Josh with his niece Sophia in Coalstoun Lakes.
Josh with his niece Sophia in Coalstoun Lakes.

Devastated parents pay tribute to son killed in crash

WHILE many young people head to the big smoke after leaving school, all Josh Rackemann wanted to be was a farmer.

The 23-year-old from Coalstoun Lakes lost his life in a traffic accident on the Burnett Highway near Botts Creek, near Ban Ban Springs, on April 12, 2020.

His heartbroken parents Mark and Di Rackemann are still coming to terms with the tragedy.

HONOURING JOSH: Heartbroken parents Di and Mark Rackemann look through photos of their son Josh, who died in a car accident at Ban Ban Springs.
HONOURING JOSH: Heartbroken parents Di and Mark Rackemann look through photos of their son Josh, who died in a car accident at Ban Ban Springs.

Mark said Josh had a deep love for farming from a young age.

"Farming was in his blood," he said.

"His keenness, willingness and expertise when and where he was needed was a credit to him.

"He would come home from school and jump on a tractor.

"You can't replace his passion to see paddocks reach their full potential."

Josh Rackemann at work on the family's Coalstoun Lakes property.
Josh Rackemann at work on the family's Coalstoun Lakes property.

Mark said Josh was so passionate about securing a water supply that he spent his own money on drilling a test hole as he wanted to help the family farming business sustainable.

"He was also developing the skills of a keen diviner from his Uncle Des (Staib)," he said.

Josh Rackemann Coalstoun Lakes farmers who were keen to secure a reliable water supply to the area.
Josh Rackemann Coalstoun Lakes farmers who were keen to secure a reliable water supply to the area.

Mark said his son always made time to sit and talk, and listen to others.

"This was a special quality that Josh had in this busy world in which we live," he said.

"He had a unique manner and was a natural conversationalist, years above his age.

"We're missing those conversations.

"We haven't just lost a son, we've all lost a great friend and mate."

Josh wasn't able to be a full-time farmer as he had severe asthma and allergies, which negatively impacted his ability to be heavily involved on the farm.

Josh Rackemann loved being in the peanut patch.
Josh Rackemann loved being in the peanut patch.

It didn't surprise the family when Josh started working as a support worker at Blue Care.

Di said Josh got as much out of helping his clients, as they did from him.

"They made some special memories," she said.

"He knew what it was like to struggle, he wasn't afraid of pain and had empathy for others - that was one of his strongest qualities."

Josh attended Coalstoun Lakes State School where he was school captain.

A proud Josh Rackemann was school captain at the Coalstoun Lakes State School.
A proud Josh Rackemann was school captain at the Coalstoun Lakes State School.

He then attended Burnett College where he continued to excel, both academically and on the sporting field.

His family has been overwhelmed by cards and messages of sympathy since Josh's death.

At his service in the Coalstoun Lakes Hall, printed emails of condolence the family received were tied to balloons in the hall, representing those who were unable to attend due to coronavirus restrictions.

Di said at that stage they were limited to only 10 guests at the service, but fortunately their application to have the number extended to 20 was successful.

"His favourite tractor, the John Deere 9300 led the procession from the hall to the cemetery," she said.

The John Deere 9300 was Josh Rackemann's favourite tractor and led his funeral procession to the Coalstoun Lakes cemetery.
The John Deere 9300 was Josh Rackemann's favourite tractor and led his funeral procession to the Coalstoun Lakes cemetery.

"We've just been blown away with the comments and support we've received from the community.

"If Josh only knew the number of people who loved him."

Mark expressed his thanks to the Coalstoun Lakes community, and those from the Biggenden, Gayndah and Mundubbera communities and beyond for being part of Josh's life.

The Kreis and Roth families in Gayndah, who had many a trip to Fraser Island together, are also feeling the impact of Josh's death.

They have built a rustic bar in the backyard, in his memory.

Josh Rackemann enjoyed many trips to Fraser Island with the Roth and Kreis families from Gayndah.
Josh Rackemann enjoyed many trips to Fraser Island with the Roth and Kreis families from Gayndah.

Josh's grandmother Vi Rackemann said he enjoyed spending time in the paddock after school and throughout the school holidays, and she would remember his little dust-covered glasses.

"There was always a smile on his face," she said.

Cameron and Josh Rackemann with grandparents Vi and Jeff Rackemann.
Cameron and Josh Rackemann with grandparents Vi and Jeff Rackemann.

Mark said when Josh was in the paddock, he had special qualities that reminded him of his father, Jeff Rackemann.

Jeff was a PCA director for more than 20 years at Kingaroy.

Josh and Cameron Rackemann with granddad Jeff and Uncle Des Staib.
Josh and Cameron Rackemann with granddad Jeff and Uncle Des Staib.

Di said Josh would be remembered for how he made people feel when they were with him.

"He had a manner that always made people feel special," she said.

"All kids loved spending time with Josh as well, as he always made them laugh and have a good time.

"He will be missed by his niece Sophia, and nephews Riley and Bellamy."

Josh Rackemann with nephew, Bellamy on the day he was born six months ago.
Josh Rackemann with nephew, Bellamy on the day he was born six months ago.

His siblings, Cameron and Leah, also cherish their memories of Josh and his many adventures.

In happy times on a family trip to Central Australia.
In happy times on a family trip to Central Australia.

His grandfather Edward Brockway misses hearing Josh saying, "G'day Grandad. How are you going?".

Josh may have had a short life but he had achieved a great deal in that time and bought happiness to many.

He had conquered many milestones others are still aiming for, possessed qualities others may never have, and experienced many adventures.

The family said they would all miss his company and him being there when they needed him.

"He will always be with us," they said.

Leah and Josh Rackemann with their late grandfather Jeff Rackemann.
Leah and Josh Rackemann with their late grandfather Jeff Rackemann.

 

A rustic Bugga Me Bar and Bistro has been built in the backyard of Leighton Kreis at Gayndah, in Josh’s memory.
A rustic Bugga Me Bar and Bistro has been built in the backyard of Leighton Kreis at Gayndah, in Josh’s memory.
Josh with his niece Sophia and nephew Riley in Coalstoun Lakes.
Josh with his niece Sophia and nephew Riley in Coalstoun Lakes.
Josh Rackemann with dad, Mark at the beach.
Josh Rackemann with dad, Mark at the beach.
A lasting piece of memorabilia for the family of the late Josh Rackemann, a grand final-winning jersey signed by the Gayndah Gladiators.
A lasting piece of memorabilia for the family of the late Josh Rackemann, a grand final-winning jersey signed by the Gayndah Gladiators.

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