was a tragic day in Detroit, Michigan when Northwests
Flight 255 crashed shortly after
departure on that Sunday,
August 16, 1987.
from a summer visitation with her father, Donnie
Ratliff, of Toledo, Ohio, 16 year old Hidi Ja Ratliff had boarded
Northwest Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-82 with 156 fellow travelers.
mother, Mary Ann, was enjoying raising her and the two of them
were very close. In time, Mary Ann met her man, Orville McGee,
and the family soon became three.
Hidi's young life was cut short, she
was a 16 year old Varsity Cheerleader, and a Senior at Costa
Mesa High School in Southern California. She was popular with
kids, teenagers and seemed adored by every adult she came in
contact with. Her Mother stated "If I could have custom ordered
a child, I could not have ordered a more perfect model. She
was cute, loving, and cuddly as a small child with boundless
energy. She was my energy, my strength, and my reason for living."
She was in the Children's Screen Guild and did some extra parts
in "Family", Eight is Enough" and "BJ and the Bear". She was
sweet, loving, and giving, and a real dynamo from the word go,
I'll miss her forever, and love her always, for I have lost
not once, but twice, as she was not only my beloved daughter,
but she was also my "Best Friend".
her shock and grief, Mary Ann wrote a heartfelt poem (see column
to the right) dedicated to her daughter titled "My Fallen
Angel" which was read during Hidi's Costa Mesa High School
Memorial Service on September 4, 1987.
Mary Ann and Orville are active members of the Flight 255 Support
Group. They are active in their Orange County, California community
as business owners for over 30 years. Mary Ann & Orville have
memorialized Hidi by naming their boat "Miss Hidi Ja", Investment
Property is Hidi Ja Investments and our eMail address is Hidija@aol.com.
young, so loving,
So giving, so sweet,
We'll love you forever
So please do not weep.
smiles were abundant,
Wanting people to laugh:
You were always fun loving,
Sometimes upsetting the staff.
You would strive for perfection
In whatever you'd do.
could be outrageous:
But only precious to me,
As you were near perfect,
When taken from me.
time together is cherished:
As I look for answers WHY?
But nothing seems to happen,
So I can't seem to say good-bye!
your mother, your friend,
and your biggest fan.