Ratch was a man who, once you met him, you never forgot him.
  • 66 years old
  • Born on November 7, 1944 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Passed away on October 16, 2011 in Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada.


To see Ratch's obituary, please go to the "His LIfe" section of this site. To add stories or your memories of Ratch, go to the "Stories" section.


                             +++Thank you for your love and friendship.+++



Posted by Jon Blair on October 16, 2019
Well, old Maestro, you would be delighted by how everyone remembers you so very vividly.
It won't be long now!

Posted by Mercedes Calvert on October 16, 2019
Eight years already... so much has happened that you would have loved. Those grandkids of yours are growing like crazy- Johnny is already as tall as me! Jake will be soon too. It is all moving along so quickly. You are missed by us all. xoxo
Posted by Peter Lower on October 16, 2019
Thinking about you today and missing your friendship. Cheers, mate.
Posted by Elgin McKillop on October 23, 2018
A good friend too soon gone, I think of "Ratch" often.
Posted by Jon Blair on October 20, 2018
Well, Ratch, if you hadn't sent me that letter from the Castle Hotel in Vancouver in 1964 telling me how wonderful the Coast was....I never would have sailed the "HEARTSEEKER", nor met Dan and Sioux Carr, or Don Cruickshank, or Denyse...and I would never have known Kathleen.
Everything would have been very, very different.
I still follow your policy of introducing interesting people to each other... God Bless!
Posted by Peter Lower on October 16, 2018
Seeing you on this great memorial website and thinking of you today and often. Deep sadness and little overwhelmed today. Miss the hell out of you old friend. "We are holding our own". Capt. McSorely, SS Fitzgerald.
Posted by Sheldon Chad on October 16, 2018
Remembering Ratch coming off a Great Lakes Freighter in the dead of winter - the ship caked in ice and icicles. Ratch appears out of the sub-zero mist beside the ship in that long leather black trench coat of his as if packing six guns, that Ratch amble, head held high, blond hair tousled, ready to slurp in the joys of his own Toronto.  He was just a good man.  He's missed.
Posted by Viola Wilson on October 16, 2018
Great memories of the meetings we had with husband Doug and Ratch. Now they are both together having meetings and I miss them both. Ratch has gone 7 years and Doug has gone 2 years. Heres to the memories and they are not forgotten
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on October 16, 2018
Has it been 7 years already? You have missed so much- your 5 grandchildren have grown so much and have all continued to be kind, funny, bright and loving. Thanks for giving me my sister and thus cousins for my boys.  We miss you Dad. xoxo
Posted by Mike Clarke on October 16, 2018
My friendship with Ritchie (not Ratch to me) goes back to Lakefield Preparatory School and to camp Onondaga. They are fond memories of those years. Kudos to whoever put this website up, it is the best way to remember someone and the good times we had – as kids in my case
Posted by Elgin McKillop on November 8, 2017
As long as you can remember Ratch he is not really gone. I will remember Ratch.
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on November 7, 2017
You would be 73 today Dad. We are celebrating your birthday next week with our annual sundaes tradition. We will toast you with our sundae classes. xoxo
Posted by Kate Wallace on October 16, 2017
6 years....sometimes still feels like it was more recent as my heart is still raw. I think of you daily Dad. Wish you were here...as does the whole family...Lissa and I talk of you often. I'm sure you know that xoxoxoxo
Posted by Sheldon Chad on October 16, 2017
Another year passes, and we remember Ratch, striding high in the direction of his dreams. The RA in my daughter's name Lara was to honour Ratch, and so he is present for me. 

*The differences that divide us […] pale in comparison with the fact that we are all woven out of time, that we are born and we die, mayflies who live but a day. The inconceivable “now” escapes backward or inclines forward, it is already a memory or an aspiration. Speech, in which we communicate, is modulated time, just like music. And do not painting and architecture translate rhythm into space?

