Benjamin M. Racusin, 98, a resident of Fraser Health Center died on Aug. 11, 2013 on Hilton Head Island. He was born on May 19, 1915 in Johnsonburg, the son of the late Carla and Max Racusin.
He was preceded in death by his lovely wife, Helen Schuler Racusin in 2011.
Ben Racusin led an intriguing life by giving service to his community, as a leader, a statesman, a former military officer serving in China with the CIA and as the first mayor of the town of Hilton Head Island.
He graduated with a liberal arts degree from Alfred University in Alfred, New York. After graduating from Alfred University, Ben enrolled in law school at Carlisle University, realizing that the field of law wasn’t in his plan. He accepted a position to teach history, political science, coach football, boxing and track in the high school in Oswego, New York.
Ben is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Rita and Herbert Kay of New York City and Madison, Conn., their children Darcy and Philip of New York City, Peter and his children, Carla and Peri from Clinton, Conn., Nancy Racusin of Atlanta, Ga. and Scott Racusin and his sons Eric and Adam of Pasadena, Calif., children of the late Norman and Bette Racusin, former residents of Hilton Head Island, sister-in-law Marilee Schuler of Russell, Kansas; and his nieces and nephews, Melanie and Chuck Waymaster, Lawrence, Kan.; Mike and Malissa Schuler, Hot Springs, Ariz..; Marilyn and Kevin Cederberg, Augusta, Kan.; Marianne and Kirk Ward, Perry, Okla.; Elaine and Pat Hilger, Russell, Kan. and Mark and Jeannette Schuler, Manhattan, Kan.; Jim Looney and his wife Susan, Centennial, Colo.; John Looney and his wife Julia, Longmont, Colo.; and their respective children; and on Hilton Head Island, his cousin, Carol Levinson Schembra, husband Philip and their son, Christopher of New York City.
He was an early and devoted supporter of Dr. Jack McConnell, founder of Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island, recognizing that it was our responsibility to assure that every one of our neighbors had access to health care regardless of their ability to pay. Like Ben Racusin, Jack McConnell wanted to improve lives.
Memorials to honor the goodness of Ben Racusin and continue the work of Dr. McConnell can be made to Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island, 15 Northridge Drive, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29926 or online at www.vimclinic.org .
"Remembering Ben… A Celebration of His Extraordinary Life" will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, with a reception to follow. Arrangements are being handled by the Island Funeral Home and Crematory on Hilton Head Island.