The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


November 10, 2013

BAF is new home for Ratcliffe Scholarship Fund

Assets held in the Edwin and Lanier File Ratcliffe Memorial Scholarship Fund have been moved from the Mountain State University Foundation to the Beckley Area Foundation.

Income from this permanent endowment will continue to help local students pursue post-high school education.

An annual need-based scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior of any public high school located in Raleigh County and attending any accredited college, university or technical school. Recipients must have earned a GPA of 3.25 or better, excelled in math and/or science in high school and expressed an interest in majoring in either math or science.

The scholarship will not be renewable.

Lanier File Ratcliffe, the daughter of William H. and Addie Lanier File, was born June 19, 1913, in Beckley. Her siblings were Ann Louise File, William H. File Jr., and Elizabeth File (Reed). She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1929, and from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, Va., in 1934 with a degree in chemistry.

Following her graduation she returned to Beckley and began her career teaching math in the Raleigh County school system, mostly at Woodrow Wilson High School.

She married Edwin Ratcliffe in 1943. They had three children, Ann, Mary Claire and Edwin.

In 1961 and 1965, she received grants from the National Science Foundation for advanced math studies at Purdue and Drew universities. She not only taught “new math” to her own high school classes, but she also taught the new approaches to other teachers in the county.

In the early 1970s she taught the first computer programming courses in the county, instructing students in Basic and Fortran. At that time the students’ programs were put on punch tapes.

She taught for a total of 25 years and, at her retirement in 1976, was chairperson of the Math Department at Woodrow.

Lanier was also active in civic groups and in her church. She was a member of the Beckley Junior Woman’s Club and president of the Highland Garden Club. A member of the First Christian Church for more than 50 years, she served as teacher, elder and church librarian. After she and her husband moved to Mathews County, Va., in 1978, she was elder in the First Presbyterian Church in Gloucester.

She died on May 21, 2004, in Columbia, Md., at Somerford Place Assisted Living following a short illness.

Edwin Ratcliffe was born in Charleston, on March 29, 1913. He was the son of Everett and Atha DeVinney Ratcliffe. He graduated from Charleston High School. During World War II, he was a captain in the 522nd Field Artillery of the Japanese-American 442nd Combat Team. He later retired as a major from the Army Reserves.

He came to Beckley and was an independent insurance agent from 1939 until he sold Beckley Insurance Agency in 1976. He also had been associated with Home Insurance Agency in Beckley and Ratcliffe-McClain Insurance Agency in Bardstown, Ky.

He served two terms as the president of the West Virginia Insurance Agents Association. He also served as president of the Beckley Junior Chamber of Commerce; for several years, he was the president of the Board of Trustees of Beckley College.

Edwin was a deacon in the First Christian Church in Beckley before moving to Mathews County, Va., where he joined the First Presbyterian Church of Gloucester. He died June 15, 1997, in Newport News, Va. Lanier and Edwin were married for 54 years.

“This family has strong Beckley ties and an enduring interest in education,” noted Sharon Lilly, BAF scholarship program officer. “We hope that both the financial aid offered through this scholarship fund and their example will encourage Raleigh County students to take advantage of all opportunities to pursue advanced studies.”

Contact the Beckley Area Foundation, 304-253-3806 or, for additional information about starting a named permanent endowment.

Text Only
  • bob thompson The jazz man

    If Bob Thompson’s 30-year career as a professional musician has taught him anything, it’s that there are really only two kinds of music.


    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leave a good legacy, and respect others’

    The death this week of the Rev. Jerry Falwell led to a network and cable blitz of commentaries on his life. We’ve been bombarded with a flurry of eulogies, criticisms, apathetic shrugs and lots of news footage regarding Falwell’s faith and foibles.


    July 26, 2014

  • 072314 Life CrossFit 4.jpg Crossfit Nation: Working out the WOD way

    Just as fashion trends come and go, so do fitness fads, and Cyndie Chinn had tried them all.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • downsize 1 Living large in smaller spaces

    How is it possible that as your nest gets emptier, your garage gets fuller? Living off the grid sounds tantalizing — the extreme version of paring down. But are you ready for solar panels and growing your own groceries or would a smaller home do the trick?

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Relishing the faith of little children

    July 19, 2014

  • Guns 1 ‘Guns’ for Life

    With the latest World Health Organization figures showing global life expectancy increasing from 64 years in 1990 to 70 years in 2011, staying healthy enough to add quality to the quantity of life is an important consideration.

    July 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • coconut 4 Crack open the power of the coconut

    Now let’s get this straight …
      We know about Parrotheads. And Cheeseheads. But when did Coconut Heads become cool?
    Move over, argan — you are so last season. Another exotic oil is taking lead role in everything from shampoo to weight-loss supplements. That cast-iron skillet seasoning, stretch-mark banishing essence of the hour is — coconut oil.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Free summer serenade concert to be held

    Aurora Celtic, sponsored by Ivy & Stone, presents the free Summer Serenade concert Saturday at 6 p.m. on the Brown House lawn in Summersville.

    July 13, 2014

  • WVU Extension: Healthy summer eating tips for all occasions

    Summer and early fall are the times of year for family reunions, potluck picnics, pool parties and various other celebrations where we like to share food.

    July 13, 2014

  • new BAF fund Endowment still helping students attend college

    The “Beckley College, College of West Virginia, Mountain State University and University of Charleston-Beckley Alumni Association Fund” has the distinction of having the longest name of any of the 400 permanent endowments managed by the Beckley Area Foundation.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo