Carolyn Jane “CJ” (Chance) Ratz departed this earthy life on February 15, 2023 due to a recent and unexpected diagnosis of advanced lung cancer.
On July 7, 1939, Carolyn was born at home, one mile west of Nevada, Ohio in Antrim Township, Wyandot County. She was the first-born child to Wayne K. and Annetta F. (Disher) Chance. She lived in the Nevada area until 1947, when her family moved out west to Oklahoma, and later to Wichita, Kansas.
Returning to the Nevada area in 1953, Carolyn later graduated at the top of her class from Nevada High School in 1957. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in health education from Kent State University. She taught health and physical education from 1961 to 1966 at Buckeye Central, Colonel Crawford and Marion High Schools. Her first career change occurred after she went back to Kent State to earn her master’s in library science in 1966. She worked several years as a librarian at Heidelberg College, then later at the Tiffin Public Library at the genealogy/local history desk, which she enjoyed immensely, helping patrons with their family history questions and research. She also spent time as a title searcher, genealogist, newspaper column writer and Sunday school teacher.
Carolyn’s second and most rewarding career change happened in 1988 when she graduated with a Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School. She began her attorney practice with Petri & Keller in Galion, and later became a partner in Petri, Keller & Ratz. She decided to start her own solo practice in the early 1990’s at a small office on Washington Square in Bucyrus, Ohio across from the County Court House. She specialized in family law and advocated for neglected and abused children as a guardian ad litem.
On June 24, 1962 Carolyn married Ronald Lee Ratz at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Bucyrus. They enjoyed sixty years together before Ronald passed away last August. They were blessed with one son and two daughters, Vernon, Shannon, and Laura.
The Colorado mountains brought her west to seek sanctuary and peace after the tragic death of her son Vernon in 1993. In her retirement, she enjoyed a quieter life, establishing a part-time mobile Notary Service and enjoying making friends through her various social circles and professional organizations. She was a member of the Ohio and Colorado State Bar Associations, Eastern Star (past Worthy Matron of Bucyrus Chapter), Daughters of the American Revolution, Mayflower Society (Head Counselor for Colorado), National Society of the Dames of the Court of Honor and First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs. She was a past member of the Crawford County and Ohio Education Association, Nazareth Lutheran Church in Chatfield, Ohio and belonged to the local Genealogical Societies of Crawford County, Wyandot County, State of Ohio, as well as the National level.
Carolyn loved social gatherings, spending time with friends and family, researching her family tree, traveling across the U.S. and Europe, reading, and staying active with her water aerobics pals at the YMCA. She had a wonderful sense of humor, delighted in good conversation, and loved helping people through her legal experience, teaching, and her sound advice offered with a caring heart.
Mrs. Ratz is survived by her two daughters; a grandson, Ricky Griego; as well as twin brothers, Ronald and Donald Chance of Bucyrus; along with many friends and extended family.
She was preceded in death by her husband; son, Vernon; and her parents, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Memorial Service, 2:00PM, Friday, March 17, 2023, The Springs Funeral Services, 3115 East Platte Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909.
A separate memorial service will be held later at Wise Funeral Home, Bucyrus, Ohio with inurnment at Nevada Cemetery.
If desired, memorial contributions can be made to the Crawford County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, https://crawfordcountyohiogenealogy.org/, The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Colorado, or Nazareth Lutheran Church of Chatfield, Ohio.