Wanda Rae Rackham (nee Westbrook), age 79, of Coeur d’Alene, passed away on June 7, 2018 at Hospice of North Idaho Schneidmiller Hospice House. Wanda was born in Alamosa, Colorado, the first of eight children of Ray and Mabel Westbrook. Wanda developed a love of reading and learning at an early age. One of her earliest memories is of everyone in the family reading at night, tucked away in bed, while listening to the radio. Her father, Ray, was among the many men drafted to serve in World War II from Sanford, Colorado. That event impacted her life as a young girl. In her later life, she made it her mission to learn of his experiences in the war and carefully recorded them for his posterity. For decades, that endeavor led her to meet with Veterans from the community of Sanford and to also write their stories. Like many small town American communities, nearly every family had a son, daughter, sister, brother, mother or father serving in the war. These lovingly written histories are on display in the Sanford History Museum for Veterans for family members and the community.
An upswing in the economy of Northern Idaho brought her family from Colorado to Wallace in 1954. There she met Robert Rackham who won her affections and heart. They married in 1957 in the Idaho Falls Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. From that point on, their life was a series of grand adventures beginning in Hawaii with Bob’s first duty assignment as a career officer in the Marine Corps. They made lifelong friends throughout the world. Wanda loved to travel and made trips to Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, The Philippines, Japan, China, Ecuador and England.
In addition to her passion for her work with veterans, she also felt it was her calling to work on family history and spent countless hours gathering photos and information that she shared generously with family members. Wanda was known for a mischievous sparkle in her eye and a dry sense of humor. Her love of reading was passed on to her seven children. She was preceded in death by her father, mother and brother Mark Westbrook and grandson Bryan Rackham. She is survived by her husband, Bob and her seven children Rochelle (Paul) Brenner, Robert (Debbie) Rackham, David (Merrilie) Rackham, Craig (Jennifer) Rackham, Jennifer (Eric) Peel, Lianne (Nick) Vroustouris, and Joel (Stacy) Rackham. Additionally, her humor and wit lives on in her 32 grandchildren and 13 great- grandchildren. She is also survived by six of her siblings: Winona Fulbright, Ruth Hutteball, Gary Westbrook, Warren Westbrook, Debra Johansen, and Greg Westbrook. Along with numerous nieces and nephews.
A service will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Coeur d’Alene on June 15, 2018, at the LDS Church building located at 477 East Honeysuckle Ave, Hayden. Interment will be at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to Sanford Colorado History Museum, 778 Main Street, Sanford, CO 81151.
Special thanks to the staff of Hospice of North Idaho Schneidmiller Hospice House for their compassionate care of Wanda.