Greg Ratzlaff died Aug. 26, 2009. He was born Oct. 19, 1962 in Vancouver to Harold and Violet Ratzlaff. His gentle spirit and the twinkle in his eye were evident early, and his love for people and relationship remained his trademark throughout life. While living in Eugene, Ore., Greg turned his young life over to God at a church service in 1968. He attended Columbia Bible College from 1981–83, some of the most important years of his life, when he grew emotionally and spiritually and made lifelong friendships. During this time, he was baptized into the MB church. After working, he returned to school at UBC, graduating in 1989 with a BSc in pharmacy. He completed an arduous post-graduate residency in clinical pharmacy in 1993. Greg never stopped learning, whether professionally or about any of his many other passions including jet airplanes and sports. Yet what he really loved to learn about were the lives, passions, and interests of those close to him. Gentleness, humour, mischievousness, a sharp memory, and an abiding curiosity are a few of the broad strokes with which he painted every day of his life. In the last two and a half years, he added large measures of courage, bravery, and resilience to his palette. While he came to know the depths of human suffering at different times in his life, he walked those hard spiritual journeys with God, and grew deeply in spiritual ways that touched all those around him. He faced his diagnosis of cancer with peace and resilience, and while he longed to live, was not afraid of dying. He drew immense strength from his faith. Greg was a cherished son, brother, and uncle, and was a second father to Cameron and Nicole.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.