Obituaries • April 4, 2013

Rosemary Smity, 81, Member of Big Spring Country Club, Woman’s Club of Louisville, Greater Louisville Medical Society Alliance and American Association of University Women

Rosemary Smith, 81, died Thursday, March 21, 2013. She was a graduate of Russellville High School and Kentucky Wesleyan College. She was a devoted member of Christ Church United Methodist and also a member of Big Spring Country Club, Woman’s Club of Louisville, Greater Louisville Medical Society Alliance, and American Association of University Women. Preceded in death by her parents, Rev. Clay and Henrietta Sledge, and her brother, Clay Sledge.

She is survived by her husband, Charles C. Smith Jr. MD, sons, Charles C. Smith III MD (Lynn); New Orleans, LA., Mark G. Smith MD (Terry), daughters, Stephanie Altobellis MD, and Cindy Franzen (David); Franklin, TN., grandchildren, Clay, Drew, and Kathryn Smith, Abby and Nolan Smith, Vincent and Salvatore Altobellis.

Funeral service was held 11 a.m. Monday, April 1, at Christ Church United Methodist, 4614 Brownsboro Road, with burial to follow in Resthaven Memorial Park. Arrangements under the direction of Pearson’s.

Memorials to Christ Church United Methodist Building Fund, 4614 Brownsboro Road, Louisville,
Ky., 40207.

Sandra Gail Ragland, 72, Lawyer With Diana L. Skaggs & Associates 

Sandra Gail Ragland, age 72, died on March 29, 2013, Good Friday, in Louisville after an illness. She was born in Louisville on July 21, 1940 to Valerie and Alvin Tharp. She was a lifelong Louisvillian and longtime member of the First Baptist Church
of Middletown.

Sandra (“Sondra” to her mother and her beloved Aunt Hazel and “Sandy” to everyone but her sons) was a talented and competitive artistic roller-skater as a teenager and graduated in 1958 from Manual High School. She was a member of XL Sorority. A top student, Sandra was a National Merit Finalist. Sandy made a career as a legal secretary in the 1960’s to attorney John Wise, among other positions. Her first son, Sean, was born in 1966. A second son, (Shannon), followed in 1968. She was a devoted mother and homemaker to her sons. Following a divorce in 1990, Sandy returned to college as a freshman at the University of Louisville. She hoped that maybe . . . she could become a paralegal. Sandy exceeded those expectations and became a star student, spending the summer after her graduation studying at Oxford in England. It was a life and academic highlight.

Sandy then entered the law school at Louisville. She was devoted to the study of the law. Following her graduation in 1999 (at the tender age of 59), Sandy passed the bar. She successfully practiced domestic relations law in Louisville from that time until January of 2013 when she became ill. She was devoted to the law and more importantly, to her clients. She took their many burdens on her own shoulders as if they were her own. A fierce advocate for her clients, Sandy was also a gentle lawyer who won most points on grace, class and hard work. She inspired countless lawyers, young and old, with her inspirational story. . . you’re never too old to follow your dreams. Her practice ranged from consultation to full-fledged trials to appellate practice before the Kentucky Supreme Court in several bellwether domestic relations cases. While she only practiced fourteen years, Sandy packed a full-career into those years. She would recall a successful result when an adverse litigant remarked, “Well your lawyer ought to be good. She’s been practicing forty years.” At the time, Sandy, age 62, had been a lawyer for three years. She was very good at what she did. Sandra practiced law with Diana L. Skaggs & Associates from 1999 to 2013. She was a member of the Louisville Bar Association, Family Law Section; Kentucky Bar Association, Family Law Section; and most dear to her heart, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Kentucky Collaborative Family Network, where she served as secretary since 2005. A brilliant writer, her published work includes articles on collaborative law and presumptions of paternity. She established new law in the Kentucky Court of Appeals by successfully briefing that “the three pony rule” should apply in large income child support cases; that is, child support should be based on the child’s needs and not automatically extrapolated beyond the child support guidelines (no child needs three ponies.) She considered her work not only a career, but a calling, taking special interest in child custody cases and cases ending long term marriages. A strong advocate of the collaborative approach to problem solving, she encouraged her clients to attempt to maintain healthy relationships with ex spouses, not only for the benefit of their children, but also for their own well being. She was known among the family law bar for her
collegiality, resolve, and wit.

