Sylvia M. Ragsdale | July 20, 1934 – March 25, 2021 | OBITUARY

Sylvia M. Ragsdale
July 20, 1934 – March 25, 2021




Sylvia Mae Ragsdale (nee Schlagel) entered into rest on March 25 at the Good Shepard Hospice George C. Forsythe Hospice House in Auburndale.Sylvia was born on July 20, 1934, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Frank Bruce & Dosia (Edwards) Schlagel.  In her later childhood, she and her sister, Dorothy, lived with a loving, extended foster family, the Schmidts.  The Schmidts sent Sylvia and her sister to a Christian academy and took them to church on the Sabbath.  It was here that Sylvia met Jesus and accepted Him as her personal Lord and Savior.  Throughout her adult life, Sylvia authored over 5000 poems and “rhymes”, many inspired by her relationship with Christ.  Many others cleverly reflected her unique sense of humor.  She also wrote children’s stories and penned several hundred songs, many of them spirituals.  She was known to share her songs with universities across the country and received many letters of thanks from the choirs performing them.  At her 50th high school reunion, the school’s current choir performed a song she had written and composed.

Working to raise her only child, Sylvia was a home health caregiver for many years, caring for individuals in the Indianapolis area through their end-of-life.  Interestingly and with God’s divine intervention, the Schmidts – the family that Sylvia & her sister had lived with as children – also helped Sylvia with her own son, Frank (who was her pride and joy).

In 1982, Sylvia married Russell Ragsdale, whom she met at church.  Equally gifted, Russell shared Sylvia’s deep passion for writing poetry and songs.  Rarely a day in their 24-year marriage passed without their writing or composing.  After Russell’s death in 2006, Sylvia agreed to relocate to Florida to be near her son.  Despite living much of her life in the Midwest, she enjoyed life in Florida – particularly escaping the Indiana winters.  Her colorful personality became well known in Winter Haven at the stores and businesses she frequented, as she was known to extemporaneously perform her songs or recite her poetry to the employees assisting her – like the Pharmacy team at Publix Northgate, the servers at “The (Golden) Corral”, the tellers at Chase Bank, and the staff at EC Apartments (to name a few).  Few things filled her with joy like these unsolicited encounters.  And nothing ever made her smile brighter than hearing her son, Frank’s, guaranteed greeting, “Now there’s my Pretty Mama!”  Sylvia was a member of the Winter Haven Seventh Day Adventist Church, where WHSDA members also enjoyed her music and prose.

Sylvia was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and sister.  She is survived by her son, Frank Edward Schlagel (Lisa), Auburndale, and grandson, Alex Schlagel (Aseel), Gainesville.  In Florida, she was a welcomed member of her daughter-in-law’s extended family and enjoyed many holiday celebrations with them.  As one family member fondly noted, “Sylvia certainly seemed to enjoy life and lived it on her terms.”

A funeral service will be held at Oak Ridge Funeral Home in Winter Haven on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.  Family will begin receiving guests at 4pm and the service will follow at 5pm.  Pastor Frank Gonzalez and Pastor Walter Maier will officiate.  The family requests that those attending wear masks and socially distance.