Amber Patty
The Good Wife
Floyd Ratliff

Floyd Lee Ratliff was born March 26, 1940 to Stewart and Freda Ratliff in Monroe, West Virginia. When Floyd was a child his parents moved to Battle Creek Michigan where he grew up with one sister, Della. Floyd graduated Battle Creek High School in 1958 and five years later he married a woman named Yvone, after which he enlisted himself into the US Army in Fort Campbell as a mechanic. During the two years he was in service, his marriage crumbled and ended in divorce. In 1965 he married Ruby Sandy Ratliff and they had their first child, Jim Ratliff that same year. In 1967 their second child was born, Susan, and throughout their sixteen-year marriage Floyd worked for Clark Equipment as a mechanic and painted cars on the side to support his family. In 1978 his youngest daughter was born named Trish.

In 1972 Floyd became the first president of the first BMW Motorcycles Club, which organized events such as Toys for Tots. His wild and free spirit generated a lot of hostility within his family, nevertheless he continued to commit his time and energy into painting, restoring, and riding motorcycles while his wife recorded their travels in albums. His best friend Chet Conine rode motorcycles with him and hosted a wide range of events for their clubs. Floyd recalls in that time that they saw over forty states on their rides.

His passion for motorcycles and travel soon broke the bond of marriage to his second wife in 1981. These became dark years for Floyd as his job at Clark Equipment closed after almost two decades of employment and his decision to move to East Tennessee with his son became final in 1983. A year later his father passed away in Michigan of a heart attack while Floyd was trying to open businesses for himself in Tennessee. He opened a shop where he worked on Volkswagen transmissions then later opened his last business, Ratliff’s Transmissions on Hwy 411.

His third marriage to Denise Ratliff was exciting and fulfilling. Floyd describes her as the “good wife” and shows albums of them riding his motorized trike around the country. Some of her descriptions are recorded in letters and subtitles of the books. Their marriage lasted almost twenty years until in 2005 Denise had an aneurism that killed her.

Four years later the very same thing happened to Floyd when he had an accident riding a four-wheeler. He became handicapped and was cared for by several nursing homes and family members in a two-year span. He was diagnosed with Dementia and Alzheimer’s when his fourth wife admitted him to East Tennessee Health Care Center in 2010. Although discouraged with not being able to care for himself and ride his motorcycles, Floyd is proud of his travels and his family. His step-father and mother who is in her nineties visits three times a weeks and his children are a successful business owner, a police officer, and a military veteran, now nurse. He has lived in over three states, rode through over forty, and tells how he put 100,000 miles on his bike in just four years.