Sandra served on the Board of Directors of Community Living, Inc., an organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also found serving as a volunteer mediator in Judge Paula Sherlock’s court highly rewarding. Outside of the practice of law, Sandy faithfully taught an adult Sunday School Class for many years. She was a voracious reader who loved books. Sandy was a straight-down-the-ticket Democrat and during her illness, she praised Obamacare. And even when she didn’t feel well, she always coveted a chocolate malt and fried chicken.

Sandy is preceded in death by her parents, Valerie, Alvin and step-father, Cleo, favorite Uncle Willie and Cousin Sheila. She is survived by her sons, Sean (Becky) and Shannon (Denise); three grandchildren, Sydney, Reese and Woodford; and several special friends, Mary Jo, Mary Lou, Kathy, Kaye, Terri, Wilma and Diane.

Her memorial service will be conducted at the First Baptist Church of Middletown on Monday, April 8, at noon with Pastor Dr. James Cobban presiding. Visitation precedes the service in the church sanctuary from 10 a.m.

Expressions of sympathy in lieu of flowers may be made to the church’s address at 11721 Main St., Middletown, Ky., 40243 for the building fund which Sandra supported.

To leave a special message for the family, visit

Robert Milton Racken, 63, Navy Veteran, Owner of CHOPS II Hair Designs

Robert Milton “Chops” “Granddaddy” Racken 63, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at Baptist Health Louisville.

He was a graduate of Louisville Male High School and the University of Louisville. He was a retired Shop Steward at Philip Morris, member of the negotiating team of local 16, a former Human Rights Commissioner, Supervisor at Facilities Management Services, Owner/Proprietor of Bracken LLC, Owner of CHOPS II Hair Designs, former Commissioner of the Flaget Little League Football Association,
and a Navy Veteran.

He is survived by his loving wife, Sharon Thompson Bracken; children, Anissia Bunton and Benny Jones, Jr. “B.J.” (LaQuisha); four sisters, Patricia Newton (Edward Sr.), Dr. Janet Anderson, Jacqueline Bertram and Regina Hughes; a brother, Kenneth Bracken; six grandchildren, Shauntay, Alexis, Stacey II, Tayvion, Mauriaya, and Bennyiah; a host of nieces, and nephews; three loving sisters-in-law; and three

Funeral services were held at noon on Wednesday, April 1, at Canaan Christian Church, 2840 Hikes Lane, with entombment in Cave Hill Cemetery. Visitation was from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at A.D. Porter & Sons, 1300 W. Chestnut St.

Condolences may be directed to

Pamela J. Buckley, 56, Former Johnson Controls Employee

Pamela J. Buckley, 56, of Louisville, passed away Thursday, March 28, 2013.

She was an employee of Johnson Controls.

Pam was predeceased by her father, Larry

She is survived by her children, Jennifer Buckley (Shane) and Chris Buckley (Angie); grandchildren, Hallie, Sarah Beth and Gracie Mae; mother, Phyllis Sherrard; brothers, Paul Bronger (Ruthie), Ray Bronger (Melissa) and Bryan Garrett (Donna); and sisters, Debra Barringer, Cynthia Bosemer (Shane) and Sheri Insley (Bobby).

Pam had a great love for cats. Bubba, Bitty and Sissy will miss her greatly. Pam was a witty and very wonderful lady. She will be deeply missed by all.

Her service was held Tuesday, April 2, at 1 p.m. at Owen Funeral Home, 5317 Dixie Highway, with burial in Louisville Memorial Gardens, West. Visitation was held noon to 8 p.m. Monday, April 1, and after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2, at the funeral home.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to Alley Cat Advocates, 3044 Bardstown Road, #204 Louisville,
KY, 40205.

Wilbur “Willie Shannon” Raymer, 80, Member of South Park Country Club and Avid Golfer

Wilbur “Willie Shannon” Raymer, 80, passed away peacefully Saturday, March 30, 2013.

He was a Male High School graduate, attended Western Kentucky University and a long time member of South Park Country Club.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Raymer and Lucille Bratcher Reymer Jean; a brother, Johnny; and his first wife, Lois Geoghegan Raymer.

