Obituary: John Raeke – Portland Press Herald



John raeke

PORTLAND, Oregon – John Raeke, formerly of Cumberland, died Thursday, October 21, 2021 at his Oregon home. He and his 53-year-old wife, Regina (Lindsay) Raeke, moved to “the other” Portland in July 2014 to be closer to their son, daughter and three grandchildren, but John has always considered the Maine as her home. Friends and family describe John as loyal, thrifty, kind, quick-witted and most of all knowledgeable. He believed in learning by doing. Before calling a professional, he successfully tackled any repair, often with more persistence than patience. When called out by neighbors, friends and family, he never turned down their request for a favor, even though Parkinson’s disease took a toll on his physical abilities. Born in 1943 in Brooklyn, NY, to Henry and Anne (Ward) Raeke, he grew up in Sudbury, Mass., With five sisters. As an only son, he spent much of his youth outside the home, tinkering with cars and engines. His lifelong pleasure of boating began at a young age in Manomet, Mass., Where he spent summers with his family. John graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury High School and served in the United States Army, then earned a degree in accounting from Northeastern University. He first worked for the US Department of Health and Human Services, then for Blue Cross / Blue Shield of Maine. He has also managed and owned ancillary businesses including Premiere Video Store in South Portland. He first met Regina at his cousin’s wedding. At the request of his sisters, he invited her to dance and later to the kart track. They married in 1968 and in 1982 fulfilled their dream of moving to Maine with their young family. They bought land on Range Road in Cumberland where they built a house and raised sheep, goats, chickens and grew Christmas trees. They enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and Canada as well as the British Isles, with annual trips to Mexico. At home, John tried to keep the holidays alive with a ready supply of candy and beer, and enjoyed topping off a summer day with a frozen fruit cocktail by the pool. Known for his collegiality, he has made long-standing friendships across generations, at work and beyond. After his retirement he drove the Maine Duck Boat and worked part-time as a school bus driver in Cumberland and Falmouth. His grandchildren will remember their “PopPop” as a willing companion on carnival rides, watching movies and their favorite TV shows. He also shared their palate for cheese pizza, fish and chips, fast food burgers, and discounted Halloween candy. John is survived by his beloved wife, Regina; daughter, Christine Smith and her husband, Sam, son, Richard Raeke and his wife, Abbie; three grandchildren, Felix Smith, Linnea Wren Smith and Malcolm Raeke, all of Portland, Oregon; four sisters, Anne Dilling, Betsy Jarvis, Linda Bonk and Lauren Melillo. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister, Ellen Nix. The family will hold a memorial at the McKernan Center of the CMCC on June 18, 2022. Contributions on their behalf can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

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