Obituary for Gerald Lee Ratliff
Dr. Gerald Lee Ratliff, age 75, of Rock Island, Tennessee passed away on January 14, 2020 at his home. Gerald was born in Middletown, Ohio on October 23, 1944.
Dr. Gerald Lee Ratliff, age 75, of Rock Island, Tennessee passed away on January 14, 2020 at his home. Gerald was born in Middletown, Ohio on October 23, 1944. He was the son of the late Gladvell Ratliff and the late Monnie Whisman Ratliff.
Gerald received his Master’s degree in Theatre from the University of Cincinnati in 1970 and earned his Ph.D. in Dramatic Criticism from Bowling Green State University in 1975. He spent much of his early academic career at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, where he taught courses in Dramaturgy, Readers Theatre, and Theatre History. He was elected repeatedly to serve as Chair of the Department of Speech and Theatre there during the 1980s and 1990s. Gerald became Chair of the Department of English and Communication at The State University of New York at Potsdam in 1997, serving in that role until 2000. He was promoted in 1999 to the post of Associate Provost, the position from which he retired in 2016. During his years as an administrator at Potsdam, Gerald was instrumental in creating and revising several academic programs including Graphic Design and New Media, International Studies, and Exercise Science. He also served as Program Director for Potsdam’s Title III initiative, oversaw the Office of Research and Sponsored Funds, and the Student Success Center.
Active in the Communication and Theatre disciplines, Gerald served as the Executive Secretary of the Eastern Communication Association from 1986 to 1989 and as ECA President in 1992. He was honored in 1993 with the ECA Distinguished Service Award and was also named as an ECA Distinguished Teaching Fellow in 1998. He authored the textbook, Reader’s Theatre: An Introduction to Classroom Performance (1999) and the touchstone essay, “Shakespeare and Reader’s Theatre: Fellow Traveling Companions” (2010). Gerald edited multiple books of audition monologues and commentary during the period 1996 to 2016, including: Playing Contemporary Scenes: Thirty-One Famous Scenes and How to Play Them (1996); The Theatre Audition Book (1998, 2009); Millennium Monologues: 95 Contemporary Characterizations for Young Actors (2003); Young Women’s Monologues from Contemporary Plays (2008, 2013); Audition Monologues for Young Women (2011), and, with Patrick Rainville Dorn, Audition Monologues for Young Men: Selections from Contemporary Works ( 2016).
Gerald enjoyed collecting and repairing vintage furniture, amassing a wardrobe of colorful neckties, and creating community for his fellow academic travelers. He is remembered fondly for his ability to deliver even difficult news with compassion and aplomb, for his resilience in the face of adversity, and for his deliciously mischievous sense of humor.
No information about memorial contributions is available. Interment was at Woodside Cemetery, Middletown, OH.