Archive 2008 - 2019

Mike Raftus at 79

by The Publisher

Michael J. Raftus of Marblehead, formerly of Holliston, passed away on his 79th birthday, October 23, 2018. Mike was a life-long aviation enthusiast and amateur historian starting with the World War II plane models he would hand carve out of balsa wood blocks as a youth in Pawtucket, R.I. His love affair for airplanes led to many air-to-air photo flights at his favorite airshow "The Greatest Show on Turf" in Geneseo, NY where he assisted in scheduling flights for his fellow Warbird enthusiasts. He contributed photos and stories to various flying magazines and attended airshows around the world. “Big Mike” was an avid basketball fan who, at 6’7”, played basketball as a Freshman at Northeastern University before transferring to Parks College of Aviation and Technology in St. Louis to complete his education. Mike was a long-time Boston Celtics season ticket holder who enjoyed many games from his seats in Loge 7 at the old Boston Garden.

An enthusiastic world traveler, Mike was a joyful journey companion. Having little faith in modern travel technology, he skillfully used his dog-eared Rand McNally road maps to find the most interesting routes, whether in the mountains of New England or exploring the back roads of Germany, France, England, Ireland or Portugal.

Mike was well respected in his publishing career in the plastics trade magazine industry, culminating in the creation of the successful Injection Molding Magazine with his closest colleagues. Mike worked on advertising sales and had the rare ability to create solid relationships because people believed him and believed in him. Mike knew everybody and everybody knew and liked Mike.

Mike was active in the community of Holliston, MA, where he and Maggie lived for 41 years. There, they raised three daughters and were rich in friendships. Mike and Maggie were members of the original Mr. & Mrs. Club at St. Mary's Catholic Church and members of the Holliston Mystery Club for 20 years. Mike was in the Holliston Good Time Investment Club (with emphasis on Good Time). They retired to Marblehead, MA in 2011, an ideal home for Mike who loved the ocean and New England history.

Mike is survived by his loving wife, Maggie. He was Dad to Kathy and her husband John Wilder of Marblehead; Marybeth and her husband Dan Barrett of Winston-Salem, NC; and Deb and her partner Michael Spinetta of Seattle, WA. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Pat Raftus of Cumberland, RI; and his sister Virginia Charpentier of Providence, RI; and brother-in-law, David Charpentier, of Pawtucket, RI. Mike was beloved “Peepaw” to three grandchildren: Mac, Cal, and Erin. He was loved by nine nieces and nephews and countless friends.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 85 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead on Monday, October 29 at 10AM. Burial to follow in Waterside Cemetery, Marblehead. Visiting hours will be held at Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead, 142 Elm Street on Sunday, October 28 from 2-6PM. The family would like to thank the Kaplan Family Hospice House (Care Dimensions) staff and volunteers for their devoted, compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Kaplan Family Hospice House, 78 Liberty Street, Danvers, MA 01923; The National Warplane Museum, 3489 Big Tree Lane, Geneseo, NY 14454; or SPUR (good deeds), PO Box 1274, Marblehead, MA 01945