Frances Violet Ratzlaff was born to Peter J. and Martha C. Ratzlaff, Freeman, S.D., April 3, 1934. She attended the country school located on their farm property, high school at Freeman Academy, and one-and-a-half years at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kan. During Bible school in her early teen years she accepted Jesus into her heart and life. On April 24, 1954, she married Raymond Jay Becker. Four daughters were born to the family. Mom nurtured us, as daughters, in different ways in the home. One of the ways we were taught discipline was to memorize a set of Bible verses put out in a little booklet by BMA each week and we recited them to her on Saturday mornings. She continued to be a spiritual mentor and prayer warrior for us through the years by reading through the Bible multiple times, encouraging us from the daily programs she listened to on radio, and most recently giving Bibles to the great-grandchildren last year at a reunion.
Mom was a master bun maker, and always had buns on the table for dad every meal. Her love of sewing showed in the matching outfits we four girls often wore as children, as well as school clothes, and wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses she sewed for our weddings. After we left, this hobby continued in sewing quilts made into pillows for each grandchild as they arrived into the world, an eighth-grade graduation quilt and then many more quilts that we have received from her, as well as others that have been given away. When we were in our teens, Mom’s love of infants inspired her and dad to foster 21 children of all ages, but mainly infants. Some of those we became fondly attached to. We are sure she is hugging Tommy up in Heaven, whom we had for five years before his death at age five.
Dad and Mom were able to celebrate their 60th anniversary the same year they both turned 80. Shortly after, Dad passed away due to declining health of pancreatic cancer. Mom bravely stayed comfortably on the farm for a year while the four daughters took turns coming home every three-to-five weeks to spend time with her. The summer of 2015 we moved her to Peace Haven, an independent Living Facility in Walnut, Iowa near her youngest daughter, Claudette. She thoroughly loved the other residents there and continued quilting, putting together puzzles, listening to her favorite radio programs, and making some friends. Mom resided at Peace Haven for two-and-a-half years before falling ill to a respiratory failure which resulted in her death on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.
She is survived by her four daughters and their husbands: Coleen and Bill Black of Omaha, Neb., Brenda and Tim Harder of Eldorado, Kan., Debra and Steve Friesen of Valley Center, Kan., and Claudette and Trace Frahm of Walnut, Iowa; 14 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren with two more on the way; brother Don and wife Shirley Ratzlaff from Marion, Iowa; and four nephews.
A memorial service was held at the EMB Church Saturday, March 3, with Pastor Randy Maass officiating. A graveside committal followed, with grandsons Jeff Harder, Josh Harder, Kevin Friesen, Ryan Frahm, Derek Frahm and Josiah Black serving as pallbearers.