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Ratcliffe, Lyndon  
Ratcliffe, Lyndon Red. Red Ratcliffe, known to absolutely no one by his given name, Lyndon Hanes Ratcliffe, was a fly fisherman to the core. He loved to fish Connecticut's Farmington River where his love affair with fishing began over 85 years ago. He loved to fish the Miramachi, the Restigouche, the York, the Big Horn, the Columbia; he loved any river you could name. He loved trying to outwit the wily trout found at the Limestone Trout Club in Canaan, Connecticut. He believed that once caught, a fish should be released to live to fight another day. When he wasn't fishing he was talking about fishing; tying flies; honing his equipment to perfection; advising friends which fly to use at which river at which time and slipping them a few samples that he had tied himself. Nothing could keep him from a stream, a river, a lake, a pond. He once split his head open on a fallen branch in Labrador, walked eight miles to a town with no doctor, and instructed a terrified resident how to stitch up his head with sutures he had brought from home. He then returned to the river and caught four salmon. He was also a crack shot who could fill a buffet table with pheasant, grouse, goose, venison, elk and the occasional moose. He shot well enough to qualify as a Sharp Shooter in the US Army, which he entered as a Private and was discharged as a Captain. Red did manage to fit in a big life between fishing trips. He graduated from the Plainville, CT Schools, The Gunnery School, and Trinity College where he was a storied four year letterman in football. After a much decorated stint in US Army Counter-Intelligence in the Far East, he was chosen to handle personal security for General Limon Lemnitzer, Commander, US Army forces, Far East, later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Red ran a hugely successful multiple line insurance agency, Tracy Driscoll, in Bristol, Connecticut, was a lifetime member of The Million Dollar Round Table, and held office in a multitude of civic organizations. The list of his accomplishments and contributions is impressive and long but Red Ratcliffe was so much more than the sum of his activities. He was a humble man who embodied integrity, intelligence, kindness, generosity, and compassion. His zest for life was unparalleled. He never met a stranger and he served as a mentor to young and old. The man was completely unique and entirely unforgettable. He moved to the Westport, CT area in 1991 and split his time between there and West Hill Lake and Hancock Park in Los Angeles. When he died on May 12, five days after his 87th birthday, he left behind a wife who adored him, Millee Taggart- Ratcliffe, beloved children and step-children; Glenn and Susan Ratcliffe, Bess and Eric Hutchinson, Paul Ratcliffe, Matthew Kurtz, and Heather and Rob Nagle. He had seven grandchildren: Lyndon, Sam, Lauren, Sydney, Chase, Tessa and Ryder. They were privileged to learn from him lessons they may not yet fully comprehend. He also left behind a legion of devoted friends whom he considered family. A private memorial service is being held and his ashes will be returned to one of the rivers he loved. The fishing forecast for those waters is excellent.
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Published in Westport News from May 20 to May 22, 2015
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