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Philip M. Raekes
11/11/1931 — 01/27/2024
From Kennewick, WA | Born in Montague, MI
520 S. Garfield St.
Kennewick, WA 99336
Celebration of Life
520 S. Garfield St.
Kennewick, WA 99336
Philip M. Raekes
Phil Raekes made a difference and had a lasting impact on those who knew him. He passed away at home on January 27, 2024, surrounded by his family.
Philip Michael Raekes was born in Montague, Michigan to Samuel Joseph and Muriel Marie (Downey) Raekes on November 11, 1931. His family moved to the Tri-Cities so his step-father could work at Hanford. He graduated from Columbia High School before enrolling at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. After his first year of college, he joined the U.S. Navy and served during the Korean Conflict. Phil’s love of the law began while working as a court reporter in the Navy. After returning from the Navy, Phil finished college and put himself through law school. He attended Gonzaga University School of Law at night and worked during the day at Washington Trust Bank. His lucky day came when he met the love of his life, Mary Madaline Bruns, who was working at the same bank. Phil & Mary were married for 64 years and raised five children.
Phil achieved success in law school and received numerous accolades during his career. In 1959, he won the best orator award in law school and graduated with his LLB and Juris Doctorate from Gonzaga, after which he served as Assistant Attorney General in Olympia and Yakima. He joined the Loney, Westland, Koontz law firm as an associate in 1961 and became partner in 1963. In 1977, he started his own firm, Raekes, Rettig and Osborne, where he practiced in various specialties for 35 years.
Phil was elected as Superior Court Judge in 1994, re-elected in 1996, and served until his retirement in 2001. He remained professionally active in retirement as a mediator, who was often sought after given his fairness and legal intellect. Phil supported countless charities, served on the Gonzaga Law School Council and was appointed to the Gonzaga University Board of Regents, where he served for 27 years. In 1999, Phil received Gonzaga’s Distinguished Alumni Merit Award. Phil and Mary also created a scholarship to assist financially challenged and deserving law students.
Phil had a larger-than-life presence, but his impact on and love for his family was even larger. He adored his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and they adored him. He valued integrity and helped his kids instill their internal moral compasses. When his children were very young, he started an annual vacation to Lincoln City, Oregon, a family tradition that continued for four decades with grandchildren and great grandchildren in tow. Phil loved attending their sporting events and other extra-curricular activities. He frequently wrote letters and texted them words of wisdom mixed with humor and encouragement.
Phil appreciated wine, Frank Sinatra, rooting for the Zags and discovering new gadgets. He enjoyed boating on the Columbia River, hosting Fourth of July and Boat Race parties, treating at restaurants and spending time with family and friends in Arizona or Palm Springs. Golf was one of his favorite past-times, and a quick “how did you play?” often resulted in Phil recounting all details of each shot of the round!
Phil was at his best in the company of others and loved making people laugh! He possessed a quick wit and robust sense of humor, and particularly enjoyed a good play on words. Even in his final days, he was solving crossword puzzles, texting his grandkids, answering Jeopardy questions, and joking with a friend, “I’ve been dying to talk with you!”
Phil remained a deep thinker and generous soul to the very end. He gave freely of his time, money, and talents, was fiercely loyal to his community, and earned respect as an attorney and judge. Above all, Phil was his family’s proud and loving patriarch who cared about others, and his legacy is one of resilience, love, and generosity.
Phil is survived by five children – Michael Raekes of Seattle, WA, Diane Roe (Tom) of Kirkland, WA, John Raekes (Judy) of Kennewick, WA, Julie Raekes (Scott Grewe) of Richland, WA and Amy Cleary (Joe) of Spokane, WA, eleven grandchildren – Blake (Ashlee), Tanner (Matti), Caitlin (Kurt), Johnny, Philip, Brendan, Ellie, David, Thomas, Liam and Mary Madaline, and four great grandchildren – Capri, Carter, Brody and Beckham, and another on the way in March. He is also survived by two half-sisters, Olga Driscoll and Helen Smith of Indiana and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents, his brother (Homer Raekes), his wife (Mary), and many dear friends. In honor of both Phil and Mary, a funeral mass will be held on April 6th at 2:00 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church followed by a Celebration of Life at 3:30 pm in the church reception hall. In his legacy, seek the truth, do what’s right and keep a sense of humor. If inclined, donations to the Philip and Mary Raekes Law Scholarship (gonzaga.edu), Heartlinks Hospice, Veteran-support organizations or charities that help those with cancer are appreciated. The Raekes’ extend their sincere gratitude to family and friends, Einan’s funeral home, Kadlec Medical Center and Heartlinks.
