Obituary for Annie Rackerby
September 3, 1943 – March 17, 2021
Annie liked active adventures. A few years ago, she passed three cars going downhill on her bicycle at 40 mph between San Gimignano and Volterra. Many people are grateful that she never learned how to ski.
She kayaked in the Arctic, watched a total solar eclipse from a hot air balloon in Australia, mountain biked in a Botswana game park, and did an off-road Segway trip in St. Lucia. When you asked Annie what her favorite trip was, she always would say, “the next one”
Annie was also the person who would strike up a conversation with you when you were in line waiting. Anywhere. She always had room for a new friend.
Her friends said:
“Whenever I answered her phone call, she made me smile”
“Annie had many friends because she knew how to be a friend”
“Annie was the personification of the term ‘casual elegance'”
“She always made me feel included and showed that she was happy to have me as a part of her world”
“Anne was, is and always will be the epitome of an unquenchable enthusiasm for life”
Ruth Anne (Williams) Rackerby was born in the small resort town of Roscommon, Michigan in 1943. Her father was a local businessman and she attended local schools and held summer jobs as a nanny, waitress and telephone operator.
She received her degree in Child Development from Michigan State University in 1965 and became a K-6 classroom teacher for the next 16 years. When playground duty in Michigan winters became too annoying, she realized she wasn’t a tree and packed up her car and drove solo to Southern California in 1967 to find The Beach Boys.
Anne met her husband, Tom, on a Tuesday blind date in Long Beach in 1971 – you know, the Navy officer and the schoolteacher, you might have seen the movie. When Tom received a 72-hour notice to deploy to Vietnam on his ship for seven months they wrote a lot of letters to each other. When Tom returned, they adopted two cats and then decided to get married. They always had cats in their homes – a total of 19 over 48 years.
The Navy took Anne & Tom to the Philippines for three years in the mid-1970’s. For Anne, it was the best three years of her teaching career as the Department of Defense educational system offered great latitude for her craft. For both of them, it was an opportunity to explore the world via free flights on military aircraft as they were able to travel to a dozen countries in the Far East during that period.
Tom left the Navy in 1978 to attend business school and then begin his career as a cable television executive. They lived in San Diego for five years, where Annie worked as a women’s fitness trainer and she produced a monthly video show for the local animal shelter.
Tom’s career then moved them to Denver for 17 years and Anne turned to volunteer work as a master gardener for the Colorado State extension service and as the media coordinator for the Denver Junior Symphony Guild annual designer show house.
But Annie’s true passion was for animals. She started out with the Denver Dumb Friends League as a volunteer who took comfort pets to different senior facilities. She ended up serving on the DDFL Board of Directors for ten years and oversaw the design and construction their spacious pet memorial garden.
Annie & Tom retired in 2002 and moved to the Logan Creek community on the east shore of Lake Tahoe. Annie promptly started the Bodacious Babes’ Book Club in the neighborhood which still meets monthly.
While summer is the time for kayaking, bike riding and entertaining friends at Lake Tahoe, Anne & Tom also did active adventure trips 4-5 times a year outside of the summer months. During retirement, they did 52 organized bicycle trips, 21 small ship expedition cruises and 16 other trips which included whitewater rafting, ocean kayaking and safaris. Annie’s mantra was, “You Rest, You Rust”.
Annie had a special large spot in her heart for young folks and saw every contact as a development opportunity for the future. There are more than a dozen children who called her “Grannie Annie”.
Annie passed away suddenly on St. Patrick’s Day morning. She will be remembered fondly and deeply by all those who knew her.
She would ask you to love your kitty or puppy and if you need to make a contribution in her honor, she’d want you to support your local animal shelter generously.
She would also encourage you to have fun and laugh every day. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing!”
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