He is survived by his loving wife, “My Judy” Judy; daughter, Jerri Lou Oliver (Rick); son, Mark Shannon; grandsons, “My Boys” Rainer Oliver and Ryan Oliver; sister, Frances Brogan. He is also survived by his stepsons, Josh and Scott Claxon; and step-granddaughter, Maddie Claxon.

An avid golfer, fast pitch softball player, waterskier, and a “Big Blue” fan, Willie was a great friend to many people.

Visitation was held Tuesday, April 2, 2013 from 1 to 6 p.m. followed by a Celebration of Life Service at 6 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, 235 Juneau Drive, Middletown. Cremation to follow.

Memorial gifts can be made to Carlisle Ave. Baptist, 3548 Taylor Blvd., 40215 Online condolences can be made to family at

Mary Alpha Clark, 98, Teacher, Member of St. Cecelia Church

Mary Alpha Clark, 98, of Louisville, passed away Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at her residence.

She was a teacher, homemaker, and long-time member of St. Cecelia Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Isaac Francis Clark; five sisters; two brothers; daughter-in-law, Betty Steiger Clark; and great-grandson, Gregory Higdon.

She is survived by her daughters, Mary Bolton (Dick), Joyce Heil (Buddy), Sharon Schoen (Bob), Denise Baker (Terry), and Marcella Patton (Tim); sons, Tom Clark and Jim Clark (Gail); 18 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; and 15 great-great-grandchildren.

Her funeral Mass was held at 10 a.m. Wednesday April 3, 2013 at Mary Queen of Peace, St. Denis Campus, with burial in Louisville Memorial Gardens West. Visitation was 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the funeral home. Ratterman Grand Chapels, 4832 Cane Run Road, is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mass of the Air or Hosparus of Louisville.

Carl Francis Johnson, 82, Army Chief Warrant Officer and Veteran

Carl Francis Johnson, 82, of Summerfield, FL, entered into eternal life Thursday, March 28, 2013.

Born in Louisville, KY, he was the son of the late Oscar and Catherine (Boone) Johnson.

Carl was a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer and a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. His career spanned 34 years. Following his military service, he was a meat cutter for the Atlantic & Pacific (A&P) Co. Carl loved the Big Band sounds of the 50s and 60s with Dean Martin as his favorite vocalist. He enjoyed golf, bowling soft ball and was the founder of the Yogi Athletic Club of Louisville, KY. Carl was also a member of the Louisville, KY Lodge of Elks. He found great joy and pride in his family. Carl was of the Catholic faith and moved to Summerfield from Louisville, KY in 1997.

He was predeceased by his wife, Doris A. Johnson in 2012 and the late Alice Johnson, mother of Robert A. Johnson.

Carl leaves his son, Robert A. Johnson (Faye); step-son, Robert A. Johnson (Anne), step-daughter, Teresa Kissel (Conrad), all of Louisville, KY, step-daughter, Sandra L. Neumann (Joseph) Kissimmee, FL, nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A memorial mass will be held in St. Pius Church, 352 Goldsmith Lane, Louisville, on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 11 a.m. For online sentiments visit Arrangements by Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, The Villages, FL.

Ida Belle Hutchings Lanham, 96, Member of Shively Baptist Church

Ida Belle Hutchings Lanham, 96, passed away Friday, March 29, 2013 at Christian Health Center.

A native of Central City, she worked at Kroger and was a member of Shively Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles E. Lanham Sr.; son, Larry Schamore; and stepson, Michael Lanham.

Survivors include two stepsons, Chick Lanham Jr. (Kathy) and Joe Lanham (Bonnie); one sister, Eva Jean Miller (Bill); step-daughter-in-law, Katie Lanham; seven grandchildren; and 14

Her funeral was held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2, at Owen Funeral Home, 5317 Dixie Hwy., with burial at Resthaven Cemetery. Visitation was from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 1.

Our deepest appreciation for the loving care shown to her by Christian Health Center and Hosparus.

Forest E. “Barney” Miller, Brick Mason

Forest E. “Barney” Miller, 90, died Sunday, March 31, 2013.

He was a brick mason.

He is survived by his siblings, Norma Breitenstein (Raymond), Dorothy Berger, and Earl Miller (Melba); and several nieces and nephews.

His funeral was 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, at Fern Creek Funeral Home, 5406 Bardstown Road, with private burial. Visitation was after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Memorial gifts can be made to the American Cancer Society.