Fred Rakestraw

Fred Rakestraw, 94, left this earth for his heavenly home on February 4, 2022. He passed away at his son’s home in Bella Vista, Arkansas, following complications of hip surgery in early December. Born July 19, 1927, in rural Barton County, Fred was a long-time resident of Lamar, and most recently, of Joplin, where he lived with his wife, Maxine Harper Rakestraw. He was a life-long member of the First Christian Church of Lamar. He served the church in many capacities over the years including working on the church construction crew in 1958, installing and operating the sound system and serving as a deacon.    Fred was a self-made man with a servant’s heart. His life was an example of love, faithfulness, stewardship, compassion and kindness. He always put others before himself. In his final days, he faced every challenge with grace and good humor, and in the end, he not only showed us how to love one another, he also showed us how to die. We will miss him deeply, but know we’ll be together again.    Fred was educated in Boston, Golden City and Lamar schools. He enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, served aboard the USS Texas and was part of U.S. forces dispatched to China following the end of WWII. Following his honorable discharge in 1946, he returned home to Lamar in order to help support his parents and younger siblings. As the eldest son, he took that responsibility seriously, but he also loved his home town. In many ways, his sacrifice enabled his siblings to obtain their educations and pursue lives and opportunities elsewhere. Initially, he worked as a film operator at the Lamar Plaza theater, then as a tank wagon driver for Barney Eagon Oil Company for 20 years (his children would later marvel at his vast knowledge of almost every family farm in Barton County). On November 8, 1953, Fred married Carol Lee Hackney of Lamar. They were married for 53 years until Carol’s death in 2007.    In 1977, Fred and wife Carol bought Pappa’s Pizza in Lamar. Pappa’s became a well-known and wellloved Lamar institution. Fred was a natural in the restaurant business – his work ethic, his dedication to serving others and his inherent sense of fairness helped make Pappa’s a place that many people remember to this day. Pappa’s operated from 1977 to 2000. In a season of losses, this man’s faith was unwavering. We honor him and the legacy he leaves us.     In August 2008, Fred married Maxine Harper in a ceremony in Lamar attended by their respective children, grand-children and many friends. In their almost 14 years of marriage, Fred and Maxine travelled, enjoyed their family and friends, and served their church and community. In 2018, they moved to Joplin and began another chapter in their life together. They were devoted to one another.     Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Ivan and Thelma Bennet Rakestraw, siblings Howard, Lois, Nancy and Jack; his first wife and mother of his children, Carol Hackney Rakestraw; and former son-inlaw, Stan Butler.     Left to cherish Fred’s memory are his wife, Maxine Harper Rakestraw of Joplin; daughter Toni Rakestraw of Bella Vista, AR; daughter Dana Rakestraw of Kansas City, MO; son J.D. Rakestraw and partner Rich Fletcher of Bella Vista, AR; granddaughters Audra White of The Hague, Netherlands; Sarah Trapani (Daniel), Cheyenne, WY; Jenna Dail (Michael), Springfield, MO; Jaelyn Hartley (Bryce), Springfield, MO; grandsons Aaron Butler, Kansas City, MO, and Jace Rakestraw, currently deployed on the USS Abraham Lincoln; and great grand-daughters Vivian and Olivia van Mierlo of The Hague, Netherlands and Abigail Trapani of Cheyenne, WY; brother-in-law Gerald Hughley, Pryor, OK; numerous nieces and nephews.    A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, February 10, 2022 at the First Christian Church in Lamar, Missouri. Interment will be in Memory Gardens in a private service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family ask that memorial donations be made to First Christian Church of Lamar, Family Life Center Fund, 1208 Walnut Street, Lamar, MO 64759. The family would like to thank the staff of Circle of Life Hospice in Bentonville, AR, for their compassionate care, and Fred and Maxine’s many friends and church families at Park Plaza Christian Church of Joplin and First Christian Church of Lamar for their love and support.
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