 6, 2019 at 11:00 am at St. Michael’s Catholic Church located at 505 Broome Street in Fernandina Beach, Florida followed by a Celebration of Life from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at The Golf Club of North Hampton located at 22680 N. Hampton Club Way, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034.
Ron will eternally rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., the date of that memorial is yet to be determined.