Mildred June (Rutherford) Rateliff

May 9, 2020

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Mildred June Rutherford Rateliff


Mildred June Rutherford Rateliff, longtime Ponca City resident, passed away on Saturday, May 9, 2020 after a short battle with cancer. She was 77 years old.

Mildred was born the second of 6 children on February 24, 1943 to Eddie Glenn and Clara Elaine Grimley Rutherford in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Mildred graduated from Ponca City High School in 1961. As a senior in high school, she met her husband, Sonny Wilson and married him on her 18th birthday. From this union, a daughter, Gayla Jean, was born in 1962. Mildred and Sonny divorced, and she later married Tom Rateliff in 1965. Together, they had two sons, Tommy Dean and Andrew Glenn Rateliff. Tom also adopted Gayla as his daughter. Mildred and Tom divorced in 1987. Mildred went on to adopt both her biological granddaughter Jamie and later her biological great-granddaughter Savannah, raising each of them as her own.

In 1979, Mildred and two of her sisters, Betty Lickliter and Connie Guinn, graduated from the LPN Nursing program at Pioneer Vo-Tech in Ponca City. This was one of the family’s proudest moments and their graduation photo hung in her parents’ house until their passing. She began her nursing career at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ponca City but found her love caring for the premature babies at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City where she spent most of her career later moving to Texas and retiring there. After retirement, she and Jamie moved home to Ponca City. She loved playing cards, particularly Pinochle, and eventually transitioned her love to an online close group of friends. Mildred enjoyed and spent many hours sewing and crafting for friends and family.

Mildred is survived by her sons, Tommy of Ponca City, Andy and wife Debbie of Ponca City, daughters Jamie Rateliff of Tonkawa, and Savannah Rateliff of the home, and bonus daughters Shelly Young and Elaine Anderson. Also surviving are her grandchildren, Ben Briner, Drew Rateliff, and Summer Rateliff, as well as great-grandchildren she adored, and sister, Sue Luedeman. Mildred was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Glenda Williams, Betty Lickliter, Stan Rutherford, and Connie Guinn. She was also preceded in death by great-grandson, Corey in 2007 and daughter, Gayla Jean in 2019.

A virtual memorial service with her home church, Second Baptist of Ponca City, will be held on Monday May 18th at 2pm. Mildred fiercely loved her family and was equally loved in return. Remembrances may be shared online at

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