Landscapes 14

James Maxwell Ratcliffe

May 26, 1925 ~ June 17, 2020 (age 95)


CHICAGO - James M. Ratcliffe, 95, passed away on June 17 in Chicago, Illinois. He was born on May 26, 1925 in Kewanee, Illinois, to the late James and Madeleine Ratcliffe.  Jim graduated from the University of Chicago in 1946 and received his JD from the University of Chicago Law School in 1950. He served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946 and later as a First Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve. He married Hildegund (Weide) Ratcliffe in 1969. 

Jim moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago in 1942 to attend the University of Chicago. Other than three years spent in Italy and Brazil at the behest of the U.S. Army, he lived there until his death 78 years later.

Jim served as Assistant Dean and Director of Placement at the University of Chicago Law School. While there, he edited The Good Samaritan and the Law. He eventually left the Law School to join R.R. Donnelley and Sons (the world’s largest commercial printer, as he was fond of noting), where he retired as Vice President for Corporate Relations.

Jim was active in the Chicago community, serving on the boards of the Better Government Association, Econ Illinois, and the Harper Court Arts Council, and volunteering with the Executive Service Corps. He was a longtime parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle, a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and a supporter of the Kewanee Historical Society. 

Jim is survived by his wife of fifty years Hildegund W. Ratcliffe, his son James M. Ratcliffe III, and his grandchildren Madeleine and Oliver Ratcliffe. Jim was buried in a private ceremony in Kewanee, Illinois; a memorial service will be planned when such gatherings once more become feasible. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Maxwell Ratcliffe, please visit our floral store.


Private Services

Evergreen Memorial Gardens, Kewanee
2472 US Highway 34
Kewanee, IL 61443

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