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Longtime Haverhill veterans supporter John Ratka dies; was director of Veterans Northeast Outreach Center

Eagle-Tribune - 1/15/2019

Jan. 14--HAVERHILL -- Officials with Veterans Northeast Outreach Center said their long-time executive director, John Ratka, died over the weekend following a brief illness. He was 65.

Ratka, a 26-year veteran of the Navy who retired as command master chief, continued to serve by joining the veterans outreach center in 1999 as an assistant director, officials at the center said. Ratka was named executive director of that agency in 2001.

"John's dedication and commitment to veterans and their families as well as VNOC set a high standard for the rest of us to follow," the center's Board of Directors said in a press release. "The loss we feel is unmeasurable, however, the honor we feel to have worked beside John is what will help us cope at this difficult time. John gave so much to all. We have a responsibility to continue his work with every veteran in need."

The statement indicated that interim directors have been appointed by the Board of Directors.

According to the center's Facebook page, calling hours are Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Conte Funeral Home, 17 3rd St., North Andover. A funeral Mass will be Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Michael's Church in North Andover.

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