Candace Sylvia Ratcliffe
December 31, 1938 – September 2, 2019
Candace (Candy) Sylvia Ratcliffe was the third child born to Jesse F. and Gladys K. Wilson on December 31, 1938, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jesse was a printer and Gladys worked as a secretary in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The couple raised their family mostly in New Mexico, but spent a couple of years in Longview, Washington.
Candy had a lifetime love of animals, especially dogs and horses. The family always had dogs, but Candy wanted a horse, so she asked her father for one. In junior high, Jesse offered to buy her a rifle, instead. That satisfied her for a while, but she eventually was able to obtain her own horse, a source of financial hardship for the family, as horses are expensive animals to own.
Candy spent as much time as possible when free from chores, school, and work with her horse. Candy competed in rodeos and horse shows. There wasn’t any extra money in the family for a horse trailer, so Candy had to ride her horse to the shows in order to compete. Candy graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1955. She attended college at several universities in New Mexico and worked at Woolworth’s for a time.
In February of 1963, she married William Thural Merriman, Sr., a widower with four children, the youngest, an 8-year-old, named William T. Merriman, Jr. In November, their first child, daughter Tamara Jane, was born. Candy worked in the pathology lab in the hospital in Albuquerque, while William was employed as a salesman at Standard Oil. The family lived on a small piece of land with a dairy cow and Candy’s horse. Candy continued barrel racing after the birth of Tamara until she had a near mishap. In 1965, the family moved to the Dallas, Texas for better work opportunities for William (Bill). Son John Houston was born in October 1966, and daughter Diane Cecile was born in October 1974.
The family became active in the Baptist church, eventually joining Richardson Heights Baptist Church, where all three children made their professions of faith. Candy and Bill taught youth Sunday school for many years, while Candy was always active in the choir. She worked as a real estate agent, a dog groomer and breeder, and a medical transcriptionist.
After all her children graduated from high school, her marriage to Bill ended. Candy followed her dream to be in the mountains and with horses in 2000 when she began working at Peaceful Valley Ranch in Colorado. She later moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming to be near Tamara, and then to Austin to be near Diane.
She met Richard Ratcliffe in 2012 at Community Bible Study and they were married in June 2013. At the time Richard really wanted to take care of and protect Candy, but when he became ill in 2017, Candy became his caretaker. In late July of 2019, Candy was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a highly aggressive brain cancer. She passed away in her home on September 2, 2019.
Candy was a loving mother, wife, and friend. She truly cared for people and was quick to make friends with newcomers. She also was faithful to share the gospel consistently with everyone she met. Her family is grateful for the time they had with her, and thankful to all who loved her and cared for her in her time of need. Candy will be forever remembered by her loving husband, Richard, children Billy (Wanda), Tamara (John) Cheeseman, John (Misty) Merriman and Diane (Samuel) Echevarria. She will be lovingly remembered by her five grandchildren: Daniel, Elijah, Micah, Joshua and Jonathan Echevarria. She is preceded in death by her parents, brother Jesse F. Wilson III and sister Marilyn Watson.