The one and only, Cheryl Lynn Ratliff, passed away at her Little Rock home on March 10, 2021. A native Arkansan, Cheryl was born in Pine Bluff on February 19th to Russell Franklin Ratliff and Hazel Willis Ratliff and was the youngest of six children.
Cheryl graduated from Pine Bluff High School, attended the Dorothy Harrison School of Dance where she was a star student for many years, and studied at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff before going to work at the National Center for Toxicological Research where she met her life partner and best friend, Dr. Anthony Michael Orlando. They married in 1982 and shared 39 special years together. The couple enjoyed caring for their four-legged Scottie dog, Seymour, until his passing several years ago. They lived in several US cities during that time, but most recently, the couple split time between their Little Rock and Houston, TX homes.
Cheryl was preceded in death by her parents; her four brothers, Joe D. Ratliff, Russell L. Ratliff, Richard “Dickie” Ratliff, and Wayne A. Ratliff; and an uncle “Dub” Willis, all of Pine Bluff. She is survived by her husband, Tony; two step-children Mark Orlando and Tammy Orlando Hughes; a sister, Marilyn (Ratliff) Boellner; two sisters-in-law, Pam Stone Ratliff and Rita Funderburg Ratliff; and many nieces and nephews that loved her dearly along with her delicious mashed potatoes.
Cheryl Lynn was truly one of a kind, a beautiful, incredibly witty, and caring spirit. No one who met her forgot her infectious ability to make them laugh and look at life in a colorful way. She had a gift to genuinely connect with people from multitudes of generations and backgrounds with most referring to her as “their favorite”, be it their favorite aunt, friend or customer. You could always depend on her to make you smile with one of her never-short-for-words stories told in her very unique southern accent. And she was extremely loyal to those closest to her. Put simply, she added more color to life than most will ever encounter.
She spent her time enjoying daily sunrise visits to Starbucks, creating unique and impressive flower gardens, taking photographs of all of the things she found beautiful and interesting about life, hanging out with friends and family at her local favorite eating spots, listening to talk radio like Elvis Duran and Howard Stern, relaxing and dancing to her favorite tunes, traveling to many cities like her two favorite shopping spots, New York City and Las Vegas, and lending a helping hand whenever she had the opportunity. She lived life to the fullest. She did it her way and with a smile on her face.
A private Memorial Celebration will be held for family and a few close friends. Details regarding the celebration of Cheryl Lynn’s life will be provided soon.
The family asks that any flowers be planted in your yard in memory of her and any donations made to your favorite Arts Program or local Animal Shelter.