Britt Ratledge, Forever in our Hearts

The following quote was taken by Tribute Archive from Mr. Ratledge’s obituary:

“A bright light is missing from our hearts, from the Chick-fil-A Hunt Club, from the communities of Apopka and Orlando. On August 21, 2021, Charles “Britt” Alexander Ratledge left this life for the heavenly one promised to him.

Britt was born in Knoxville, TN, on November 15, 1964, and grew up in Maryville, TN. He graduated from East Tennessee State University and shortly thereafter began his career with Chick-fil-A, working in Miami, Myrtle Beach, and Orlando/Apopka. Through that connection, he formed many lifetime friends. Britt loved his dogs, Smoke, and Chewie, took great pleasure in SEC football, and followed the University of Tennessee Volunteers teams with great passion. He had a heart for Jesus and people and was deeply involved in community efforts.

On January 5, 1991, Britt married Stephanie Szatkowski. They were blessed with Morgan, Jacob, and MacKenzie and had 16 years of marriage before Stephanie left this life due to the effects of cancer. Britt is survived by his three children, Morgan Rae Ratledge, Jacob Bassler Ratledge, and MacKenzie Elaine Ratledge; his mother, Helen Louise Ratledge; his sister, Sherry Ratledge Zimmerman; his brother, John Brian Ratledge; and numerous other family members. It would be impossible to list all of his friends; Britt established profound and lasting connections with many friends throughout his life.”

Mr. Ratledge made a huge impact on our community and people’s lives, whether it was working for him or getting sponsored meals before a big event. The following quotes are from those in our community who admired him:

From Mr. Houvouras:
“I was so saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Ratledge. As a member of the community, he was always helping out AHS. One time, he even arranged for a Chick Fil A in Tallahassee to provide our Flag Football team with free meals. He just cared about Apopka and the kids that much that he would look out for us even when we were hundreds of miles away. As a person, Mr. Ratledge was personable and funny. He enjoyed arguing politics with me. We didn’t agree on everything but he just seemed to like the back and forth and he was always polite but firm. It’s a terrible loss and I just want to send love to his children, family and friends.”

Britt Ratledge enjoying a Tennessee football game with his family.

From Mr. Heinz:
“The first time I met Britt was in the gym as an assistant principal. I was sitting behind the benches with Coach Jenkins and Britt came over and sat down. First he welcomed me to Apopka as an assistant principal and described how great this place is. I thanked him and expressed my excitement to be here. I had no idea he owned Chick-fil-a. He reached in his pocket and handed me about 20 free chicken sandwiches coupons and said be sure to hand these out to your students.
When I became principal, he stopped by the front office walked in my office and set a large stack of coupons again and said welcome back. Hand these out as you see fit as your students work hard.

Never did he ask for anything in return. No announcement made, no banner up, no recognition to himself or his business for the thousands of free food he donated to our students. He recognized our students work hard and just wanted to be sure they got something for it.”

From Mr. Schwarze:
“Mr. Ratledge was a huge supporter of the Apopka High School Special Olympics program. When Apopka High School would host a Special Olympics event, he would make sure whatever was needed to have the event run smoothly he would do it.

He was a strong supporter of the Apopka High School athletic program as well. He would always be seen at an Apopka Athletic event. Mr. Ratledge was a loyal and true-Blue Darter, and he will be missed.”

From Ms. West:

“He operated the best Chick-fil-A in Central Florida!!! The only one, that I know of, that encouraged going to church on Sunday with a free sandwich to anyone that showed a bulletin on Monday along with countless other promotions. My kids always looked forward to the family Tuesday free kids meal and the super fun activities that he and Ms. Martha planned. Almost every evening was devoted to spirit night for local schools. What a legacy he leaves behind. He will be deeply missed but never forgotten.”

From Senior, Adaisha Teague:

“This is a hard one, but I’m going to say the nickname he gave me, “Dai Dai,” walking through the restaurant hearing that, all I could do was smile.”

From Senior, Jamiyah Jackson:

“One thing I will always remember about Mr.Ratledge is he always had an outgoing personality, happy and joyous whenever he came in singing my name comforting my soul during tough days working. Truly, I will miss him!”

The Blue and White would like to send our condolences to all of those who are grieving over Mr. Ratledge’s passing. He will forever be in our hearts, thank you for all that you have done Mr. Ratledge.