I am filled with the memory of people who lived and died; I write about them, conscious all the while that in a moment, I, too, will be gone. Together we are like a cloud or a nebula among the human constellations of the twentieth century […] our kinship rests on our having lived at the same time…*

—Czeslaw Milosz, Time
Posted by Ilona Dilon-granik on October 16, 2017
The passing of this dear soul is just as profound as anything i can imagine.    He was born and then he moved on and so this day, is very unique.    My long time dear friend, I still can't talk about you without getting very emotional.     Thank you for visiting me in the astral plane since you have gone on to the great big ocean in the other realms
Posted by Peter Lower on October 16, 2017
I think of Ratch often and miss his great and generous spirit. I could not have asked for a better friend and writing partner. Sail on! Peter
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on October 16, 2017
Time passes and so much has happened since you left us Dad. It seems both so long ago and also just like it was last month. I wish you were here to see your amazing grandkids grow- the 5 of them are wonderful, kind, funny, smart and interesting humans. You would be proud of them. xoxo
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on November 7, 2016
The family got together last night, to watch Dad's first movie, "The Offering"- for most of us, it was our first time. It was lovely to see all of his grandkids watching him on screen, seeing how young and handsome and goofy and fun he was in the role of "Gordon". We had our annual ice cream sundaes and spent our evening together, remembering Dad/Grandpa/Ratch... 5 years and you are missed always. xoxo
Posted by Sue Kovios on October 19, 2015
I remember his great big smile and great big heart. I remember trying to type a letter for him without using white-out on his beautiful Lakefield Productions stationery. I was so nervous I kept making mistakes but he was so patient and understanding. I never said thanks for that so thank you Ratch.
Sue from Davenport House Office Services 1979
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on October 18, 2015
Four years already... it is hard to believe. We will be honouring you, as we do every year, on your birthday, with a family gathering and ice cream sundaes. I wish you were here to be a part of it. xoxo
Posted by Kathleen Rogers on October 17, 2015
Missing you, forever in my thoughts.
Posted by Kate Wallace on October 16, 2015
Four years later and it still feels so close to my heart that you are gone. Miss you so much Dad. kxox
Posted by Jon Blair on October 16, 2015
Four years! Now that you have the freedom of the Universe, I expect you have introduced yourself to everyone from L. Francis Herreshoff to Queen Elizabeth the First. Onward and upward, dear fellow...
Posted by Joan Hendrick on October 16, 2015
Lissa...thinking of you and your family today while remembering your lovely Ratch.
Posted by Sheldon Chad on October 16, 2015
Ratch, you'll always be the one stand-up men are measured up against...and found wanting. You taught me presence and followthrough. Hope you're somewhere cooking eternal (infernal?) spaghetti.
Posted by Chris Dalton on October 16, 2015
A dear friend who always had time for me. I have often wished that I was as nice as he was.
Posted by Peter Drewry on October 16, 2015
You are missed by many Ratch. Enjoy the rest my friend.
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on October 19, 2014
Tomorrow night, Kate, Naomi, Mom and I will be heading off to a movie... a few of your favourite girls, doing one of your favourite things. You are missing out Dad. xoxo
Posted by Sheldon Chad on October 16, 2014
Ratch was stand-up, stand-tall, and stand-by-you. He got friendship right. 

--RA in tribute and love.

Posted by Sheldon Chad on October 16, 2014
Murray McLauchlan - Moonlighting songtext

There's you standing on the swing bridge
I'm the captain on the ship below
But at six o'clock I'll get a taxi on the dock
And be an actor in a T.V. show
Well the crew don't know
And you don't know
And I don't think you should
You'd be scared to be standing there
And the crew'd jump ship for good.

Moonlightin' that's the thing for me
Moonlightin' don't allow no sleep
Well there's no business like show business
And sailin' on the roving sea.

Maybe I'm partly crazy
Maybe I'm partly cat
I figure if one life is good
More lives must be better than that
I'm the captain of a ship
I can write a script
I'm an actor when the work comes
And any actor in Canada
Ought to have more jobs than one.

Moonlightin' that's the thing for me
Moonlightin' don't allow no sleep
Well there's no business like show business
And sailin' on the roving sea.

Sometimes I wonder what's comin'
I wonder what's down the line
Maybe I'll be rich and famous
But it likely wouldn't change my mind
I do love to drive those freighters
And I do love those bright lights
Hope the next show ain't no turkey
And I stay off the rocks tonight

