Who is Jeff Ratzlaff? Olathe man creates phone booth for people to connect with deceased loved ones

Jeff Ratzlaff phone booth
Jeff Ratzlaff with his phone booth


A man in Olathe, named Jeff Ratzlaff, built a phone booth where departed loved ones can be contacted. Let’s know more about Jeff Ratzlaff and his new invention in this article.

Who is Jeff Ratzlaff?

Jeff Ratzlaff is a Olathe man who created phone booth for people to connect with deceased loved ones.

The idea of a “wind phone” originates from a Japanese method of handling sorrow. According to Jeff Ratzlaff, the phone is not linked to anything.

“People can just walk in and call whoever passed away and have a one-way conversation with them,” said the man.

Ratzlaff intended this phone booth as a gateway to the other side of sorrow. The concept is that the messages said here will be delivered symbolically by the wind.

He is aware firsthand of the burden carried by unsaid words. He thought to put up the phone booth in honor of his late sister-in-law.

The idea of Phone booth:

When Jeff thought of helping his wife who is in despair of losing his sister, he came up with the construction of phone booth.

It completely changed our entire reality, according to Ratzlaff. “My wife not knowing how to deal with it, bottling it up, I’m walking around the house and seeing self-help book, (it) just made me think of what is there that I can do for her.”

Her last name Roenz is carved out at the top of the phone booth. Ratzlaff hopes for the framework that helped his family’s recovery to spread to thousands of others in the neighborhood.

This building “kind of gives a sense of purpose,” according to Ratzlaff. “There’s always the what ifs, the shoulda, coulda, woulda… Um, this way, you can say what you wanted to say, what you didn’t want to say, what you wish you would’ve said.” 

Expression of sorrow:

Jeff Ratzlaff from Olathe, Kansas, constructs a phone booth so that mourners can “call” their deceased loved ones.

“You’re just sending a message to a beloved one who is no longer physically on earth.”

The idea of a one-way phone call—getting everything out and anticipating no response—is incredibly helpful and empowering for people, say experts at the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

Tim DeWeese, director of the Johnson County Mental Health Center, said, “The phone booth can help us become more resilient as we express ourselves, as we share our frustration or share that sorrow.

The City of Olathe intends to collaborate with the center to develop a QR code or a sign pointing people to the national mental health crisis number, 9-8-8, for those in need of assistance. The phone booth is accessible at Lake Olathe for those who are interested.

People’s reaction on Social media:

When the invention of Jeff was shared on social media, several people responded to the news.

Christy Riley wrote,

I’ve read about this concept and think it is outstanding! I’ll have to check it out sometime.

Cindy Cook posted,

This is such a novel idea to help process grief!! I wish there was one where my mom is buried. Keep up the great work!!! So thoughtful!!!

Caitlyn Victoria Pardo commented,

Would love to go one day, maybe call my dad to tell him I miss him every day!

Aerianna Caldwell commented,

I need to go.


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