Wilbur Rakow

Funeral services for Wilbur Rakow, age 92, of rural Neligh, Nebraska will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at the Antelope County Fairgrounds Ag Building in Neligh, Nebraska. Pastor Chad Boggs will officiate, with burial in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Tilden, Nebraska.

Military Honors will be provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7603, American Legion Post 170, and American Legion Riders.

Visitation will be Monday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Antelope County Fairgrounds Ag Building.

Social distancing guidelines will be followed.

Brockhaus-Harlan Funeral Home in Tilden is in charge of arrangements.

Wilbur went to be with his Savior on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.  

Wilbur August Rakow, the eldest of two children, was born on February 19, 1928, in Plainview, NE to Walter and Fay (Baker) Rakow. He grew up on the farm in Willow township (Antelope County), was baptized at Crawford Valley United Methodist Church, and lived his entire life in the house that his great grandfather Rakow built. He farmed, ranched and raised his family there.   

He attended rural school District #74, Antelope Co., through the 8th grade, attended high school at rural Dist. #24 through the 10th grade, graduating from Neligh High School in 1945. After high school, Wilbur and his father farmed with horses until they bought their first tractor in 1949. While rollerskating in Neligh, he met his future wife, Eleanor Carstensen of Tilden. They were married on August 31, 1951, at the Lutheran parsonage in Tilden by Rev. H.H. Sagehorn. They would have been married 69 years in August.  

Wilbur was drafted into the Army on January 23, 1951. In September, he left for Korea where he served as a combat infantryman with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment and rose to the title of Corporal. He was discharged January 20, 1953. As a result of his service in Korea, he contracted tuberculosis and spent nearly a year in the Nebraska State Hospital for Tuberculosis in Kearney, where he underwent surgery. When his health improved, he went back to farming, milking cows, and raising cattle out on the Willow in Antelope County. At the time of his passing, Wilbur was still taking care of cattle with his son, Kurt.

During his lifetime, Wilbur served on the boards of the Antelope County Ag Society, Farm Bureau, Willow township, and rural school Dist. #24. He was a member of the VFW in Plainview, American Legion Post and VFW in Tilden, Antelope County Saddle Club and a faithful member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Tilden, where he served as an elder. He enjoyed his many get-togethers with fellow Korean War Veterans and was privileged to be able to attend the Korean War Veterans Honor Flight to Washington DC. 

Wilbur loved his family and especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He was always working but willing to stop to help friends and neighbors whenever needed. Wilbur farmed and ranched, but his first love was ranching. He had a genuine love for his horses and his cattle. In the 70’s, Wilbur entered his own horses and won the Antelope County Fair horse relay races two years in a row. The outdoors was where he loved to be, but you could also find him at his kitchen table laughing and telling stories. He had a wonderful sense of humor, loved to read history and nonfiction books and had a sweet tooth for dark chocolate!

Wilbur is survived by his wife, Eleanor; his four children, Kurt Rakow of Neligh, Theresa (Gene) Knust of Petersburg, Becky (Michael) Calvillo of St. Charles, MO and Tom (Tammy) Rakow of Pleasant Dale, NE. He was blessed with 16 grandchildren: Brent (Ashley) Knust, Brittni Sprouls, Aaron (Emily) Knust, Kalie Sprouls, Skyler (Sarah) Knust, Kyle (Ashton) Rakow, Brook (Danny) Vasquez, Dylan Rakow, Micah Sprouls, Devin Knust, Jamie Rakow, Orlando Rakow, Adan Rakow, Liliana Rakow, Sylus Rakow, and Catalaya Rakow; and four great-grandchildren, Brecken Knust, Brenleigh Rakow, Gavin Knust, and Enzo Vasquez.

Wilbur was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Fay, and his brother Lloyd who died of polio in 1952 while Wilbur was serving in Korea. 

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