Moonlightin' that's the thing for me
Moonlightin' don't allow no sleep
Well there's no business like show business
And sailin' on the roving sea.
Posted by Peter Lower on October 16, 2014
I drove over the US/Canada bridge at the Soo a while ago and stared down at the locks the Fitz never reached on the night of November 10th, 1975. I was taken back to see Ratch once again sitting across from me at our writing desk. Huge laughter and wonderful stories. Sail on, Ratch.
Posted by Gary Hoeg on October 16, 2014
I was aboard the Canadian Empress this past summer and learned a greater appreciation of Ratch's skills as a Captain. Lots to know navigating the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers from Kingston to Quebec City.
Ratch was certainly in his element.
Still think of you!
Posted by Peter Drewry on October 16, 2014
You're always in our thoughts Ratch. Rest well.
Posted by Kathleen Rogers on October 16, 2014
Three years and it's hard to believe you're gone. Think of you always
Posted by Captain Kevin Tribe on October 16, 2014
RIP old buddy. May you always sail into fair seas with following winds.
Posted by Peter Lower on November 10, 2013
A cloudy, cool and very windy day in Toronto. The leaves flying and bringing to mind that day and night in 1975 when the Edmund Fitzgerald was overwhelmed by a fierce storm that swept north over Lake Superior. The ship sank at 7pm or thereabouts just 15 miles from a safe anchorage at Whitefish Point. My thoughts turn to Ratch and our script November Gale. Miss you my friend. Peter
Posted by Brian Johnson on November 7, 2013
Always in our thoughts,Cap!!
Missed you once again this year on the Empress...
Fair winds and following seas...
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on November 7, 2013
Today would be your 69th birthday... we miss you always.

Posted by Peter Lower on October 16, 2013
There's a lake freighter tied up at the Cherry Street docks in Toronto and visible from the eastern end of the Gardiner expressway. It's an older boat with the forward wheelhouse and steering pole off the bow. Just like the Fitz. Maybe pay a visit and think of all the good times we had trying to wrestle "November Gale" to the ground.
Posted by Kathleen Rogers on October 16, 2013
Missing my best friend. Think of you always.
Posted by N K on October 16, 2013
Ratch was a most delightful and fascinatingly unique friend and colleague. Remembering how excited he was to take me and another friend on his ship and give us the behind the scenes tour. Just loved him for being his own person- and a damned good actor too. This tribute page brings back the sadness of our loss, but great smile-making memories most if all. Hugs. Nina Keogh
Posted by Ryan Mullen on October 16, 2013
I still think of the time we had spent together, you gave me the drive and confidence to pursue the marine industry as a career. I thought about you often when I spent months at sea this summer. Sometimes I could close my eyes and still hear your booming voice as you told me another sea story in full character of course. May the winds and the current carry you forever Ratch. I miss you.
Posted by Frank Nicol on October 16, 2013
Remembering the good times we shared, old man. I think about you often.
Posted by Viola Wilson on October 16, 2013
Miss you and you left us too soon
from Capt Doug
Posted by Mercedes Calvert on October 16, 2013
It can't be that two years has passed already... 2 1/2 since we last saw you, when you came to visit us at the cottage. We see Ilona much more now- she is a part of our family even more so. We all miss you. The boys ask about Grandpa Ratch often. 
love Mercedes
Posted by Kate Wallace on October 16, 2013
Two years and I think of you every day Dad. I try to forget the day of your leaving us. Instead we will be celebrating your life with our 2nd annual Ice Cream Sundae Night with the whole family on your birthday, Nov. 7th. You were a great Dad and I miss you very much.
your daughter, always,
Posted by Patric@patricryan.com Rya... on July 25, 2013
Hi Ratch: We're still pluggin' away here with books and boats and a new house to build. We dedicated the new book to you. You were supposed to write the forward, well, next time. You'd love the new house, just above the cabin. Dinner on the deck, a toast...Love Patric.
Posted by Patric@patricryan.com Rya... on December 5, 2012
Hi Ratch: Thanksgiving has come and gone again and we missed our traditional dinner. Even though the timing was not always on your visits were an occasion. We remembered the good ones and drank a toast to you and the good times. Dinner was pretty good too, you would have enjoyed it as you enjoyed everthing. Full tilt, piled on. Love Patric and Dorie.
Posted by Captain Kevin Tribe on November 7, 2012
From the day we met on the docks in Toronto and through our time together at BCF, Ratch was always a true gentleman and a great guy to spend time with. RIP Ratch, fair winds and following seas to you.
Posted by Sue Kovios on October 21, 2012
Ratch was a wonderful human being gone too soon. I'm sure he's at the helm of his ship in the sky guiding the angels to watch over his loving family and friends. For the brief time I knew him, he left a memorable impression. The photos show the love he had in his life and the full, diverse, exciting life he had. May God keep him safe in the harbours of Heaven.

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