James Rafferty Jr.

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Lt. Colonel James Francis Rafferty, Jr., 90, of Columbia, IL, born March 27, 1931, died peacefully at his home on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, surrounded by family.

Col. Rafferty was born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in The Bronx.  He attended Cardinal Hayes High School and City University of New York, later earning a bachelor’s degree at Florida State University and an MBA from the University of Utah.  In 1953, Jim married his sweetheart, Irene, and joined the US Air Force, becoming a navigator, navigator instructor, and then pilot on C-124 and C-141 cargo aircraft.  He served in Korea and flew missions into Vietnam.  As part of his duty to the Air Force, Jim and Irene moved their ever-growing family throughout the US, England, Germany, and back to the US, finally retiring from MAC headquarters at Scott AFB, IL in 1975.

After retiring from the Air Force, he became a professor of business and finance at McKendree University, SIU-E, and Saint Louis University.  Years later he launched a third career selling life insurance for the Catholic Knights and Ladies of Illinois.  The next chapter of Jim’s life unfolded when he met Judith Lynn, nee McKendry, marrying her in 1995.  They lived happily for 26 years in Columbia, IL.

Jim was preceded in death by his first wife, Irene Patricia, nee Bladel, Rafferty; a daughter, Donna Marie Rafferty; a grandson, Evan Joseph Gerstein; his parents James Francis and Mary Veronica, nee Staunton, Rafferty; and brothers, John Patrick “Jack” Rafferty, Thomas Rafferty, and George Rafferty.

Surviving are his wife, Judy Rafferty;
six children, Christine (Dale) Verstegen, Therese McKenzie, James III (Mary Ann) Rafferty, Ann Bollone, Mike (Linda) Rafferty, and Mary (Bob) Gerstein; Jim’s stepchildren, Christopher Morrison and Jennifer Mitchell; nine grandchildren, Catie, nee Rafferty, Malcheski, Ryan James McKenzie, Rachel, nee Schut, Santiago, Aaron Schut, Jackson Gerstein, Alana Bollone, Nicholas Bollone, James Francis Rafferty IV, and Brian Rafferty; Jim’s step grandchildren, Alexandra Morrison, Colin Morrison, Margaret Mitchell, and Jack Mitchell; six great-grandchildren, Adalind, Athena, and Arthur Santiago, Emilia Irene Malcheski, Braden and Aubrey Rafferty; two brothers, Richard Rafferty, and Martin Eugene Rafferty; a sister, Martha Jane Rafferty; and nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Evan Joseph Gerstein Foundation (www.evan4ever.org) in memory of Jim’s grandson who passed away at the age of 17 due to complications from leukemia.  Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.

Visitation:  Friends may visit from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 19, 2021, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Columbia, IL.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 19, 2021, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Columbia, IL, with Msgr. Carl Scherrer officiating.

Private family burial with military honors will be at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, IL.

Condolences:

14 Comments on James Rafferty Jr.

Nikki Livingston said : Guest Report Jul 19, 2021 at 11:10 AM

Ann, my condolences on the passing of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Indianapolis
  • IN
Tereasa Gillentine said : Guest Report Jul 19, 2021 at 8:14 AM

You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Nineveh
  • IN
Barb Maple said : Guest Report Jul 19, 2021 at 7:57 AM

Ann - My thought and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Indianapolis
  • IN
Selena Judkins said : Guest Report Jul 19, 2021 at 7:19 AM

Ann - Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs.

  • Fishers
  • IN
Cindy Kloc said : Guest Report Jul 18, 2021 at 4:55 PM

Ann - Prayers to you and your family during this difficult time. May all your family memories lift you up.

  • Fishers
  • IN
Gregory said : Guest Report Jul 18, 2021 at 3:54 PM

An amazing life, man and family. Our prayers are with you. God Bless.

  • Saint Louis
  • MO
Mandy Bates said : Guest Report Jul 18, 2021 at 12:40 PM

Ann so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and family

  • Indianapolis
  • In
Jennifer Roche said : Guest Report Jul 17, 2021 at 1:07 PM

Sending love and light to the entire extended Rafferty family. I am so sorry for your loss. ❌⭕️

  • Chicago
  • Il
Alicia Smith said : Guest Report Jul 16, 2021 at 7:21 PM

Ann, Sending thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this time. We are here in your time of need.

  • Brownsburg
  • IN
Jeff & Dede Pitts said : Guest Report Jul 16, 2021 at 8:13 AM

Our prayers and thoughts are with your family. May God Bless Lt. Colonel Rafferty and all who he's touched throughout his life.

  • Des Peres
  • Mo
Howard said : Guest Report Jul 15, 2021 at 5:34 PM

Barbara and I send deep condolences for your loss, with special regrets to Mary Rafferty Gerstein and family.

  • Henderson
  • NV
Kim Halton Taaffe said : Guest Report Jul 15, 2021 at 4:56 PM

So many wonderful memories of Rafferty -Halton gatherings. We were blessed to have had such wonderful parents. I am thankful to have been a little part of all you. My sympathies and lots of love 💗 Kim

  • Columbua
  • IL
Rob Haas said : Guest Report Jul 15, 2021 at 4:07 PM

Praying for your father and for your family. He led an incredible life. God Bless

  • St. Louis
  • MO
Walter Weldon said : Guest Report Jul 15, 2021 at 3:51 PM

Sorry for your loss. He will be in Cindy and my prayers.

  • St. Louis
  • MO

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