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Ratcliff grew up primarily in California. After graduating from high school in Wichita, Kansas, he went on to graduate from Oklahoma Christian University in 1970. He and his wife Susan have two grown children.
Ministering to Jeffrey Dahmer
Ratcliff frequently visited Jeffrey Dahmer in prison and provided him with spiritual counseling, leading him in Bible study sessions. He baptized Dahmer as a born-again Christian in prison, eight months before Dahmer was murdered by fellow prisoner Christopher Scarver.
Ratcliff conducted his funeral service on December 2, 1994, and eulogized him:
Jeff confessed to me his great remorse for his crimes. He wished he could do something for the families of his victims to make it right, but there was nothing he could do. He turned to God because there was no one else to turn to, but he showed great courage in his daring to ask the question, ‘Is heaven for me too?’ I think many people are resentful of him for asking that question. But he dared to ask, and he dared to believe the answer.
Ratcliff later wrote a book about his experiences titled Dark Journey, Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer's Story of Faith (2006).
Since ministering to Dahmer, Ratcliff has discipled prisoners in a number of Wisconsin prisons.
- Ratcliff, Roy with Lindy Adams. Dark Journey, Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer's Story of Faith Abilene, Texas: Leafwood Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-0-97677-902-5.
-  — features a review of Ratcliff's book about Jeffrey Dahmer
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