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: Steve Ratte long time resident dies June 5, 2023  ( 317 )
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« : June 07, 2023, 04:53:27 PM »

Stephen Joseph Ratte, son of the late Maurice & Mary (King) Ratte, passed away peacefully on Monday evening June 5th, 2023, surrounded by his Family.

Steve was born on October 1, 1935 in Burlington, Vermont and began his education at Christ the King School in 1940, the year the school was founded. When the family moved to the North End of Burlington in 1943, he entered Nazareth School. In 1945 another move landed them in the family homestead located in Fairfax. A few years later Steve became active in several 4-H club projects including raising dairy cattle and poultry. He was very enthusiastic about showing his Holstein cattle at the 4-H County Field Days, State Days, and eventually was privileged to show cattle at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Steve attended St. Mary’s High School in Saint Albans and graduated in the class of 1953. He married Pauline Boissonneault, the love of his life, on June 14th, 1958, a woman he had admired for several years as a Church parishioner. They were joined in holy matrimony in Saint Luke Church, Fairfax and enjoyed nearly 65 happy years together. Steve and Pauline were blessed with six loving children.

After graduating from Johnson State College, Steve continued his studies and earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching from St. Michael’s College.

Steve was a member of Saint Luke Catholic Church since 1945. He served on the Parish Council for a number of years. He was also active in the establishment of the original Fairfax Zoning Board, on which he served as a committee member for several years.

He taught school in Colchester, Milton, and Winooski, primarily at the high-school level. For numerous summers, Steve was employed for as a U.S. Immigration Inspector at the Highgate Springs Port of entry. Eventually he left teaching and became a full-time Immigration Inspector. After seven years at the Highgate Border Station, he transferred to the Eastern Regional Immigration Office in Burlington, where he worked in Personnel until his retirement in 1995. Steve was ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Burlington in June 1983, and served in Saint Luke Parish, Fairfax as a Deacon for 38 years, retiring in June 2021. He was active in the Catholic Cursillo Movement, serving as a team member for a number of retreat-weekends. The Weston Priory was a special place for Steve, for solitude, meditation, and prayer.

It was only through the tireless efforts and support of his wife, Pauline, that Steve was able to serve as a volunteer in Prison Ministry for over 26 years, with the last 12½ years spent serving as Prison Ministry Coordinator for Vermont Catholic Charities. He strived to respond to the words of Jesus in Mathew 25: 36, 40: “When I was in prison you visited me . . . Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

One of his hobbies was gardening, especially hybridizing irises and developing new colors for flowers. In recent years Steve and Pauline enjoyed bringing flowers and vegetables to the Champlain Valley Fair, receiving many blue ribbons. Photography was a life-long hobby for Steve, through which he strived to capture God’s beauty in nature.

Many fond memories were created when Steve & Pauline traveled to visit children and grandchildren on trips to Maui, Hawaii and Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. Another special place was the unique little town of Boquerón, Puerto Rico, which was like stepping back into the 1940’s to Steve.

Steve is survived by his wife Pauline and their six children: Denise Cota (Larry), Marc Ratte (Chantal), Stephanie Jenkins (Jeff), Bernard ‘Bert’ Ratte (Jackie Odre), Michael Ratte, and Jennifer Shepherd (David), nine grandchildren: Benjamin Cota (Allison), Bethany Cota (Nick Deavitt), Carissa & Gabrielle Ratte, Dylan & Anna Whaley, Morgan & Jack Shepherd, and Kayla Ratte, five great grandchildren: Nora, Beau, & Briggs Deavitt, and Caroline & Adelynn Cota, two brothers-in-law: Rene (Priscilla) & Giles (Carol) Boissonneault, one sister-in-law: Marie Boissonneault, in addition to several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Steve is preceded in death by his parents Maurice & Mary (King) Ratte, father and mother-in-law Lucien & Simone (Brassard) Boissonneault, brothers-in-law Bernard, Maurice, & George Boissonneault, nieces and nephews Maria, Amy, Michael, & Alan Boissonneault.

Life is a mystery. Waste not time trying to solve it; but rather seek the Wisdom and Love of God to enjoy life to the fullest. “I seek not to understand in order that I may believe; rather, I believe in order that I may understand.” St. Anselm

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 13th, 2023 at 10:30am in Saint Luke Catholic Church, 17 Huntville Road, Fairfax.

 There will be no public calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following charitable causes or to a charity of your choice:

• Boys Town, 14100 Crawford St., Boystown, NE 68010

• Covenant House, 4618th Ave., New York, NY 10001

• St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105

• St. Joseph’s Indian School, 1301 No Main St, Chamberlain, SD 57325

Honored to be serving the family of Stephen Ratte is the Heald Funeral Home, where messages of condolence are welcome at www.healdfuneralhome.com.
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