Grand Lake to close non-essential buildings Tuesday after death of Trustee Melissa Ratzmann

Melissa Ratzmann

Grand Lake Trustee Melissa Ratzmann died Monday after a serious medical issue arose late last week.

On Facebook, a joint account used by Ratzmann and her husband had been posting regular updates regarding her condition after she suffered a stroke Friday. She spent the weekend fighting for her life and undergoing surgery. Then the bad news came.

I am beyond sorry to say that Melissa is gone. I am with two of the three kids now. We are with her as she transitions. Please keep her and my family in your prayers.

Posted by MelKev Ratzmann on Monday, September 7, 2020

Over the phone, Grand Lake Town Manager John Crone highlighted Ratzmann’s service to the town and her community as he confirmed she died Monday morning.

“Melissa was a wonderful person and a wonderful trustee who was committed to the town, to her family and friends, and to everyone she came in touch with,” Crone said, adding that Grand Lake will close all non-essential town facilities Tuesday out of respect for her and her family.

Ratzmann joined the Grand Lake Board of Trustees in April when voters elected her to serve out the remaining two years of a partial term. She also worked as a public relations specialist at Grand Lake Fire, where her husband, Kevin Ratzmann, is the chief.

“Right now, all of our thoughts are with her family, Kevin and the children,” Crone said. “She will definitely be missed.”

According to newspaper archives, Kevin and Melissa Ratzmann met on Valentine’s Day, and Kevin knew immediately he wanted to marry her. Lucky for him, it all worked out, and they were married for more than 23 years with three children.

Reached via text message, Kevin said Melissa suffered the stroke while working at her desk, and that she had responded to a call about a gas leak the morning she fell ill and another from a grieving mother the night before.

In addition to working public relations, Kevin added that Melissa was also a volunteer firefighter and EMS responder for the department.

“Melissa was a true gift to this world and always put the welfare of everyone else above her own needs,” Kevin said. “As a trustee, it was tough, but she told me she wouldn’t quit and she knew she could make a difference for the town.”

In running for the trustee’s position this spring, Melissa said she was looking forward to serving the town and noted that listening, understanding and researching were all huge factors in making good decisions.

“She wanted nothing more than to be a truly awesome and amazing human being,” Kevin said. “She strived for that every day and achieved it with every breath.”

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