On December 27, 2016 Dona Lynn Ratliff passed on from this life. Allan and Lynn were a fixture at Joshua Tree and Southern Railroad & Museum from the very start of the 7 1/2" railroad at Joshua Tree. In 1980 there was not a lot of railroad when they first saw it. From the old unloading area up to a switch and back down to just past the upper railroad crossing. Allan bought in, as one had to do to be a full member in the old Joel Tedder days, paying up past years dues, to be on equal footing. True it wasn't as much back then as it would be to do now after almost forty years.
The early days was full of characters up in Joshua Tree and Allan and Lynn along with the rest of the family of Brian, Judy and Greg found a place that was very dear to them. Allan served on the board of directors for a time. The board of Directors was really a paper tiger back then in the days when Joel was alive, we used to call it Joel Tedder and Slaves for JT & S, it was Joel's way or the Highway, but things got done and they wouldn't be what they are today without those early day's of a somewhat benevolent dictator in charge. Lynn liked the time when it was quiet out at the railroad, the few days before and after the event weekends. She could put out seed for the birds and small animals, the Jays knew the trailer by sight and even this weekend were clamoring around as Allan was setting it up waiting for a handout of peanuts to hide somewhere among the sand and Joshua Trees. The small birds always got a loaf or two of bread over the time Lynn was there to feed on, quarrel over and all the other things birds do. When it was quiet around camp Lynn would enjoy the squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits that came in closer to feed on the bounty. In the morning and evening the water bowl attracted animals of all sizes for a drink. In the warmer months at night one could hear the Toads croaking away the warm evenings. Lynn loved the smaller creatures of the world, if one did not know what variety a bird was, a bird spotters guide was surely in the trailer for reference, as well as plant guides for the flora, there was even reference for the other fauna of the North American landscape. All her knowledge of flora and fauna trickled down to us kids, we all picked up some of it, but not like Mom knew it.
Lynn's statement to Allan when in 1972 they discovered Live Steam in a newspaper article about the railroad club in Riverside just a small drive from the Corona home; that 'this could be a hobby the whole family could enjoy" fostered a hobby to this day holds the whole family together, at least the boys.
Allan and Lynn were married 57 years as of this past October, raised four children; Carol Lynn, Brian Allan, Judy Ann and Gregory Todd. There are seven grand children and many great grandchildren. Allan and Lynn called Corona their home for 47 years, the same house, a great and memorable way to raise a family. They loved to travel and when raising the family always made time for a family vacation and many weekend camping trips a year. After the children grew up and they had more free time vacations or trips after retirement grew longer as the places they wanted to see were further away. Traveling to other Live Steam facilities was on the list of activities as well. Visiting tracks in Texas yearly as well as in California and Oregon. Lynn asked that there be no service, as she wishes there will not be one. But, she didn't say we couldn't get together and enjoy the camaraderie and reminisce about times and travels and people and places seen. So when we meet we will do that.
Dona Lynn Ratliff 10/10/1937-12/27/2016