Obituary of William Ashton Racklyeft
April 3, 1930 - December 2, 2018
William A. Racklyeft. Age 88 of Southgate.
Beloved husband of Carolyn M. Racklyeft. Loving father of David (Therese) Racklyeft, Ann (Richard) Tyler, the late Robert Racklyeft, Daniel (Susan) Racklyeft, Lynn (Gerald Jr.) Barr and Michael (Stephanie) Brandt. Also survived by daughter in law Sharon Racklyeft, 13 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by first wife, Corinne, siblings Jack, Thom, Jim, and Peg Sager.
William Ashton Racklyeft – DAD – Grandpa Bill – Great-grandpa Bill – April 3, 1930 – December 2, 2018.
Bill was the second son of George and Ethel Racklyeft of Detroit with Brothers Jack, Thom, Jim and Sister Peg. He attended Detroit schools and graduated from Western High School. While in high school, he was a member of the Western cheerleading team which has been one of Bill’s interesting talents for his children and grandchildren to share with others. Using his amazing foresight, he knew the path that was laid before him following high school, and so rather than waiting to be drafted, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was a candidate for officer’s training school, but when it was discovered that he was colorblind, they would not put him in that program. Bill was sent to Japan as part of the occupying force after WWII, and when the Korean War began, he was sent there and served until May, 1952.
Upon returning from service, he began working as a repair man in the family business owned by his father, E & G Appliance Service on Lawndale in Detroit. He worked there until he was 65 having taken over as President of the company upon the retirement of his father. Again, he knew that this was where he wanted his work career to be.
In April of 1954, after returning from service, he married his high school sweetheart Corinne Frank, and over the next years welcomed children David, Ann, Robert, Daniel, and Lynn. Bill and Corinne were always very active at Divinity Lutheran Church in Detroit and introduced their children to love and faith in Christ Jesus their Lord and Savior. Bill sang in the choir, taught an adult Bible class, played on the church’s baseball team, and served on various committees as well as the church council. As a business man, he was a long time member of the Southwest Detroit Lions Club. Corinne died in 1975 leaving him with a young family to raise.
He had a great devotion for the Gideon’s International that he was a member of for probably 60 years – he couldn’t remember the year he joined. He served as treasurer in his local Gideon Camp and served at a State level in various positions, speaking in churches about the work of the Gideon’s, distributing Testaments to hotels/motels, standing on sidewalks handing out new testaments to middle and high school students. He visited the Detroit military induction center frequently and then when it was moved to Troy also distributed testaments to men and women entering Military service. His work in the Gideon’s gave him must pleasure – a special way of serving his God.
God in his infinite love and mercy, allowed a second loving wife to be Bill’s partner until his death. He married Carolyn Brandt who, as a member all of her life of Divinity, knew Bill forever as well as his children and was a member of the church choir and also served with him on the church council. A pinochle club that Bill and Corinne and 3 other couples shared for many years, which included Carolyn’s parents, had a missing person when Corinne died. Carolyn was asked to join the game one time, and the rest was history. Bill and Carolyn were married on June 11, 1976 and added her 11 year old son Michael to the family. They enjoyed 42 wonderful years of marriage.
After retirement, he joined Carolyn as a volunteer at World Medical Relief – her place of employment. He worked in the international medication department sorting and packaging donated medication for their overseas program. He continued doing some of that at home when it became hard for him to physically come to WMR.
Summer vacations at the family cottage in Honor on Lake Michigan were always something that the family looked forward to – swimming, visiting the Sleeping Bear dunes, canoeing the Platte River, fireworks, playing volleyball with the kids, card games, family gatherings at birthdays and holidays, sitting in his brown chair watching the little ones play – so many wonderful memories of such a wonderful man. Naps and doing search word and crossword puzzles added to his hobbies.
Bill was a man of great conviction and strength, and passed that on to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Six children, 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren – what a legacy to leave. His love of God and family was evident, and it will take a great while before someone will be able to lead the family in grace without hearing Bill’s voice.
Words on a small piece of paper in his very worn Bible speak from a favorite hymn: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face; and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.” Bill is looking full in the wonderful face of Jesus. Oh that we all will one day know.