Official Obituary of

Claire L. Ratley

February 4, 1928 ~ July 30, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Claire Ratley Obituary

Claire L. Ratley, of Medora, formally of Springdale, Ohio, passed away peacefully on the evening of July 30, 2023, at Baptist Health Hospital of New Albany, Indiana with his loving family by his side. He was 95.

Claire entered this life on February 4, 1928, in Emporia, Kansas. He was the second born to LeRoy and Bertha M. (Monnard) Ratley. He was the brother to Claude, Roy, Dewayne, Delbert, Cecil, and MariAnna. He was raised in the Methodist Faith and grew up in Newton, Kansas. At the age of 15 he left to join the circus.  Claire developed a love for animals during his time at the circus.  As a circus performer, his performing act involved working with horses and juggling. He also learned how to work and care with handling wild animals. Claire and several like-minded family members started the United Zoological Assemblies and use their resources to lecture and educate people about exotic animals. Claire would travel with the circus during the on season, and during the off season he would take a variety of animals to local elementary schools in the area and would educate the children about each animal and the environments they came from. For many years, the Cincinnati Zoo would lend their animals in Claire’s trusting hands. He retired from the circus after 35 years and was able to focus more on spending time with the children at the schools.  After 50 years, Claire stepped away from going to the schools and the United Zoological Assembly.  He was a man who did not like to sit long, so he went to work as a security guard for a few years, until deciding to move to Medora to be closer to his family and became a big supporter of the Brownstown Braves Athletics.

On October 1, 1977, he was united in marriage to Nellie (Gentry) Ratley. She preceded him on July 31, 2013.

He was a member of the Lions International Club, served as a Mason, a member of the Eastern Star, and served in the Shriners Club.   

Claire’s life stories will live on with his daughters, Sandra Bennett and her husband Curt of Midland, OH, Maxine Brock and her husband Rick of Medora, and Myrna Riggs, of Bradenton, Fl, grandchildren, Richard Roy and his wife Amy, Sandy Wessel,  Joseph Haines and his wife Maria, Crystal Stuckwisch and her husband Justin, Lisa Brock, Bobby Riggs, Brandy Riggs, and Princess Newton, a brother Cecil Ratley of Colorado, and MariAnna Watts of Kansas, many great-grandchildren, and several great-great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews, and his cat Patches.

He was preceded by brothers, Claude Ratley, Roy Ratley, Dewayne Ratley, Delbert Ratley and a stepson Rodney Harper.

A private burial will be held at a later at Old Weddleville Cemetery

Final arrangements have been entrusted through Hague Funeral Home of Medora.

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