Rodney Ratliff, a prominent Frankfort businessman and one of state government’s biggest landlords, has died.
“He was one of the leading citizens in Frankfort, doing a great deal for people not only in this community, but in the state,” said William Johnson, Ratliff’s attorney and friend for more than 50 years.
“You certainly could enjoy his company. He was a lot of fun to be around, and an extremely brilliant individual.”
Ratliff, 76, was involved in political enterprises, contributing to the campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans.
He owned Ratliff’s Self Storage Center, rental properties and previously ran a scrap metal business.
In 2007, he approached state and local governments with a $56.5 million deal to sell nine office buildings.
He died Thursday at Norton Hospital in Louisville after a heart attack. Funeral services are pending at Harrod Brothers Funeral Home.
Born in Elkhorn City, Ratliff was the youngest of 12 children.
He moved to Frankfort in 1952 after graduating from EKU with a bachelor’s degree in business. He and his brother William started a scrap yard, and he continued to grow his business and property holdings.
“He loved to travel – I think he’d been everywhere but Russia,” said Leslie Driskell, who worked for Ratliff since 1992. “He loved life, his family and his dog.”
Ratliff gave to both causes and individuals, Johnson said.
He donated the building that houses the Capital City Museum in downtown Frankfort, and gave property to the state and Capital Day School, Johnson said.
He called Ratliff an “extremely bright student, and a hard worker” who attended Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.
“He was a person who never stopped studying,” he said. “He was a great reader of historical books and newspapers, and he kept himself well informed.”
Ratliff sat on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation Board of Directors, and was involved with the Salvation Army and the EKU College of Business and Technology, where a scholarship bears his name.
He also served on the Kentucky State University Foundation board, and the Frankfort Plant Board, Driskell said.
He was an active member of Farmdale Baptist Church.
He is survived by his wife, Lois; two daughters, Melanie and Beth; four grandchildren; one sister; and two brothers.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army, the Humane Society or Farmdale Baptist Church.