Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In Memory of John Rataj

In Memory of John Rataj
UPDATE 8/31/06 9:00 AM: Here's the funeral notice for John.

John Rataj, Acting Executive Director of the Community Development Administration, died last week while hiking in Colorado. John has been a long-time City employee for over 34 years. John leaves behind his wife of 34 years, Jennifer, three sons, Bill, Stephen and Daniel, and grandson, Caleb. Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Visitation will be Friday, September 1st, from 2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., at Colonial Hoffmeister-Kriegshauser Mortuary, 6464 Chippewa. The funeral mass will be Saturday, September 2nd, 10:00 a.m. from Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church, 6596 Smiley.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the search and rescue operation which recovered John's body:
Custer County Search and Rescue
c/o Arthur Nordyke
P.O. Box 29
Weste Cliffe, CO 81252
Please keep the Rataj family in your thoughts and prayers.
By now you've probably heard that longtime City of St. Louis Community Development Administration staffer and director John J. Rataj was killed late last week while mountain-climbing in Colorado.

It's still a pretty big shock, as John was one of those folks who always seemed to be in the picture with city government. Part of the original CDA staff in 1974, he stuck around after Schoemehl's slash-and-burn cuts in the early '80s, and served as CDA fiscal manager and/or deputy director for years, serving as acting director several times after mayoral appointees like Steve Acree, Gene Gorden, Joan Kelly Horn or Kathy Feil Brown departed.

Whenever another employee retired or left for another job, it seemed like John was always among the dedicated crew present at the send-off.

John was a committed, intelligent, affable, friendly guy, and a dedicated city employee. His son Bill also works for CDA.

Funeral arrangements are pending. His face will be sorely missed at 1015 Locust and throughout city government.


Hilary Perkins said...

I worked with John many years ago at CDA and have run into him here and there since then. He was a good guy. Thanks for letting us know.

Jim said...

I grew up living next door to John in the 1950s and early 60s, but lost direct contact with him after I moved out of state. John and I spent endless hours playing ball in the Tower Grove Bus Loop on Columbia Ave, using a big brick wall as a backstop. Although I am a couple years older than he was, I don't remember giving him a break when we played ball. He was a good athlete. While we must have had our typical childhood arguments, my only memories of John (I knew him as Johnny) are all pleasant. I did not know John as an adult, but I am not surprised by the fondness and respect for him that are expressed in the comments.

I am sorry to hear of his death.


Michael Allen said...

He will be missed by everyone -- insiders and outsiders -- in the development realm. Somehow, he managed to make nearly everyone happy and do good work!