John Moses Rakusin

John Moses Rakusin, known to all as Jack, passed away on Tuesday, March 14, just eight days shy of his 97th birthday. Jack was a warm and kind man, with a generous spirit, whose self-proclaimed greatest accomplishments were his relationships with his family and friends. He had an inviting twinkle in his eye and a hearty laugh that put those around him at ease.  A lover of food, Jack could regularly be seen schmoozing with friends at Taste in Hamden, where he would order the eponymous Jack’s Egg Salad Sandwich with Tomato Jam. He was also known to steal an extra slice of pumpkin pie (his favorite) at Thanksgiving. His enthusiasm for living was reflected in his pronouncing that every meal that someone made for him was “the best meal that I have ever had.” Jack grew up in Mount Pleasant, a small town in Western Pennsylvania, where his parents William and Celia Rakusin owned a small ladies ready to wear store. Jack was the youngest of four, with three adoring older sisters: Thelma, Rachel and Bea. After graduating from Penn State, Jack served in Panama during World War II. He then returned to Penn State where he received his Ph.d in clinical psychology under the GI Bill. It was work that brought Jack to Connecticut—to run a ward and supervise residents and psychology interns at the newly opened VA hospital in West Haven, a training center for Yale. A long and productive work life followed—at the VA, the Newington Children’s Hospital, the Grove School, and in private practice. Jack was a beloved therapist and supervisor, maintaining friendships with former students and colleagues to this day. Thank you to old friends and eating buddies Howard, Alan, Claire and Fontanas. Jack connected to Temple Beth Tikvah over 35 years ago and regularly attended the Wednesday reading group and Saturday Torah study. He loved to read about and to discuss the big ideas of life. He cherished his long-term relationships at the temple, and new members soon became old friends. This was also true at Beth Roth’s meditation group, a source of great sharing and caring. Music (jazz saxophone) and photography were lifelong interests and sources of great pleasure. With great appreciation and love for the good care Jack received in the difficult elderly years, his family would like to thank Drs. Douglas Israel, Eric Grubman, Dana Ranani, and home helpers Esmaida Reid and Matia Ellison. Jack leaves his wife Kim Karlan Rakusin, his first wife Florence Karp Rakusin, his adored daughter Ellen Rakusin Peterman and her husband John, his grandson Jeremy, as well as loving nieces and nephews, former students, and many friends.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 17 at 10:30 am at Temple Beth Tikvah, 196 Durham Rd., Madison, CT. The interment will be in the Temple Beth Tikvah section of Beaver Brook Cemetery, Rt. 145, Clinton, CT. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jack’s memory to Temple Beth Tikvah.

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  1. Yvette Coronado said,

    03.16.17 at 1:09 pm

    It was a pleasure and Honor to have met you Jack.

  2. Jo Donegan said,

    03.28.17 at 3:21 am

    Thank you, Jack for your supervision and directing me to ‘challenge my life assumptions’. I will always be grateful to you for so many things. My best to Ellen.

  3. adm4adam said,

    06.06.17 at 10:14 pm

    RAKUSIN, JOHN MOSESJohn Moses Rakusin, known to all as Jack, passed away on Tuesday, March 14, just eight days shy of his h birthday.