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Monday, July 31, 2017

Memento mori: "“Be calm. God awaits you at the door.”

Memory and affection are funny things, and so I found myself saddened to read, today, of a college suitemate's death 41 years after we last chatted.

Nat Rackett found his niche in Savannah and dug in for life. Occasionally I'd look him up on the St Andrews alumni page to see what he was up to, or news would reach me via those who knew him better.

Nat was one cool dude when I arrived as a St Andrews freshman in 1974. Everybody just called him "Rackett."

He drove a Mercedes, something not even kids in Shelby did. He seemed effortlessly brilliant, and I remember him mostly alternating between romancing beautiful undergrads and writing an endless paper that was to be the last word on Marxism.

I teased him for being a champagne communist. Though the term had not been coined, to him I was a derp.

He was the first person I ever knew who swore by Dr Bronner's Soap. You could spend half a day trying to make sense of the crackpot teachings and celestial whimsies crammed into the label:

Here is the official record of his life:

Roland Nathaniel Rackett, III, known to friends as Nat, passed away suddenly on July 26, 2017, at the age of 64. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Nat graduated from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and earned his Juris Doctorate at Antioch Law School before settling in Savannah, Georgia.  

He distinguished himself in his legal career, working tirelessly for causes and the clients he served. During his career he worked as Acting Managing Attorney at Georgia Legal Services, as an Assistant District Attorney, as a litigator at Hunter Maclean, as the Vice President of John Broz Inc., at Wiseman, Blackburn & Futrell, and most recently as the Chief Clerk of Probate Court. 

Nat was a skilled woodworker and enjoyed rowing along the Savannah waterways on Sunday mornings in a wooden boat he crafted. Always happiest while sailing with family and close friends, he was also known for his flair in the kitchen and on the grill. There was never a dog or puppy that could not be charmed by Nat. He was a devoted husband and father and avid member of First Presbyterian Church for over thirty years.  

He is survived by his wife Vernice, son Hunter (Mary Margaret), sister Nan Covert (Edward), and a multitude of extended family and dear friends.
A memorial service will be held Monday, July 31st at 11:00am, at First Presbyterian Church. There will be a reception following at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations and memorials be sent to St. Joseph’s/Candler Foundations, 5356 Reynolds Street Suite 400, Savannah, GA 31405.

We were in no sense friends, Nat and I, we just passed the same way for a year. I last saw him when he was in law school in DC and I was a congressional intern. But it's evident, from the comments to his obituary, that mine was but one blink among a constellation of lives he brightened.

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