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Christine Cecelia Ratke DVM., age 70, of Bloomingdale, passed peacefully on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 into heaven at the Rose Arbor Hospice House, Kalamazoo.  She fought a valiant fight to continue to live and enjoy her family, friends and all the lovely Corgi’s , Borzoi’s and one Chart Polski that were her family.

The daughter of Clement Joseph & Rosella Cecelia (Ozga) Ratke, she was born on September 25, 1946 in Royal Oak.  Chris was a very accomplished professional having attained her Bachelor of Science, Honors College, Michigan State in 1968; DVM degree from Michigan State in 1969; Doctor of Philosophy in Pathobiology (Phd) in department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Research 1981. She obtained a Certification in the American College of Veterinary Pathologist, she was a professor of radiology at MSU for several years. She also was in private practice on the east coast for a few years, she then went to work at Upjohn in cancer research. This knowledge allowed her to have valued input to her own treatment through the years fighting Malignant Melanoma. When Upjohn sold to Pfizer she decided to leave research and live on her farm and raise dogs.

Caritas kennels was born and she continued to raise champion Corgi’s and Borzoi’s. Chris really enjoyed dog shows because of her friendship with her doggy colleagues which was so phenomenal. She liked everyone and was so kind to newcomers. Chris was easy to like, she was generous and fun to be around. She will be missed by so many of us that were fortunate to call her a special friend. She raised many champions and was responsible for others becoming successful in their breeding programs. She imported dogs from Australia , Sweden, Netherlands and Poland. Chris would stop at nothing to help one of her dogs survive. She would do whatever was needed to care for her beloved animals.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Robert; and a very good friend, Edward De Young. Surviving are her sister, Bernadine Gregor; four nephews, James, Mark, John and Dan; very close friends, Denise Pucilowski, Davie Thompson, and Carol Ecker, DVM. as well as many friends who were like sisters to her.

We want to especially thank the oncologist Dr. Suzanne Hayman from The Mayo Clinc who worked with her on a personal basis through Chris’s 12 years of an uphill battle to survive in remission through the years of living with a terminal disease. She was a constant patient who never gave up through all of the bone marrow transplants, stem cell, transfusions, chemotherapy, experimental treatments, radiology and all the other painful procedures she endured to live her life. She had such a positive attitude even when the pain was excruciating toward the end. Her animals were her main concern and several friends stepped up to assure her that all of them had good forever homes. Many of us brought dogs to see her at Rose Arbor so she could visit them.

In lieu of flowers Christine’s wishes were to donation to the following organizations, Humane Society of St. Joe, 2506 Grape Rd, Mishawaka, In 46530; Paws with a Cause 4646 S. Division St, Wayland, Mi. 49348 or St Judes Catholic Church P.O. Box 102 13809 M 40 No, Gobels, Mi. 49055 (Click links on the left to donate)

A memorial service at the Kalamazoo Cluster, will be announced at a later date. 

Honoring her wishes, cremation will take place. Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids.


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7 Condolences

  1. Mickey Largen Lowry on April 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Dear Chris, Thank you so much for my Missy, she was a true ray of sunshine and my joy. She followed you to Heaven 2-7-2017. Thank you for all your knowledge and common sense approach , you were one in a million. Play with all your sweet pups in Heaven. You will never be forgotten. &10084;&65039;&128062;&128591;

  2. Michaline Largen on January 3, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Christine was such a lovely woman,I cant believe shes with our Lord.I adopted a 3 year old Corgi-Missy from her in November 2014. Missy was the sweetest and most loving dog ever.Missy must have known that Christine passed last January.Missy lost her dog buddy Roxy the previous November. The out of the blue,Missy developed bladder stones and died in the vets care due to a ruptured kidney on February 7 2017. I believe Missy left to be with Christine,Roxy and all the other dogs she shared her life with at Caritas. Rest In Peace Christine,thank you for the gift of Missy. You will always be remembered

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