Summer Rae Raffo______________________________
On April 4, 1977, the world was greeted by Summer Rae Raffo. She lived a very full and productive life until a catastrophic historical event claimed her life as she was driving her vehicle to work through the area of the Oso landslide on March 22, 2014 near Darrington, Wash.
Summer was born in Bellingham, Wash., to the proud parents of Rae Smith and Karl Raffo. She would eventually become fifth in the line of 13 children. Growing up closely with her older brothers, Summer quickly realized girly things and dolls were not for her. She preferred Tonka trucks, dirt, football, bikes and action figures. She got tough right away and loved every bit of being with her brothers. Nicknamed “Bookie,” she didn’t take much grief from anyone including other boys in school. As she grew up, her passion for horses grew. She would eventually raise and own dozens of horses over the years with her best friend and inseparable mother Rae. They loved working together and being with and riding horses.
Summer lived in Philip with her family from 1981-1989 and attended Philip Elementary School from preschool through the sixth grade. Even recently, Summer would reminisce and talk about her memories of her Philip family, friends and teachers. Mr. (Lee) Vaughan was her favorite because he loved animals.
Summer also liked riding dirt bikes, watching Supercross racing and Seahawks football. She kept her brothers in check and had more knowledge about Supercross riders than they did. She loved being with family and her pets. As a baptized Jehovah’s Witness she shared her religion with many and they’d listen because she was so genuine, so real.
Summer grew up in Washington and South Dakota, spending the last 25 years in Darrington. She worked at the local sawmill, Summit Timber, and again later as Hampton Lumber.
She then pursued her love for horses and became a graduate of Mission Farrier School in 2009, where her passion excelled and she shoed horses for a living. She also worked two other jobs as a custodian for the family owned business and the same position for the Darrington Schools. She wasn’t afraid to work and was noted for being punctual for everything. If you asked her to do it, it was done before the question was finished. Darrington was her home and everyone of all ages knew her, loved her and respected her. Summer was known by her dedication, unique sense of humor, her patented laugh and ability to make things happen. She was an absolute joy to be around and her infectious smile left a lasting impression on everyone.
Married in 2011, her husband Joel Sundstrom of Concrete, Wash., and her were like peanut butter and jelly. The love and devotion to each other were magical and evident to any one that was around them. They shared many passions together including the love for family and friends. As a beautiful mature woman, her well-rounded life shined as a loving and devoted wife.
Summer is preceded in death by her father Karl, Sumas, Wash., and step-grandparents Chester and Violet (Brown) Smith, Philip. She is survived by her husband, Joel Sundstrom; mother, Rae Smith; dad, Chuck Smith; brothers Dennis, Dayn, Jason, Cheyenne, Sean, Nick, Richard, Anthony and Nate; sisters Marlene, Brittney and Christina; Grandmother Flo; six nephews; seven nieces; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and the community of Darrington.
The love, devotion and loyalty by her brothers, husband, family and friends became evident to the world these past dreary days. Relentlessly searching for their sister, she was located on the fifth day when her brother, nephew and rescue workers were able to pull her from her entombed car. No longer listed on the missing list, her family and friends and over 100 search and rescue personnel witnessed her leave the devastated area in a helicopter, a feat she would not have been fond of because of her fear of extreme heights. Despite a tragic end to the life of a loyal and devoted daughter, sister, wife and friend that will live on forever in the hearts and minds of so many. We now have closure knowing she is now at peace.
Memorial Services for Summer were held on April 5, 2014.
May you be at peace Summer Rae, may you be at peace.