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John Anthony Raia Sr.

Obituary for John Anthony Raia Sr

Horesman, Retired Pharmacy Owner

Services for John Anthony Raia Sr. 86, who died Oct. 8, 2018, will be conducted Thursday, Oct. 11, and Friday, Oct. 12.

Thursday a Rosary service will be at Saint Dominic Village, 2401 East Holcombe Blvd. Houston, in the Warren Chapel and Charlotte hall reception area.  The family will receive friends from 3 until 8:30 p.m.

The Friday service will be at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 1603 Ave. N, Huntsville. The family will receive friends at noon with a Mass of Christian and a Bureal Rite of Committal Service following at Brooke Cemetery.

Pallbearers are John Anthony Raia III, Frank Raia, Bill Wojtasczyk, Ronnie Rosell, Anthony Romano, and Scott LaPointe. Honorary pallbearers are

Billy McPike, AJ McGee, Carl Vento, Charles “Doc” Wagamon, Raymond Kurtz, Anthony Lister, Joe Colonnetta, Charles Triola, Joseph Raia, Joseph Teraso and Johnny Raia.

John was born Nov. 8, and passed away surrounded by his family., He is preceded in death by his wife, Rosetta Frances Navarro Raia, and his parents, John Raia and Jennie Triola Raia. He is survived by his children, John Anthony Raia, Jr. and wife Rosemary Raia, Mary Raia and husband J.W. Daubert III, Anthony Raia, his beloved golden retriever Farley. He is also survived by grandchildren John Anthony Raia III, Frank Raia and many cousins. John was born and raised in Houston, Texas and in 1996, he and Rosetta moved to Huntsville. After her death in 2010, he moved back to Houston and resided at St. Dominic Village.

John attended Holy Name Catholic School and was a 1948 graduate of St. Thomas High School. He attended St. Thomas University for two years and then went on to the University of Houston and graduated in 1953, 8th in his class, with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy. He practiced pharmacy for 60 years. John managed and then purchased Dube’s pharmacy on West 18th street in Houston. After he purchased the pharmacy, he changed the name to Jester Village Pharmacy. He had a passion for helping his fellow man in every way possible and he certainly did every day with each prescription that he filled. One of his customers gave him a card that stated, “Just walking in to your pharmacy and talking to you is the best prescription.” He kept that card on his counter by his typewriter and read it every day.

He was a wonderful pharmacist and had the ability to retrieve his customers’ prescriptions from memory. He compounded prescriptions when needed and offered a delivery service to his customers. He designed the pharmacy and it was truly one of the last of the “neighborhood” pharmacies with a hopping soda fountain, a magazine rack, gift items, cosmetics and those wonderful candied sticks at the front counter.

John was very proud of his family. He was a loving and adoring husband. He would always kiss Rosetta as he left the house for any reason. He was known to circle back from around the block and come back to kiss her good bye if he forgot to when he left. He was an awesome father. He was always present for his children instilling faith, hope, confidence and love in them each and every day. He was a gentle kind soul. John was an only child; however, he grew up with many first cousins. Thanksgiving Day was always celebrated at his parents’ house and usually fed 75 plus family members. This was followed by a Christmas Party two weeks later where Santa Claus would show up and distribute gifts to all the children under 12. He shared many stories of growing up around the Bay Area with his cousins fishing and crabbing.

This is where his love for fishing came from and he spent many years at his beloved bay home at Bayou Vista called Raia’s Relief where he set out to fish in West Bay and Offatts Bayou bringing in fresh speckled trout and redfish on each expedition. It was this passion to fish and the dismay of live bait not lasting more than 12 hours that drove him to invent and patent The Watermover. His invention would keep live shrimp hoppin’ and poppin’ for at least 30 hours. He always wanted to live in the country. In 1996, he and Rosetta moved to Huntsville, Texas where they made a beautiful 10 acre homestead with a country home, two dogs, one horse, a pond, a large garden and John’s work shed. He loved Huntsville and became very active in The Shrine of the Two Hearts, Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and was a member of Stand and Pray for the sanctity of preserving the lives of the unborn. He made many wonderful friends in Huntsville that he considered his family.

John had a love for animals and was considered by his children as a “horse and dog whisperer.” He truly developed the beautiful communication between man and animal that God intended to happen. He could think a direction or action for his horse Topper, and Topper would hear him. His dogs were always the most obedient pets in the family. December 19, 1964, John became a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He was also a member of the Sherriff’s Mounted Posse. He enjoyed representing the posse riding in the HLS&R parade each year and riding in the opening of each rodeo at the Coliseum as they would present the American and Texas flags and perform a serpentine drill. He also rode on the Salt Grass Trail Ride and had many stories to tell about his two week adventure with Topper.

John had a quiet presence. He was a good listener and when he did speak, he usually had something profound to say. John’s garden was always full of beautiful vegetables and fruits. His garden of life was filled with his love for his God, his family and friends, his country and his compassion to help others. He rode on the trail ride of life where Jesus was the only trail boss. He never wavered in his faith. He was a beautiful son, husband, father and friend. He will be forever in our hearts.

The family would like to thank all of those who have cared for Daddy during his journey in the last 6 years. He loved you all and your commitment to helping those in need comforted him. You are all angels sent from Heaven. Thank you and God Bless You: Dr. Stephanie Coulter, M.C. Devault, RN, Dr. Michael Duncan, the staff at the Belmont Village Hunter’s Creek, Jesus Concepcion, the staff on the 14th floor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in the Houston Medical Center and the entire staff at Saint Dominic Village.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the following:

Saint Dominic Village, 2401 E. Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX, 77021

Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 1603 Avenue N, Huntsville, TX 77340

Good Shepherd Mission, 1005 Martin Luther King Dr., Huntsville, TX 77320.

Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements – www.shmfh.com


About Rich Heiland

Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached at freepresstx@gmail.com or 936-293-0293.

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