In Memory

Martha "Gay" Kokernot (Ratliff)

Martha Gay Kokernot Ratliff was born on November 2, 1941, and passed away peacefully at home on April 21, 2023.  Gay was born to Rosemary Kibbe Breeden Kokernot and Frederick David Kokernot, Jr.  She began her childhood on her family's ranch in Gonazales County and grew up in Cuero, Victoria, and Austin.  This upbringing gave Gay a lifelong appreaciation of beautiful things, formal enetertaining, and small Texas towns.

Gay enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin in the fall of 1959.  While there she pleadged the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.  A true Texas beauty, she was voted one of the ten most beautiful women on campus and selected as a Texas Cowboy Sweetheart.  Most importantly, however, it is where she met her future husband, Shannon Harrison Ratliff.  Gay and Shannon had a long and happy marriage of 59 years.  They were blessed with three wonderful children: Shannon Harrison Ratliff ll, Rosemary Kokernot Ratliff Harris, and Claire Elizabeth Kokernot Ratliff.

Gay was naturally gregarious and scoial and was blessed with many treasured friendships, especially those with her lifelong best friend and Gum Spit sister Letty Lew Hartman Lloyd and her dear friend Sally Rose Ramsey.

She had a naturual eye and talent for design that she developed further through decidated study of the decorative arts, spending many late nigts poring over her immense collection of design books.  Gay founded her own successful interior design business, and her work was featrued in many national design magizines.

Gay was a passionate supporter of the arts and historic preservation efforts to restore the historical Paramount Theater, helping to found the Austin Lyric Opera, and serving on the Texas Historical Commissiion, where she worked actively with her dear firend and then First Lady of Texas, Linda Gale White, on the Texas Main Street Program.  She also decicated her time and efforts to the Natiional Trust for Historic Preservation, Perservation Austin, and Friend of the Governor's Mansion, to name only a few.

Th daughter of a rancher, she had a love for and way with animails that allowed her to gently even the wildest strays resulting in an endless menagerie of pets.  She was happiest entertaining friends, caring for the house that she loving restored, and tending to her garden.

Her most beloved role, however, was "Mamie" to her two grandchildren, Carolin Abbott Ratliff and Shannon Harrions Ratliff lll.

In addition to her husband, children and grandchildren, Gay is survived by her daughter-in-law Remi Abbott Ratliff and her son-in-law August "Happy" Harris; her sister Joy Kokernot and niece Sarah Kokernot; her goddaughter Rosemary Ramsey Stewart; and her dear friend of 44 years Alicia Flores.

Funeral services celebraing Gay's life will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Cuero, Texas, where Gay was baptized and married, on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at 11:00 AM. 

A burial service will be held at the Texas State Cemetary in Austin at 4:00 PM, with receptioin for family and friends to follow.

Grace Episcopal Church     102 East LIve Oak Street    Cuero, TX 77954

Entered by Joye Oliver Tripson (4/23/23)

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04/24/23 03:10 PM #1    

"Bill" H. McCleary

The obituary Joye posted for us about Gay shows how exceptional and special she was. But, above all, she had true and natural class and niceness.

     Bill McCleary


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