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Zalpha Ratter, 99, WWII veteran, secretary

Dec. 31, 1916 – Jan. 15, 2016

TOWN OF NIAGARA – Zalpha Ratter, a World War II veteran of the Women’s Army Corps, died unexpectedly Friday in the home that she and her late husband built themselves on Miller Road. She was 99.

A native of Greenville, N.C., the former Zalpha Bellamah attended boarding school abroad and became fluent in French and Arabic and earned the equivalent of a college associate’s degree. She returned to the United States in 1936.

Mrs. Ratter joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in 1943 and was stationed in London during the Blitz. She was honorably discharged in 1945 with the rank of corporal.

She lived in North Carolina before moving to Niagara Falls in 1947. She worked as a secretary for various businesses and for the University at Buffalo, and later for Great Lakes Carbon Co.

She married Roland W. Ratter on Feb. 15, 1947. Together, they built their home in the Town of Niagara in 1949-50. Mr. Ratter died on March 24, 2008.

Mrs. Ratter was a longtime member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, where she attended the St. Leo’s worship site. She served as a lector and as an extraordinary minister and was active with St. Leo’s Apostolic Committee and Altar and Rosary Society.

Mrs. Ratter and her husband made thousands of Rosaries by hand to be sent to Catholic missions. The couple made at least one set of Rosary beads every day for about half a century. Mrs. Ratter and her husband both were awarded the St. Joseph the Worker Award.

She is survived by three daughters, Marie Jackson, Katy Eberhardt and Elisabeth Sigoloff; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Vincent de Paul Parish at the St. Leo’s worship site, 2748 Military Road, Town of Niagara.