April 22, 2024

MEI alumni are invited to attend the celebration of life for beloved teacher, Mr. John Ratzlaff on April 27, at 11:00 am at the Highland Community Church at 3130, McMillan Road in Abbotsford.

The below memorial was provided by Mr. Ratzlaff’s family:

John Ratzlaff left us for a better place on December 31, 2023 at the age of 96.

He was a man who made time for others. He taught at the MEI from 1954 to 1988. As a teacher, taking students on hikes and field trips, leading choirs, and making time for persons around him. The students he taught in his later years were the children of many of his former students. Many students have remarked on the lasting impression he made on their lives.

After his retirement he and his wife Helen spent time in China teaching ESL until the revolution in 1989 cut short their stay. He then spent time teaching inmates in the local prisons till he lost his eyesight in 2001.

John and Helen’s house was always open and students and visitors were always welcome.

He always had time for his grandchildren and great grandchildren and took a great interest in their aspirations and achievements even in his last days.

Feature from the Spring 2022 issue on MEI Connections Magazine

The below excerpt is from the Spring 2022 feature > Read now

Mr. John Ratzlaff MEI Class of 1948 (Senior Matriculation), Taught at MEI from 1954-1988

We caught up with Mr. Ratzlaff on the phone, to offer our condolences on the recent passing of his wife Helen, and to reminisce. Mr. Ratzlaff thought back to his MEI graduation in 1948, the year of the (other) big flood. In keeping with his way of finding opportunities to be useful, on his graduation night he responded to a call for volunteers to watch and build up the dykes in defense of the Barrowtown Pump Station.

That trend of filling in the gaps continued in his teaching career at MEI; in addition to his regular teaching schedule (Biology, Social Studies, German, PE), he started a new course on World Religions, helped lead the singing in chapel, and taught music.

We prodded him a bit to offer a word of wisdom, and he suggested that school is a great opportunity to broaden horizons and thinking. “Take a variety of classes. Get involved so that you get a broad view of life. Teachers too – diversify your involvement so that you keep a wide base
of experience and influence.”

John teaching in 1980

Mr. Ratzlaff and his wife, Helen attended the MEI Class of 1959 60-year reunion in 2019