KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 9, 2018) – The entire U.S. Merchant Marine Academy community was saddened by the loss of a dear member earlier this week, Athletic Hall of Famer Peter J. Rackett '61, who passed away Tuesday night after a battle with cancer. Rackett, also known as "Mr. Kings Point," was an avid supporter of USMMA Athletics and our student-athletes dating all the way back to his time as a Midshipman at the Academy.
A 2001 honorary inductee into the USMMA Athletics Hall of Fame, Rackett's role with athletics unofficially began when he served as the contributor to the student newspaper Hear This! for all things Mariner sports during his years as a Midshipman from 1957-1961. His support continued right up until the very end of his life throughout his many positions.
His role with the Academy was not limited to just Athletics, however, as he was a very active in Academy and Alumni affairs for decades. USMMA Superintendent RADM James Helis called Rackett "a constant source of information and experience on everything to do with Kings Point. He served as a respected alumnus, shipmate and mentor to Midshipmen, faculty, staff and alumni over the years. His life exemplified Acta Non Verba. We are saddened by his death and our hearts go out to his family and to those who counted him as a friend."
Rackett wrote the original USMMA Athletics Hall of Fame bylaws in 1976 and was a member of the Charter Revision Committee in 1989. He had served on the Selection Committee since its inception in 1990. Rackett also held numerous positions within the Blue & Gray Club including Secretary, Vice President and President and was also a member of the Board of Advisors.
"Mr. Rackett's contributions to USMMA Athletics and the entire Academy community are immeasurable," said Athletic Director Mo White. "He was a true champion and mentor of our student-athletes and his face always stuck out among the crowds cheering on his Mariners at each contest. It's not often that someone like Pete comes around and makes a lasting impact that will be felt for many, many years. He will be greatly missed."
A tireless recruiter and fundraiser, Rackett made numerous presentations to athletic recruits throughout the years. He also served as the President of the Mariners Gridiron Club, having been a member of the club since 1980. Rackett had also been active in the Athletic Department's Team Advisor Program, serving as the advisor to the football and track and field teams.
For his continued contributions to the varsity program and the Academy's Midshipmen, he was twice awarded the Captain James Liebertz Memorial Award, presented to someone who exemplifies traits of dedication, perseverance, enthusiasm, and a love for Kings Point Athletics in 1996 and again in 2015. He was recognized as the recipient of the Mark J. Paradiso Service Award in 1997, which is bestowed upon a member of the Academy family as voted by the Midshipmen athletes for dedication and service to Kings Point Athletics.
Rackett's recognitions from USMMA Athletics did not end there, though. He was also chosen as the Captain Perry Walter Team Mentor Award recipient once in 2002 and again in 2012, and was the 2012 recipient of the George Edward "Skip" Prosser '72 Achievement Award recognizing a USMMA alumnus who epitomizes the true spirit and qualities of Skip Prosser, including honesty, integrity, dedication and the determination to serve others.
Rackett worked for the USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation (AAF) for over two decades—serving as Vice President for Alumni Relations, Secretary and Member of the Board of Directors, and Assistant to the President. He has received a number of awards for his dedicated service to Kings Point including the Distinguished Alumni Service Award and Meritorious Alumni Service Award. He was the first recipient of the Peter J. Rackett Lifetime Achievement Award and the Joe Baker, Jr. Lifetime Service Award. He was awarded "Kings Pointer of the Year" in 2014.
A memorial service is planned for September and details will be communicated as soon as they become available.
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