UPDATE 8/31/06 9:00 AM: Here's the funeral notice for John.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.
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 RescuePlease keep the Rataj family in your thoughts and prayers.
c/o Arthur Nordyke
P.O. Box 29
Weste Cliffe, CO 81252
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.