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Fred Rakers
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November 18, 2013
Freddy Rakers was a neat guy. Rest in peace ol' friend.
November 11, 2013
Chad and Family,

Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss.

Your Dad was a great inspiration to everyone !!!!

He will be sadly missed, but "never" forgotten !!!!

Paul Cermak --- (29442)
November 09, 2013
I first met Fred Rakers when he was just starting out as the Mater Dei volleyball coach. It was 1978, and I was a first-time reporter at the Clinton County News and covered everything, including sports. The girls team, helmed by Fred, came in fourth at state that fall. Pretty impressive, considering how Title IX was fairly new. (We did not have competitive girls' sports in high school, but my sister, who graduated in 1980, played volleyball for both Belleville West and SWIC, so I had a little info, not much! Fred taught me a lot about the sport, and was very patient with me).

I moved on to the Suburban Journals, but still covered Clinton County, and then worked at area dailies, and our paths would cross over the years, especially living in Breese and freelance-writing the "County Lines" column. I wrote about Fred's trips to state and his triumphs and those few near-misses.

As a reporter, you develop good relationships with sources who are accessible, helpful and quotable -- Fred was all of that. I just knew he was a good guy, the way he dedicated himself and how fiercely loyal he was supporting his teams. Oh he'd get frustrated with this or that, and he'd have that crooked grin, his eyes crinkling with merriment -- he found humor in many things. "I'm only the bus driver" he would often say. But you knew he was well-respected and a pillar of strength. He put the program on the map, and became known far and wide.

With a work ethic second to none, he continued to carve out a legacy that reverberated for decades. His players got great scholarships. The teams got wider press coverage. You saw the ripple effect, as the grade school feeder programs, team volleyball, and other things played into making Breese a volleyball powerhouse.

The past few years, no longer having the column as an outlet, I only read about Fred's accomplishments, then Chad's. I knew Chad from directing him in Mater Dei's spring musical "Anything Goes" in 1990, when he was a freshman. His sisters Jennifer and Erin had also been in our Breese Junior Women's Club summer musical "Bye Bye Birdie" that year. Fun clan, lots of spirit.

It was with great sadness that I processed the news of Fred's terminal illness. Unbelievable really, especially when the guy had never used a sick day at Mater Dei. Having dealt with a family cancer situation this year, I talked to Chad a few weeks ago about how overwhelming it is, but also how amazing people are, being there to help you through it. I knew the people of Clinton County had rallied around the family in an incredible outpouring of support. Of course. You know who you can count on, and it means so much.

Fred's life came to an end too soon Wednesday but his impact is vast, and will be remembered for a long, long time. That's all you can hope for -- is that you live a purpose-filled life, that you made some sort of difference.

While proud of his program, Fred was modest. He deflected credit, preferring to give credit to others. He appreciated effort. He wanted what the girls accomplished to matter, the lessons they learned working as a team. He was one remarkable role model.

Through all the seasons he coached, all the miles he racked up serving his teams and his school, he was a devoted family man. He understood what being an ambassador was, too -- you would see him at chicken dinners and church picnics.

He is now the subject of many tributes. I just had to express how grateful I am to have known him, see him in action, and was able to see the development of a program he built through sheer determination and resourcefulness.

My deepest sympathy to his dear family -- Rosie, Jennifer, Erin and Chad. It has been a difficult time, so awful to see someone you love suffer, and my heart goes out to them. I hope they are comforted by the many condolences coming their way.

Rest in peace, Fred.

Lynn (Zipfel) Venhaus
November 08, 2013
Rosie, Chad, Jennifer, & Erin, you all are in the thoughts and prayers. Mr. Rakers always had a smile on his face whether he was picking us up on the bus, teaching class, or at a game. Fond memories.
November 08, 2013
Remembering that we got married the year Fred and Rosie did. Fred had a gentle smile and a determination that will always be remembered fondly.
Blessings to his awesome family.
Judy and Dave Osterberg
November 08, 2013
Express my sincere sympathy to the family.
Rita And Ron Jansen
November 08, 2013
To the Rakers family, my sincerest condolences in your loss. May God guide you through this tough time.
November 08, 2013
Fred drove the bus at MD & played on the team too.

Martin Swonk-Highland
November 08, 2013
My deepest sympathy goes out to Mr. Rakers family. He was a good man and teacher. You will be in my prayers.
November 07, 2013
To Rakers Family,Fred was a great person. Humble to say the least.He always gave credit to others.
He never expected anything in return. Oh,by the way he was also a great coach.
November 07, 2013
Rosie, Chad, Jennifer, & Erin,
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so sorry for your loss. I will miss Fred.
Your old neighbor, Chuck Schadegg
November 07, 2013
Sincere sympathy to the family in the death of their husband and father. Fred was at MD when two of our children were students and they have nothing but wonderful memories of Fred; how he was always so kind and how that smile of his could put anyone in a good mood. May he rest in peace!
November 07, 2013
Rosie, Chad, Jennifer, & Erin,
We're currently out-of-town, and are saddened to hear of Fred's passing. You have our deepest sympathy. Yes, he was an awesome coach, but it's the many other things he did in our community that will also be missed. I'll miss things like enjoying time calling bingo with him at the annual church picnic, visiting with him at the local gas station or seeing him driving a school bus in the morning.
Our prayers are with you.
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