KINSTON - Pastor Archie Wayne Ratliff, 63, Senior Pastor of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church and Bethel Christian Academy in Kinston, N.C., passed away on Monday, December 17, 2012, at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Pastor Ratliff was born November 29, 1949, in Sneedville, Tenn. to the late John and Lucille Elliott Ratliff. Pastor Ratliff dedicated his entire life to helping others and serving Christ. Following graduation from Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, Archie served God for five years at Glennville Free Will Baptist Church, Glennville, Ga. and then 13 years at Peace Free Will Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Ind. For the past 22 years Archie has served as Senior Pastor of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church. Pastor Ratliff battled and defeated esophageal cancer in 2009; however, the radiation and chemotherapy treatments caused him to develop leukemia. Pastor Ratliff was one of the greatest leaders the Free Will Baptist Denomination has ever known. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Free Will Baptist Bible College for eight years and was very involved with Free Will Baptist International Missions. Pastor Ratliff guided Bethel Church to be globally involved in spreading the Gospel. A service to honor and celebrate Pastor Ratliff's life will be held Thursday, December 20, 2012, at 7 p.m. at Bethel Free Will Baptist Church. A committal service will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Kinston. Pastor Ratliff is survived by his wife of 43 years, Portia; three daughters, Kim Truett and husband Chris, Michelle Williams and husband Rusty, Jenifer Carnes and husband Adam; nine grandchildren, Hunter Truett, Cole Williams, Jonathan Truett, Connor Williams, Madison Carnes, Easton Truett, Hailey Carnes, Cooper Williams and Dawson Carnes; and a brother, Steve Ratliff and wife Debbie, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. Beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Pastor Ratliff will lie in state at Bethel Free Will Baptist Church. His family will be there to receive friends Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. and again on Thursday from 4-6 p.m. Online condolences may be expressed at rousefh.com. Pastor Ratliff desired that memorials be made to Bethel Free Will Baptist Church, 1936 Banks School Road, Kinston, NC 28504 to be used in God's mission field both here and abroad. Arrangements are with Rouse Funeral Home, La Grange. Sign the guest book at Kinston.com. (Paid obituary)
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Published in Free Press from Dec. 18 to Dec. 22, 2012