Archibald Boyd Rackerby, beloved family patriarch, passed away on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at the age of 98 in Spanish Springs, Nevada. Archie was a loving husband, devoted father, and proud United States Marine.
Archie was born in Washington, D.C. on July 31, 1920, and came west with his parents Archie C. and Estelle Boyd Rackerby on a cross-country trip in a 1918 Model T Ford. He started his education in Del Paso Heights and graduated from Marysville High School and Yuba College with a degree in Journalism.
Immediately following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor,
Archie drove to San Francisco and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Following his basic training, he was chosen for officers’ candidate school. As a 2nd Lieutenant, his orders took him to the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Theater.
Archie was selected for the elite Marine Raiders and was assigned as the Platoon Commander of a Weapons Platoon (Company K, 3rd Battalion) where he saw combat on Bougainville during 1943-1944.
In 1944, Archie was wounded on Guadalcanal and his life was saved by a Navy Corpsman. While recuperating stateside, he was assigned as the Commanding Officer for the Marines at the Naval Hospital in Sun Valley, Idaho. It was here that he met and married Navy nurse, LTJG Helena “Bobbie” Zimmerman in 1945. In 1947, after the birth of their son Tom, they moved back to Northern California. Bobbie passed away during childbirth in 1949 leaving Archie as both mom and dad to Tom for the next eight years.
Archie was an independent rancher for most of his working life. He had 30 acres of peaches, almonds, and walnuts in Yuba City, California, for 10 years.
In 1956, he married Gladys Johnson, who had a daughter Jane, and in 1958 the family moved to a ranch near Rough and Ready, California after touring the United States by train. During the 52 years that Archie lived in Nevada County, he was active in many of the local organizations including the Kentucky Flat Farm Bureau and the 4-H Club.
He also served on the Nevada County Fair Board of Directors.
Archie remained very active in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, attaining the rank of Colonel in 1966. After 39 years in the Marine Corps Reserves he officially retired in 1980. Archie remained active in the Marine Raider Association and served with a team of retired Marines whose chargewas to look for lost Marines. He also organized and participated in numerous regional Marine Raider Reunions.
In 2001, Gladys, his wife of 45 years, passed away. For the next 8 years Archie was actively involved in ranching. Twice a week Archie baked and delivered cookies to veterans and other residents in local care facilities.
On December 8, 2009, he married Helen Marie Anderson, a friend of 31 years. They made their home in Brookings, South Dakota and spent their winters in Arizona and Nevada. Archie’s favorite pastime was playing his dual keyboard Hammond and Baldwin organs.
Archie is survived by his wife Helen, his son Tom (Anne) Rackerby; brothers Bob (Barbara) and Bill (Jan) Rackerby and sister Mildred Niswonger and numerous nieces and nephews; and step-children Linda (Gary) Boyum, Phyllis (Vince) Schaefer, Patricia (Gene) Bertch, Cliff (Connie) Anderson and 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren. Archie was loved and respected by countless others.
A celebration of Archie’s life was held Friday, March 15 at the Cascades of the Sierra in Spanish Springs, Nevada.
A Memorial Service was held on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at Hooper and Weaver Mortuary, 459 Hollow Way, Nevada City, California.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Colonel Archibald B. Rackerby may be made to the “Colonel Archibald B. Rackerby Raider Preservation Fund” via the Marine Raider Association, 1855 Kanawha Trail, Stone Mountain, GA 30087-2132 –- or to your favorite veterans’ organization.