Obituary for Betty Lou Ratcliffe Kirkner

Betty Lou Ratcliffe Kirkner, 88, went home to be with her lord and savior on February 18, 2019, surrounded by her loving family.  From her birth to Ruth Naomi King and Raymond F. Ratcliffe on December 30th, 1931, until her last breath, Betty Lou spent her life dedicated to her faith, family and her never-ending optimism for the town of Pulaski.  Betty Lou married Elmer “Buddy” Kirkner in 1947 and spent the next 51 years building their life together, raising the Kirkner family.  Preceded in death by her siblings Kenny Ratcliffe and Franny Jackson, husband Buddy, and her beloved daughter Terry Mooney, Betty Lou leaves behind a loving family who keep wonderful memories of her warm smile and special laugh. “Sister” to Ann Meredith, R.F. Ratcliffe and Monte “Bud” Ratcliffe, she often talked about her childhood and being surrounded by the love and laughter of her siblings. “Mama” to Ed and Vali Kirkner and Tyler and Pamela Kirkner, Betty Lou was the unquestioned leader of the Kirkner family.  Always a loving mother and friend, she was a wonderful caregiver to her children.  “Meme” to Charis and Richie Hasson, Will and Kayla Mooney, Allison Kirkner and John Daniels, Drew Kirkner and Lindsey Monroe, Otto Kirkner and Tamas Kirkner, she loved her grandchildren “better than anything in the world.”  “GiGi” to great grandchildren Claire, Cora, and Fletcher Mooney, she spent her final years surrounded by the warm embrace of the girls’ smiles, mountains of wrapping paper and Fletcher’s snuggles. Betty Lou’s last great love was the Town of Pulaski and the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Museum, named after her father.  She spent the last 30 years keeping the dream of a free-standing museum alive.  With the assistance of her many friends, including Doc and Wally Brockmeyer (and too many others to name), that dream became a reality that will hopefully outlast us all.  Her family is very grateful for the many people who visited Betty Lou in her final days; we are especially thankful to family friend Porishua Jones for all of her assistance.  We will miss Betty Lou desperately.  From wide-ranging conversations next to her warm fireplace, to asking if anyone had “seen her cows” when she wanted someone to notice a piece of jewelry, she will be forever missed.  We’re comforted by her life well-lived, the many memories of her infectious giggle and warm hugs and her faith in Jesus Christ.  Her family will receive visitors at Betty Lou’s house at 4568 Miller Lane in Pulaski, Virginia.  A visitation will be held at Seagle Funeral Home on Thursday February 21, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., with a service to follow at 2:00 p.m.  Interment will follow in Oakwood Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Museum- Friends of the Ratcliffe, PO Box 269, Pulaski, VA 24301.  In lieu of a donation, please consider one of Betty Lou’s favorite sayings:  “It takes twice as much energy to frown as it does to smile!”  Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting  Arrangements by Seagle Funeral Home, Pulaski.