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William H. "Bill" Ratzlaff, 83, of Billings, passed away at his home Sunday morning, April 24, 2011, of natural causes.

Bill was born on Oct. 13th 1927, in Jamestown, N.D., son of Louis and Josephine Ratzlaff. He was raised in Jamestown, spending a short amount of time in Boys Town. Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945, served his tour of duty in the SeaBees, and was honorably discharged in 1951. On April 30, 1949, Bill married Caroline H. Hagel. They would spend the next 52 years together in Billings.

Bill was very active in the union. He was an officer for 20 years, 14 of them as president of the Local Union 532 IBEW. He loved racing stock cars, motorcycle riding and hunting. Bill and Carol were avid bowlers, square dancers and loved to camp and fish.

Survivors include seven children, June (Terry) Kober, Garry (Teresa) Ratzlaff, Henry (Jane) Ratzlaff, Jeffery (Carey) Ratzlaff, Gregory (Brenda) Ratzlaff, Cynthia (Michael) Harper, and Joanne (Jim) Kelso; one brother George (Joan) Ratzlaff; 22 grandchildren; 40 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson on the way. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Caroline, son Robert, grandson Christopher, one brother and two sisters.

The memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 29, at Smith West Chapel, 304 34th St. W. Cremation has taken place.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Boys Town National Alumni Association, P.O. Box #2, Boys Town, Nebraska 68010, or Special K Ranch, 34 Special K Lane, Columbus MT 59019.

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