CLIFFORD JAMES RAAK was born on August 28, 1928 to Dick and Minnie (Vander Ploeg) Raak in Sioux Center, Iowa. He grew up on the family farm and attended country school through the eighth grade at which time he returned to help on the farm. He was baptized and made his profession of faith at the First Reformed Church in Sioux Center, Iowa. He met Grada Kooi and the couple was united in marriage on August 9, 1950 at Lebanon Christian Reformed Church in Lebanon, Iowa. Their union was blessed with seven children and 61 years of marriage together. After their marriage, he worked as a carpenter for six months until they moved to the family farm near Sioux Center, Iowa in 1951. Cliff farmed until 1961, when the family moved to Sanborn, Iowa and were owners of the Raak Furniture Store. While in Sanborn, he also worked as a carpenter and then at the Sanborn Creamery until he had a severe back injury. After back surgery, he worked on and received a GED of which he was very proud. He moved to Minnesota in 1971 and began work as a meat inspector. He worked in Luverne until his retirement in 1997 after 23 years with the USDA.
Cliff had a quiet strong faith in God and shared that with his family. He and Grada were members of the American Reformed Church in Luverne. Cliff taught Sunday School and was a deacon. Cliff enjoyed spending time with his family and cherished their annual summer vacations fishing in Minnesota. He taught his children and grandchildren how to fish and play cards and how to play practical jokes. He and Grada also enjoyed many trips to Colorado and loved visiting family while he was able. Cliff was a faithful Minnesota Twins fan and enjoyed watching them when they won. Clifford died on Thursday, October 13, 2011, while watching a baseball game at his home in Luverne at the age of 83 years, 1 month, and 15 days.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Grada; six children, Gerald of Loveland, Colorado, Arthur (and Patti) of St. Charles, Minnesota, Charlene (and Tom) Maertens of Spencer, Iowa, Clifford (and Kathy) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Kathleen (and Kent) Schollmeier of Stillwater, Minnesota, and Mark of Forest Lake, Minnesota; 16 grandchildren, Shyla Ellingson, Melissa Sanow, Ben (and Ashley Becker) Raak, Lacey (and Paul Oelfke) Raak, Andy (and Christine) Raak, Zachary (and Kiersten) Maertens, Sam Maertens, Hannah Maertens, Christina (and Matt) Blais, Jason Raak, Nathaniel Raak, Jakob Schollmeier, Lita Schollmeier, Eli Schollmeier, Alexandra Raak, and Daniel Raak; 7 great-grandchildren, James Hames, Molly and Kadin Kuehl, Rachel Ellingson, Jelena, Jayla, and Christian Sanow; five siblings, Muriel (Rev. Robert) Griffin of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Ken (and Arthea) Raak of Worthington, Minnesota, Rev. Truman (and Marcy) Raak of Lakeview, Michigan, Irwin (and Trudy) Raak of Jasper, Minnesota, and Vernon (and Lois) Raak of Sioux Center, Iowa; a sister-in-law, Eunice (and Ed) Scholten of Sioux Center, Iowa; and other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his son, Wayne; parents; and a brother, Dennis.
Blessed be the memory of Clifford James Raak!