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Joseph William Rackers, 68, of Taos, passed away Sunday, March 21, 2010, at the DePaul Health Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
He was born on June 4, 1941, in Taos, the eldest son of Joseph Albert and Barbara Sophia Taube Rackers. He was united in marriage on July 6, 1963, in Vienna, Missouri to Delores Schwartze. A big man who leaves a big legacy, Joe's life and accomplishments are almost impossible to recount. From a young age, Joe loved to explore, build, take things apart, and learn how things work. Combined with his creativity, no job was too big, no project too challenging. He loved his community and was proud to be the first appointed and the first elected mayor of the city of Taos, going on to serve an additional term later in life. Joe was a founding member for the Taos Water District, Police Department and volunteered many years for the Taos Fire Department. He thoroughly enjoyed science, medicine and engineering and studied radiology as a young man, becoming one of the first registered technicians to administer X-Rays in Cole County and eventually becoming the Director of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at both Memorial Hospital and Capital Regional Hospital. Years later, Joe built the Taos Corner and took pleasure in providing a place where people could gather, share stories, debate politics, and enjoy a good cheeseburger. Knowing that anything is possible with a little hard work, Joe was an innovator who could build just about anything. Houses, boats, tractors, cars, swimming pools, even a commercial waterslide and geo-thermal heating system-Joe was always dreaming up his next project. His neighbors and friends were always delighted to see what Joe's next undertaking would be. Of all his accomplishments, the thing Joe was most proud of was his family. He is survived by his faithful wife, travel companion and partner, Delores; eight children and 31 grandchildren: Charlotte Davis and her husband David of Blue Springs, Missouri and their children Rebecca, Kelsey, Andrea, Emily and Tyler; Kevin Rackers and his wife Holly of Summerfield, North Carolina and their children Nathan, Rachel, Hope and Sarah; Keith Rackers and his wife Cheryl of Florissant, Missouri and their children Joshua, Jacqueline, Timothy, Peter, Mary and Lucas; Mitchell Rackers and his wife Deborah of Rolla, Missouri and their children Shaylynn, Benjamin, William, Nicholas, Adelynn and Marcus; Angela Gielser and her husband Darren of Claremore, Oklahoma and their children Thomas, Shelby, and Grace; Kristie Davis and her husband Floyd of Jefferson City, Missouri and their children Kaleb, Hailea, and Malcolm; Ashlea Hering and her husband Ted of Tokyo, Japan and their children Jacob, Hunter and Katelyn; and Carrie Cunningham and her husband Gregg of Chicago, Illinois who are expecting Joe's thirty-first grandchild this summer. He is also survived by his mother and three brothers, Robert, John, and Anthony. Friends will be received from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday, March 26, 2010, at the Houser-Millard Funeral Home with a prayer service at 3:30 p.m. Additional visitation will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Saturday, March 27, 2010, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:00 a.m. officiated by Father Wayne Boyer. Interment will follow at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made to St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church or the charity of donor's choice. Arrangements are under the direction of Houser Millard Funeral Directors, 2613 West Main Street, 636-3838. Online condolences may be left for the family at millardfamilychapels.com.