Barn 04

Stephen Kent Rataj

September 23, 1942 ~ January 24, 2024 (age 81) 81 Years Old

Stephen Kent Rataj Obituary

Stephen Kent Rataj, age 81, of Wildwood, MO, formerly of Fairview Heights, IL, born on September 23, 1942, in East St. Louis, IL, died on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, at Autumn View Gardens, Ellisville, MO.

Kent was a caring husband, loving father and proud grandfather. He served honorably in the USAF from 1966 to 1969. He is best known as a cherished teacher and coach at Grant Illini School for 31 years. He has impacted many students over the years and is often called their favorite. He also served the Fairview Heights community as an Alderman for two terms. He leaves behind a legacy of passionate, joyful service to the community of Fairview Heights.

He and his wife raised their two children on what is now considered a suburban mini-farm, next door to his parents. With the help of his father and brothers, he built their barn-shaped home. Over the years he raised a variety of animals, but he primarily raised goats, chickens, and horses. At one time or another, all four of his brothers lived on Forest Drive.

Kent was a lifelong educator and retired in 2002. He extended his retirement by one year so that he could remain and teach his oldest granddaughter in the 4th grade. His favorite activities were playing golf, eating slowly, and watching his grandchildren ride horses and compete in sports. He enjoyed all sports in general and attended many events without knowing any of the players, but his true spectator joy was watching his grandchildren play.  

He was preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Mary, nee Edwards Ratay.

Kent is survived by his wife, Judy nee Raede Rataj; his children, Carri (John) Vick of St. Albans, MO, and Cory Rataj of Wildwood, MO; four grandchildren, Cassie Vick, Carlie Vick, Lexie Vick and Austin Vick; and his siblings, Tom (Betty) Ratay of Portsmouth, NH, Sharon Schader of Indiana, Terry Ratay of Fairview Heights, IL, Jerry (Pam) Ratay of Fairview Heights, IL, and Gary (Julie) Ratay of Palm City, FL.

Memorials may be made to St. Adalbert Cemetery.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 28, 2024, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Kassly Mortuary, Ltd., Fairview Heights, IL.  

Visitation will also be held on Monday, January 29, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Kassly Mortuary Chapel, Fairview Heights, IL.

Funeral Service will be held on Monday, January 29, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at Kassly Mortuary, Ltd, Fairview Heights, IL.  Interment will be held in St. Adalbert Cemetery, Fairview Heights, IL.   

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stephen Kent Rataj, please visit our floral store.

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January 28, 2024

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Kassly Mortuary, Ltd (Fairview Heights)

January 29, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Kassly Mortuary Chapel

Funeral Service
January 29, 2024

11:00 AM
Kassly Mortuary Chapel


St. Adalbert Cemetery


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