Obituary Listings

Sheila M. Ragsdale

July 25, 1935 October 8, 2019
Sheila M. Ragsdale
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Obituary for Sheila M. Ragsdale

Sheila MacConochie Ragsdale died peacefully at home on October 8, 2019, surrounded by her family, following an extended battle with dementia. She was born in 1935 to Arthur Francis and Agnes Margaret MacConochie, and grew up in Charlottesville, VA with three older brothers. She attended the University of Virginia and graduated in 1958 from Agnes Scott College with a B.A. in English. She was happily married for 47 years to John W. (“Bill”) Ragsdale until his death in 2009. They lived initially in Jacksonville, FL, then moved to Atlanta where they settled and raised their three children.

Sheila was a longtime member of All Saints Episcopal church, where she served on the vestry, mentored EFM (Education for Ministry) groups, and volunteered in numerous capacities. She was a passionate and talented teacher, and taught elementary school on and off for many years, including a significant stint at the Schenck School in Atlanta, helping children with dyslexia find a path to academic success. Many of her students kept in touch with her for years after being in her classroom, using terms like “miracle worker” to describe her. She was an active member of “The History Class of 1884” in Atlanta, which studied a different topic in-depth every year such as ‘Islam’ or ‘British monarchs.‘ Sheila was also a member of a tight-knit book club for decades, enjoyed playing the flute for the sheer pleasure of hearing the music, was an excellent cook, and a dabbler in a wide range of interests from engineering classes to rug hooking.

She was a devoted and adored friend to a large and diverse circle of people, who especially valued her extraordinary gifts for insight and empathy, as well as her impish sense of humor. People from every part of Sheila’s life found themselves endeared to her, drawn by her kindness and sincere interest in them. She enjoyed a close and joyful partnership with her husband Bill, and she was happiest when surrounded by her children and grandchildren. After her three children were married, she so loved their spouses that she frequently commented how lucky she felt to have become a mother of six.

After Bill’s death, she moved in 2012 to the Forest at Duke community in Durham, NC to be closer to her family. She is survived by her children Mary Coleman Ragsdale and daughter-in-law Karen Popp of Chapel Hill, N.C., John W. Ragsdale III, M.D. and daughter-in-law Luna Ragsdale, M.D. of Chapel Hill, N.C, and Margaret Ragsdale Ancona and son-in-law Rocco Ancona of San Jose, CA; grandchildren Cole, William, Ben, Eden, Isabelle, Sam and Avery; her brother Frank MacConochie; and her remarkable caregiver Sherri Griffin.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 on Saturday, November 30 at All Saints Episcopal Church in midtown Atlanta.

Gifts in her memory may be sent to All Saints Episcopal Church, 634 W. Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30308, allsaintsatlanta.org or to Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave, Decatur, GA 30030, agnesscott.edu.


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