Music 08

       


Charles Thomas Rachaner

February 23, 1951 ~ December 21, 2018 (age 67)

Charles Thomas Rachaner (Chuck) was born on February 23, 1951 to Joseph T. and Lillian Rachaner (nee DeBoard) in Kansas City, most assuredly not by his choice, as he was an Arkansas boy through and through.  He was raised in New Dixie, near Bigelow in Perry County in the small German and Swiss community that settled there.  If there was ever a conversation about food, he would often recall the fresh pastries and other sweet treats that Grandma's and Aunt's would sneak to him, and he would usually do it with a thick country German accent.  The farm was always full of animals of all kinds both as pets and livestock, but the lines between the two were often blurred and sometimes included wildlife like pet raccoons.  While he had an appreciation for hunting, he always had a fondness and weakness for animals in need no matter what he said to the contrary.  Here in his early youth also began his love of performing and crafting music on his guitar that would be a binding thread woven throughout his life.

He went to primary school at St. Boniface Catholic Church and even served as an altar boy along with his younger brother, Larry.  They moved to Little Rock when he was a teenager and went to Little Rock's Central High School.  Soon after graduation, like many young men of the time, the Vietnam draft called him to service.  As he told it, he got his letter, left it in the mailbox, and promptly joined the Navy, as that branch called to him the strongest.  While serving on the USS Blue, he was a cook both on and off the ship, which meant that he was in charge of breakfast for the rest of his of life, to the delight of those got to enjoy his perfect sunnyside up eggs.

After the service, he sought to see more of the world by motorcycle across country with a guitar strapped to his back, tales of which, like most youthful endeavors, are more appropriate for barstools and camp buddies than family gatherings - but they shaped him nevertheless.  Upon coming home, he met a couple of ladies that would be the loves of his life, but the timing just got mixed up.  In the mid-70s, he met a sweet little firecracker named Gay.  Things were good until another woman caught his eye and there was just something there that won his youthful interest at the time.

That young lady was an 18 year old Rocklin Stermer, proud Texan by birth, who stole his heart and could sing along with him as he played guitar.  They were married in Feb 1975, and had one daughter, Jennifer Deann, in 1976.  As a "responsible adult," he began searching for a trade to support his young family when he found that the electrical trade was "the one."  He loved the problem-solving aspect of the job, and his skill in the trade and its many advancements over time allowed him to travel around the country once more making sure that those Wal-Marts were ready to open on time, with stopovers at Pike's Peak, Mount Rushmore, and many more along the way.

Things were good for a while, but Chuck and Rock eventually parted ways as friends and still had a 13 year old daughter to finish raising.  But before too long though, he crossed paths with that first sweetheart, Gay Johnson, who was also available, and it was love at second sight.  Gay also had a daughter named Jennifer and a son named Trey, but the two teen Jennifer’s were not close enough in age or distance to be terribly bothered by the situation.

Chuck and Gay were married in June 1995 and moved to the country in Northern Arkansas where they could have space for a menagerie of dogs, cats, and a pet goat named Buttercup.  Chuck found employment in nearby Branson, MO, where he loved working on the theaters for the Country Music Stars who were making a home there.  After things slowed, they moved back to Central Arkansas where after a few years, they too parted as friends.

Throughout all of this time, Chuck performed his music in venues too numerous to mention, playing guitar and harmonica at the same time as singing, with family and an ever-changing assortment of friends.  He not only performed his own music, which was always being written, but The Eagles, Guy Clark, Merle Haggard, Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffet, and an endless variety of blues, rock, and country, bringing great joy to his fans from living rooms and campfires to stages big and small.  While he never was able to make a full-time job out of his passion, that never stopped him from pursuing it - if there was a guitar in the room, there was a very strong chance that he would pick it up and give it a strum.  Above all, his music was his greatest love and he never failed to share that love with those around him.

As he approached retirement age, bad luck found him in the form of a house fire that destroyed many treasures while he was away, but he was able to turn that tragedy into a jump start on building that little shack in the woods he always dreamed of having.  He found the perfect spot in Kingsland, AR on a dirt road and his many friends shared their skills to help build him a little house there on the weekends.  While he only enjoyed a few years of that retirement, he loved every moment of the clean country air, peaceful days on his porch, and his guard kitties, Roscoe and BB, as well as the company of fellow old men in the woods who all took care of one another.  Chuck was 67 when he left us before his natural time on December 21, 2018.

He was pre-deceased by his parents, first wife Rock, and nephews Jeremy Rachaner and Bryan Wanio.  He is survived by daughter, Jennifer and her partner Nelson Figueiredo, sisters Ann Wanio and Anita Salater, brother Larry Rachaner, niece Heather and Mike Swanson, nephews Isaac "Jeff" Salater, Peter Salater, and Michial and Zulamy Rachaner and former wife Gay Johnson Rachaner, Trey Johnson, and Jennifer Johnson.

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