Roger C. Rackliff
February 3, 1924 – May 26, 2018
BERMUDA RUN Feb. 3, 1924 - May 26, 2018 Mr. Roger Curtis Rackliff, 94, of Bermuda Run, NC passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 26th, 2018 at Bermuda Village. He was the devoted husband of almost 70 years of Muriel Bates Rackliff, his one and only love. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the first of two children of Edna Varina (Curtis) and Herbert Lord Rackliff of Old Town, Maine. After his Old Town High School graduation in 1942, he began college at the University of Maine. Because WWII had begun, he enlisted in the Army Reserves after one college semester, was assigned to the 87th Infantry Division and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth I in October 1944 to Greenock, Scotland. The division departed for Le Harve, France where they became the Northern Flank of Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army. His infantry went first to the Saar and then at Christmas '44 to the Battle of the Bulge, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, crossed the Rhine at Koblenz and on into Czechoslovakia where they were when the war ended. Upon discharge at the end of 1945 he returned to the University of Maine in the beginning of 1946 and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1949. He married Muriel Bessie Bates in 1948 and as newlyweds, they moved to Harrisburg, PA where he was employed by Bethlehem Steel Company for 30 years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Muriel, their son, Roger Curtis Rackliff, Jr., his parents, and his brother, Herbert L. Rackliff, Jr. He is survived by his daughter, Marsha Rackliff Maxey (Richard), two step-grandchildren, Richard E. Maxey, Jr. (Cynthia) and Robert J. Maxey (Vicki), five step-great-grandchildren, Mary Katherine Penninger (Daniel), Sarah Maxey, Hannah Maxey, Julian Maxey, and Christian Maxey, and numerous nieces and nephews. At an early age Roger showed an interest in music. In the middle of the Depression, when his family could least afford it, his father gave him a refurbished tenor saxophone which allowed him to engage his passion for big band music. He learned to play the alto and tenor saxophone and also the clarinet. While still in high school he played the Swing Music of Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman with Moses and Dick Lord and Frank Waterhouse, Pearley Reynolds and Norm Hambert's Orchestra and also Steve Kirstead's University of Maine Bears Orchestra. In 1946, while at the University of Maine, he played with the University of Maine Dance Band, Nat Diamond, Sammy Saliba and the Ray Down's Band at the Bangor YMCA, Dow Air Force Base and the Chateau Ballroom in Bangor until his graduation in 1949. After raising their family, Roger and Muriel joined the Harrisburg Bicycle Club. They pedaled throughout the United States on trips of sometimes 75 miles a day. When they retired to Sun City Center, Florida, both Roger and Muriel fell in love with the sport of lawn bowling. He served as President of his local Sun City Center Lawn Bowling Club, was his club's Singles Champion and played in many regional, national and international lawn bowling tournaments. Retirement allowed him to yield to the tug of his musical instruments once again. Initially, he joined a small dance band in Sun City Center (SSC) that grew to an 8-piece Dixieland band and finally to the 20-piece Sun City Center Big Band. He delighted in playing the optimistic, spirited Swing Music of his youth for another 20+ years "seeing many of my friends imagining they were teenagers again dancing by" at Tea Dances and concerts. "It doesn't get any better than that," he said. He also played in the Hillsborough County (Florida) Concert Band. A lifetime devotee of early 20th Century architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, Roger began in the late 1940's clipping every newspaper and magazine article he read regarding Wright. He also collected almost every book published about him and his works. Although in 2010 he sent his collections to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona, he continued his fascination with everything Wright. Roger's reflections on his life were always filled with gratitude and optimism. He loved his parents, his wife, and his family, summer trips to Maine to either visit family, camp in their Airstream trailer or in their cabin on Cedar Lake. He was grateful for the 37+ wonderful retirement years he and Muriel spent in good health in Sun City Center. They were busy every day volunteering at their church, the Emergency Squad, driving residents to and from the Tampa Airport and surrounded by many dear friends. A graveside service for both Roger and Muriel will be held Saturday, June 2, 2018 at Lawndale Cemetery in their former hometown, Old Town, Maine. In lieu of flowers, gifts in his memory may be made to Grace Lutheran Church Building Fund, PO Box 1735, Clemmons, NC 27012
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Roger C. Rackliff
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