Rae Letsinger

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Rae Letsinger

November 01, 2018

Rae Letsinger Rae Letsinger died on Thursday, November 1, 2018, of complications from a torn pelvic muscle incurred while working in the yard. He was the only son of William Roy Letsinger and Susan Hasselbring Letsinger. He was the brother to Katheryn, Gladys, Frances and Joan, all of whom adored him.
Rae was born in October 1937, and as a child he was given the nickname of "Boomer" by his uncle. The name stuck and most of his co-workers and friends knew him only as Boomer.
He graduated in 1955 from Sarcoxie (Mo.) High School, where he lettered in basketball. He also sang tenor and baritone in small vocal groups and soloed as a baritone.
Rae joined the Air Force after high school graduation and was trained in ILS, instrument landing systems. He served at Thule Air Force Base, in Greenland, on the DEW line and at Roswell Air Force Base, in New Mexico. While in Greenland, Rae played forward on the Thule basketball team which won the Northeast Air Command Championship.
After his honorable discharge in 1959, he returned home to Sarcoxie and in 1960 Rae started working at the Gilbert H. Wild & Son flower nursery, retiring from there in 1999. He loved plants and would order unusual varieties of trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. for the pure delight of watching them grow.
As a younger man, Rae loved the T-birds he once owned - the 1957 red hardtop convertible, which cost him $3000 and the 1964 Pagoda Green two-door sedan, which cost about $6,000.
He was a voracious reader, especially of science fiction, reading and re-reading the thousands of books he had in his personal library over the years. He was a speed reader with a phenomenal memory, not only of the stories but actual quotes from every book he had ever read.
Rae also had an enormous record collection which extended from hard rock to classical. Handel and Bach were his two musical favorites in his later years.
He became well known in the lepidoptery field for his collection of Southwest Missouri moths, butterflies and other insects. This collection began in the early 1970s when his niece asked for help collecting butterflies for a school science project. His interest took off from there and grew into a passion as he currently has the largest private collection in Missouri of approximately 23,000 museum quality specimens. With no formal training, Rae became expert in collecting, identifying, labeling and mounting these specimens through his own study and with the mentorship of the noted insect collector, author and friend, J. Richard Heitzman, of Independence, Mo.
Rae's sisters, nieces and nephews mourn his passing and our memories of him will remain with us always. He requested cremation and that no service be held. The family honors his wishes.
Cremation arrangements are under the personal care and direction of Housh-Goodwin Funeral Home, in Sarcoxie.
Published on November 4, 2018
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