Flora Ratliff, DTM, Past Division Director
— A Tribute by Brian Woolf, DTM
[Flora passed on Jan 16, 2016, at age 62]
In every company
In every congregation
In every club
There is always a small group of special people
Who are inclusive
Who are interested in us
Who are encouraging
Flora was one of those special people.
For with her warm smile—
That soft shy smile with those sparkling eyes—
She included us in her conversations
She was interested in what we said
And she encouraged us to keep improving.
It was hard not to love her.
I met Flora in Toastmasters
In 2002—when looking for a Club to join—
I visited 8 in Greenville
And the one that was the warmest & most welcoming
Was Flora’s Club.
Now—those who have known Flora a long time
Will probably be thinking
Duh, dude! —That’s no surprise—
She helps make every group be that way.
But I joined—and discovered—
Flora loved Toastmasters
And Toastmasters loved Flora.
And that never ever changed.
You won’t believe this—Or maybe you will—
But even in her last days
With a computer on her hospital bed
Flora was tending to Toastmasters correspondence!
And—I’m sure—that of her other groups, too.
Such acts remind us why we loved her.
Flora was about others—not herself
Flora learned of her cancer 13 years ago
But I never once heard her raise the subject.
Whenever I asked I was assured all was well
And she’d change the conversation to talk of others
Flora was a doer—not a complainer
I never once heard a negative word from Flora—
And in a volunteer organization there are many opportunities!
Instead—she chose to get things done.
Flora was a giver—not a taker
She gave her time wherever it was needed
Always doing—Always encouraging—Always helping.
One of my favorite poems begins .…
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
That poem could have been about Flora.
Her life was a living sermon
She had no need to preach to us
We are part of all we meet
I hope that’s true
We are all better people because Flora came into our lives
Thank you Flora — We will miss you.