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1944 Edith 2024

Edith Ruth Ratliff

November 10, 1944 — June 19, 2024

Edith Ratliff, aged 79, of San Diego, California, passed away peacefully on June 19, 2024. She was born on November 10, 1944, in Bogalusa, Louisiana, to Olivia and Cooper Ratliff.

Edith is survived by her brother, Fleet and sister-in-law Ann Marie, her sister, Ann and brother-in-law Jim, as well as her daughter, Alice Fugitt, and son, Benjamin Fugitt. She was a loving grandmother to David, James, and Catherine, who brought immense joy to her life. She leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews and cousins who remember her with fondness.

In her hometown of Bogalusa Edith made many dear friends and cultivated her love of gardening and music. As a child, she was active in her parent’s church and frequently performed with the choir and in community performances, for which she was renowned for her fire-baton twirling. She often spoke of her fishing trips along the Gulf Coast with her father and brother, and of adventures had exploring swamps and rivers with snakes and alligators. These tales of daring-do brought smiles to her children and grandchildren and usually ended with the carrying of the canoe and a recipe for fried fish.

In high-school, Edith and her family moved to Camas, Washington. She was popular and happy in her new home, and again made many friendships which she held dear. While in high-school in Camas, Edith took art classes in Portland, and began a love of painting she enjoyed throughout her life. Many of her whimsical paintings still hang on the walls of her friends and family. She was the editor of the school newspaper, and a frequent trouble-maker with her group of friends. Her tales of high-school escapades were often told in a hushed voice to make sure that her impressionable grandchildren wouldn’t overhear. 

After high-school Edith moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University, and it was here she met and married Bruce Fugitt. Edith and her family moved from Washington to California, where they lived in Pasadena, Point Loma, Poway, and finally to San Diego. Along the way Edith continued her involvement with the community, especially with youth groups. She was a director of the Campfire Girls program in Pasadena, helped with summer camps in Point Loma, and was a supporter of the school music programs in Poway.

Edith enjoyed a long career with the Navy, starting in the typing pool at the Naval base in Point Loma. Her skills with computers and as a manager quickly showed themselves, and she advanced rapidly. When she retired, she was the director of publications at the base. At work she was beloved and respected. Even after her retirement, she maintained close friendships with those she worked with.

After retiring, Edith stayed busy working for the Civic Youth Orchestra in San Diego. While she had been an active volunteer with this organization for many years while her son, Benjamin, was in the orchestra, after she retired from the Navy she dedicated even more of her time and talent to the group. She served as general manager for a number of years, and used this experience to help establish and run other youth symphony and orchestra groups in San Diego County. A life-long piano player, her love of music inspired her to learn to play the violin, viola, and guitar as an adult. She would gather with a group of friends and they would spend afternoons playing music, drinking wine, and enjoying each other’s company. With her daughter, Alice, Edith also joined a book club with a group of friends who would gather regularly and share their passion for books, new foods, and wine. Her favorite books were history and mystery, and her special spirit made the meetings delightful.

Though her work was fulfilling and meaningful, Edith found her greatest joy in her children grandchildren. Alice and Benjamin adored the time spent with their mother on bike rides, in the kitchen, at the sewing machine, in the garden, walking through the mall, or at the movies. Being a single working mother wasn’t always easy, but her children never doubted their mother’s love and devotion. When her first grandchild, David, was born, a new era was opened in Edith’s life. She relished her role as “Gaga” in David’s life, and never missed an opportunity to visit, play, and spoil. David and Gaga would spend hours making up stories of adventure and talking plants, or wandering the halls of IKEA searching for new uses for ordinary things. When her next grandchildren, James and Catherine, were born, she was older and less active, but she still spoiled them without mercy and joyfully allowed them to crawl all over her or spray her with water in the garden. During the last weeks of her life, their daily visits and stories of their school day brought a light to her eyes and smile to her lips.

Edith will be missed by all those whose lives have been touched by her generous nature, her wry humor, and her loving spirit. May she rest in eternal peace. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Gregory the Great Catholic School (15315 Stonebridge Pkwy, San Diego, CA 92131).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edith Ruth Ratliff, please visit our flower store.

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