Remembering a Nevada County rancher, war veteran |

Remembering a Nevada County rancher, war veteran

Archie Rackerby was one of a few thousand Marine Raiders in World War II.
Submitted photo by Bill EuDaly

Archibald Boyd Rackerby, a World War II veteran and longtime Nevada County resident, died at the age of 98 on March 9 in Spanish Springs, Nevada.

Rackerby was born in Washington, D.C. in 1920, but soon after traveled west with his family, landing in Yuba County. He graduated from Marysville High School, and earned a degree in journalism from Yuba College.

When Rackerby heard the United States had been attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941, he drove to San Francisco, immediately enlisting as a Marine. In the military, he was selected as a Marine Raider, and assigned to Platoon Commander where he saw combat in Bougainville from 1943-44. The Marine Raiders were elite units established by the United States Marine Corps during World War II to conduct special amphibious light infantry warfare, particularly in landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines, according to the U.S. Marine Corps website. “Edson’s” Raiders of 1st Marine Raiders Battalion and “Carlson’s” Raiders of 2nd Marine Raiders Battalion are said to be the first United States special operations forces to form and see combat in World War II.

There were only 8,000 Raiders, said Bill EuDaly, a friend of Rackerby.

“Of those men, there are probably less than 100 left,” he said.

In 1944, Rackerby was sent home wounded and met his first wife, Helena “Bobbie” Zimmerman, a nurse at a Navy hospital in Sun Valley. Together, the two had a son, but Zimmerman died during childbirth.


For much of his life, Rackerby was a rancher in Yuba City. He grew 30 acres worth of peaches, almonds and walnuts for ten years.

In 1956, he married Gladys Johnson. Together they had a daughter. The family moved to Rough and Ready in 1958.

While there, Rackerby was active in local organizations, including the Kentucky Flat Farm Bureau and 4-H Club. He also served on the Nevada County Fair Board of Directors. He was a reserve for the Marines until 1980, and remained active in the Marine Raider Association.

In 2001, his second wife died. Eight years later, Rackerby remarried Helen Marie Anderson, a friend of 31 years.

“Archie was a very kind man,” said Anderson. “I never heard him use profanity.”

The couple lived in Brookings, South Dakota and spent winters in Arizona and Nevada. For the past two years, they have been living in a senior independent living community in Spanish Springs.

“Everybody loved him here,” said Anderson. “He would break out in song and sing to people out of the clear blue sky.”

Throughout his life, Rackerby enjoyed his dual keyboard and Baldwin organs. The veteran flew an American flag wherever he lived.

“I know whenever I see a flag, I’ll be very proud,” said Anderson.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User