William S. Rafter

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William S. Rafter

April 25, 1945 - November 26, 2010

GLOUCESTER — William S. Rafter Jr., 65, husband of Christina (Dennen) Rafter, passed away Friday, Nov. 26, 2010 at Beverly Hospital, after living with cancer for nearly eight years.

A native of Woburn, he was born on April 25, 1945, to the late W. Sanford and Marion (Meuse) Rafter. He graduated from Woburn High School in 1963 and Bates College in 1967.

Upon graduating from college, he worked as a sales representative for Standard Oil Co. (ESSO) out of Westchester County, N.Y., a position he held until his father's illness brought him back to Woburn to take over the family business.

Bill's professional career in the refuse disposal and recycling business spanned 50 years. His exceptional work ethic was formed early in his life, working alongside his father and grandfather. He transformed the family business into the Rafter Recycling Company, and with his business partner, Charles DeRosa, developed cutting-edge recycling systems that were ahead of their time. His expertise in the recycling industry led him to finish his career as a nationally regarded recycling consultant.

After his marriage to Christina (Dennen) Foley in 1976, he happily settled in her hometown of Gloucester, where they raised their family and where he became deeply involved in his adopted community. He was elected City Councilor in 1989 and elected Mayor in 1991, proudly serving in 1992 and 1993.

In addition to his wife of 34 years, he is survived by four children, Robert E. Foley, Jr., Caitlin (Foley) Sumner, wife of Brook Sumner, W. Sanford Rafter III, all of Gloucester, and Keeley Dennen Rafter of Somerville; six grandchildren, Keenan, Hayden and Griffith Foley, Hannah, Charles and Beatrice Sumner, all of Gloucester; two sisters, M. Catherine Corbett, wife of Frank Corbett and Jane E. Bradley, wife of the late Robert Bradley; sister-in-law, Marjorie (Dennen) Akerley, wife of Philip, and brother-in-law, Peter Dennen, husband of Linda (Green). He is further survived by his lifelong friend and business partner, Charles DeRosa, and 15 nieces and nephews, many cousins, friends and business associates. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by two sisters-in-law, Patricia (Dennen) Martin, wife of Thomas Martin, and Janice (Dennen) Schrafft, and his niece, Jill E. Martin.

ARRANGEMENTS: A celebration of his life will be on Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church (corner of Middle and Church Streets), Gloucester at 10:30 a.m. Visiting hours will be held on Thursday in the Pike-Grondin Funeral Home, 61 Middle St., Gloucester from 4 to 8 p.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in his memory to Bates College, c/o Office of College Advancement, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston, ME 04240, or to the Gloucester Fisherman Athletic Association, P.O. Box 3010, Gloucester, MA 01930. For further information and to send online condolences, please visit www.grondinfuneralservices.com.
Published on November 30, 2010
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