DALLAS - Joe Herman Ratchford, 63, a devout Christian servant, loving husband, father, brother and Scouter, entered the realm of eternal life with his Lord and Savior, Feb. 18, 2014.
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He was born Aug. 22, 1950, in Gaston County, to the late Mervin Robert and Ora Morris Ratchford.
Joe designed, built, owned and operated, with his Dad, Mervin, Apple Creek Executive Golf Club in Dallas, NC. Joe was a 1968 graduate of Dallas High School and a 1972 Civil Engineering graduate of North Carolina State University. Joe was a licensed
Professional Engineer in North and South Carolina.
In addition to his parents, Joe was preceded in death by his brothers-in-law, Steve Dameron of Dallas and Steve Neal of Bessemer City.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 35 years, Gloria Neal Ratchford; son Matthew and wife Nikki of Cornelius; son Seth and girl-friend Christy Bishop of Raleigh; daughter Robin Otto and husband Zach of Raleigh; sisters Jane Dameron of Dallas, Dr. Ann Furr and husband Dr. Stephen Furr of Salisbury; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Joe was a life-long scout and began his scouting career as a boy scout with the Costner Community Troop 39. He became a Scout leader when his sons, Matt and Seth, joined Pack 28 at Antioch Lutheran Church as Cub Scouts. Joe held many posts in Troop 28 including Scoutmaster for the past 14 years where he led 35 boys to the rank of Eagle Scout, including his sons. He presented the troop's 71st Eagle to his nephew, Brady Miller, on Feb. 9, 2014. Joe was a leader with the Boy Scouts' Piedmont Council where he served as Two Rivers District Commissioner, Round-table Chairman, and member of Council Training Team. He served as Vice-chancellor for the University of Scouting, Merit Badge University Staff and National Youth Leadership Training Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster. Joe was a member of the Order of the Arrow Brother-hood. He received the Scouter's Key, Woodbadge, 2009 District Award of Merit and the highest award in Scouting, the Silver Beaver in 2013. Joe recently completed his Doctorate of Commissioner Science through the Boy Scouts of America.
Joe was passionate about his ancestry and was recently accepted into the Sons of the American Revolution National Society.
Joe was an active member of First Wesleyan Church in Bessemer City where he was a Sunday School teacher, member of the choir, past Church Treasurer, past member and Vice Chairman of the Administrative Board. Other community involvements include past president of Costner Elementary and WC Friday Middle School PTO, past president North Gaston High School Athletic Booster Club, charter member of Dal-las Optimist Club, and past member of Gastonia East Rotary Club. He was a youth T-ball and baseball coach for Bessemer City Optimist Club. Joe was a lifelong member of the Costner Community and served as the President of the Costner School Community Watch for the past 18 years.
A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at First Wesleyan Church Family Life Center, 510 E. Alabama Avenue, Bessemer City, with the Revs. Wes Brown, George Rhyne, and Dick Whitener officiating.
Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at the church.
Interment will be at Antioch Lutheran Church Garden of Peace.
Memorials may be made to BSA Troop 28 c/o Antioch Lutheran Church, 330 Old NC 277 Loop Road, Dallas, NC 28034 or Boy Scouts of Amer-ica Piedmont Council 1222 East Franklin Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28054.
To offer condolences, please visit www.siskbutler.com.
Arrangements by Sisk-Butler Funeral & Cremation Services, Bessemer City.
Sisk-Butler Funeral Home
PO Box 366
Bessemer City, NC 28016
Published in Gaston Gazette on Feb. 21, 2014