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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

Teacher became welfare caseworker

Audrey A. Raker, 96, a retired welfare caseworker and teacher who managed stocks and other investments for herself when few women did, died of heart failure Wednesday at Harborside of Perrysburg.

Ms. Raker, a longtime Toledo resident, was a caseworker for about 20 years at the Lucas County Welfare Department. Initially, she helped needy families obtain financial aid and offered guidance. In later years, she supervised cases of the elderly who received welfare medical benefits.

Her own divorce while a young mother in 1941 gave her some firsthand understanding of becoming independent and how to help other people, her son, Arthur, said.

“She was pretty good at dealing with problems,” he said. She retired in 1974.

Prior to joining the welfare department, Ms. Raker was a schoolteacher as a young woman who taught typing, bookkeeping, and other business classes as well as English and French to junior high and high school students.

Her first teaching assignment in 1929 in Linden, Mich., followed her graduation that year from the University of Toledo. She worked there several years, then taught for a year at Fayette, Ohio, High School. Following that, she was a teacher at the former Monclova and Holland high schools in the mid-1940s.

For several years, she worked for the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commissions and then, in the early 1950s, became a long-term substitute teacher for Toledo Public Schools.

A woman with wide interests, Ms. Raker began buying stocks when she worked as a schoolteacher.

“She was well ahead of her time,” Judith Fitch, her niece, said. “She has always been a very knowledgeable and avant garde woman. She took care of her own stock portfolio since her 30s.”

Her aunt s determination was a factor in Ms. Fitch becoming a commodities broker. “For me, she took some of the fear away a bit. She was an inspiration,” she said.

Born on a farm near Delta, Ohio, Ms. Raker graduated from Delta High School in 1924. After graduating from UT, she also did postgraduate work at the University of Pittsburgh.

Ms. Raker was a member of First Congregational Church and belonged to the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a member of UT s Golden Alumni Association.

Surviving are her son, Arthur; sister, Constance Kimple, and two grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Grisier Funeral Home, Delta, where the body will be an hour before the service.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.



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