Uncle Phil! That sums up I hope how the we all felt about Phil. He was my Dad’s best friend since way back in the Gonzaga Law days and he and Mary were fixtures in our lives growing up. He loved her and his beautiful children and grandchildren without limits. There were the legendary boat race parties – and of course all the other parties – but what I remember most was his consistency. He was always a steady beacon – in his work, in his friendships, in his fathering, in his loving. He was my brother’s godfather, performed the ceremony at my sister’s wedding and danced with me at mine. His eyes twinkled and he had a great sense of humor but it was his compassion that I will remember most. When my Dad became ill and did not leave the house, Phil was steadfast in his visits (with Quig) and brought my Dad so much joy. When I last visited him in the summer of 2022, he was as loving and affectionate as I had ever seen him – caring for Mary’s every wish while we were there (and ours). He pulled my husband aside, pointed at me and said “take care of her.” As Jeff laughed later and told me the story he said, “it wasn’t a question.” I count myself so blessed to have been loved by him and to have known him. May all who loved him carry his spirit and gifts forward.
Prayer for Comfort
Heavenly Father, I lift my friend Ms. Dee Dee Roe and her family to you in prayer. I ask that you would surround them in your peace and comfort as they walk and try to maneuver through this great pain and loss. I pray you to wrap them in your loving arms and let them know and feel you are so very close during all of this. Be their strength. Be their guide. Give them wisdom. Help them choose you in every moment as they grieve and heal from this. By your power, Christ conquered death and the enemy! I pray you will give my her and her family the blessing of your peace and your joy amid their grief. Jesus died and rose again and is sitting at your right hand, interceding for your people. Please intercede for her and her family. Your Word says that Jesus sings over us and loves us more than we can ever imagine. It also says you are near the broken-hearted. I ask that you would not only remind them of all this but bring comfort to their weary heart. I thank you for them and their life. Help them see the good in every day. Help them see you in this deep pain.
I ask these things in the Mighty Name of Your Son and Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen 🙏 Love always Tina Green…🙏🥰
Lord, I don’t know what to say. Please console the Roe family while they grieve for the loss of their father, grandfather, and father-in-law. Their hearts aches so terribly as they miss him so deeply. Only You can relieve their suffering.
I entrust their hearts to your care.
He is on their minds right now, and their hearts are feeling sad. Although they are aware that he is now with You, they are nevertheless inconsolable at his passing. I beg for Your perfect serenity to fill their hearts and thoughts. Despite the agony, I pray that they could rest In the magnificent name of Jesus.
I pray for what only You can accomplish for them.
I stand before you now, God, pleading with you to reach out and touch their hearts. I know that they wish that he was still here because they miss him so much. I firmly desire that this reality be ingrained in their hearts since I am aware that Your Word states that they shall see him again. And that they give thanks to the Lord that he is currently enjoying immense pleasure, serenity, and beauty in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen 🙏 Love always your dear friend Dewish Taitague🙏🥰
Phil will forever be remembered, and have a special place in my heart right next to Mary.
Phil was kind and quick witted, and always made you smile.
His love for his family was abundant and he just beamed talking about any of his kids, grandkids, great grandkids.
He was one of a kind and has definitely left our world a much better place.
Rest in peace, Phil. Although I know you’re not resting, as I’m sure you’re arm in arm with Mary dancing to Frank Sinatra.
It was a gift in life to have both Phil and Mary in our lives and to count them among our friends.
Wow! What an incredible human being. He will be missed by his community and all of his loved ones. The reunion of him and his beloved bride definitely area match made in heaven.
Lots of love and light do you my love and your whole family❤️