Kenneth Raak ’53

Kenneth Wayne Raak, age 90 of Worthington, MN passed away October 20, 2022 at Ecumen Meadows. Kenneth Wayne Raak was born February 25, 1932 in Sioux Center, IA to Dick and Minnie (Vander Ploeg) Raak. He grew up on the farm and attended country school through the eighth grade, attended ninth grade at Northwestern Academy in Orange City, IA and tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade at Sioux Center Public School, and graduated in 1949. He was baptized and made Profession of Faith at the First Reformed Church in Sioux Center. He graduated from Northwestern Junior College in Orange City, IA in 1951 and Hope College in Holland, MI in 1953. In June 1953, Ken was inducted into the United States Army and spent 1954 and part of 1955 in Germany. He was honorably discharged in May 1955, and returned to Sioux Center doing farm work and working at Vander Ploeg Furniture Store. In September 1956, he enrolled at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD and graduated in 1959 with a degree in Pharmacy.

Ken married Arthea Yvonne Hulstein in Sioux Center on June 11, 1957. After graduating from SDSU, they lived and he practiced pharmacy in Sioux City, IA for one year and then in Orange City for another year. Son, Daniel Wayne, was born in 1960. Later that year, the family moved to Worthington. Daughter, Tami Yvonne, was born in 1963. The family moved to Rock Rapids, IA in 1967, where they owned Bruggemann Pharmacy and Gift Store until 1973. When they returned to Worthington, Ken continued to work in area pharmacies and at Worthington Regional Hospital.  In retirement, he worked in a number of local pharmacies, filling in as needed. He was much loved by the staff of these pharmacies and appreciated by the owners, as they could enjoy men’s golf league and family vacations, knowing Ken was there to help. He did this until 2012 when, at age 80, he decided not to renew his pharmacy license.

Ken enjoyed spending time with family, fishing with friends, traveling with family, visiting every state and many countries. He enjoyed playing cards, Sudoku puzzles, and other games. In retirement, Ken loved maintaining his roses, having coffee with friends at HyVee and sharing family time at their lake house. He was always ready for a boat ride or game of ping pong. Ken loved watching the squirrels and feeding them and watching evening sunsets.  He gathered sticks around the yard for the firepit and loved it when his great-grandson was his helper.  He made the best popcorn and loved his bowl of ice cream every night, always sharing with Arthea. Ken and Arthea were avid sports fans. They loved following Worthington High School Trojan sports and music activities of their kids and grandkids. They were also fans at many MN West basketball and volleyball games.

Ken highly valued his Christian faith and it influenced every part of his life, as a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. He was a role model to all and always started meals with prayer. He was a member of the American Reformed Church in Worthington where he served as Elder, Deacon and Vice President. He also enjoyed being on the Words of Hope board in Holland, MI.

Ken is survived by his wife, Arthea, the love of his life for the last 65 years; two children, Dan Raak of Spirit Lake, IA and Tami (Michael) Wesselink of Worthington, MN; five grandchildren, Alyson (Timothy) Bents of Sioux Center, IA, Matthew Wesselink of Sioux Falls, SD, Sarah (David Allen) Raak of Spirit Lake, IA and David and Andrew Raak of Bismarck, ND; three great-grandchildren, Isaiah and Lauren Bents and Safira Allen; one sister Muriel (Rev Robert) Griffin of Holyoke, MA; three brothers, Rev Truman Raak of Grand Rapids, MI, Irwin Raak of Jasper, MN and Vernon (Lois) Raak of Sioux Center, IA; one sister-in-law Grada Raak of Milford, IA and many nieces and nephews who were very special to him. He is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Dennis and Clifford and three sister-in-laws Eunice, Marci, and Trudy.

Blessed by the memories of Kenneth Wayne Raak.

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