Devastated parents pay tribute to son killed in crash
WHILE many young people head to the big smoke after leaving school, all Josh Rackemann wanted to be was a farmer.
His heartbroken parents Mark and Di Rackemann are still coming to terms with the tragedy.
Mark said Josh had a deep love for farming from a young age.
"Farming was in his blood," he said.
"His keenness, willingness and expertise when and where he was needed was a credit to him.
"He would come home from school and jump on a tractor.
"You can't replace his passion to see paddocks reach their full potential."
Mark said Josh was so passionate about securing a water supply that he spent his own money on drilling a test hole as he wanted to help the family farming business sustainable.
"He was also developing the skills of a keen diviner from his Uncle Des (Staib)," he said.
Mark said his son always made time to sit and talk, and listen to others.
"This was a special quality that Josh had in this busy world in which we live," he said.
"He had a unique manner and was a natural conversationalist, years above his age.
"We're missing those conversations.
"We haven't just lost a son, we've all lost a great friend and mate."
Josh wasn't able to be a full-time farmer as he had severe asthma and allergies, which negatively impacted his ability to be heavily involved on the farm.
It didn't surprise the family when Josh started working as a support worker at Blue Care.
Di said Josh got as much out of helping his clients, as they did from him.
"They made some special memories," she said.
"He knew what it was like to struggle, he wasn't afraid of pain and had empathy for others - that was one of his strongest qualities."
Josh attended Coalstoun Lakes State School where he was school captain.
He then attended Burnett College where he continued to excel, both academically and on the sporting field.
His family has been overwhelmed by cards and messages of sympathy since Josh's death.
At his service in the Coalstoun Lakes Hall, printed emails of condolence the family received were tied to balloons in the hall, representing those who were unable to attend due to coronavirus restrictions.
Di said at that stage they were limited to only 10 guests at the service, but fortunately their application to have the number extended to 20 was successful.
"His favourite tractor, the John Deere 9300 led the procession from the hall to the cemetery," she said.
"We've just been blown away with the comments and support we've received from the community.
"If Josh only knew the number of people who loved him."
Mark expressed his thanks to the Coalstoun Lakes community, and those from the Biggenden, Gayndah and Mundubbera communities and beyond for being part of Josh's life.
The Kreis and Roth families in Gayndah, who had many a trip to Fraser Island together, are also feeling the impact of Josh's death.
They have built a rustic bar in the backyard, in his memory.
Josh's grandmother Vi Rackemann said he enjoyed spending time in the paddock after school and throughout the school holidays, and she would remember his little dust-covered glasses.
"There was always a smile on his face," she said.
Mark said when Josh was in the paddock, he had special qualities that reminded him of his father, Jeff Rackemann.
Jeff was a PCA director for more than 20 years at Kingaroy.
Di said Josh would be remembered for how he made people feel when they were with him.
"He had a manner that always made people feel special," she said.
"All kids loved spending time with Josh as well, as he always made them laugh and have a good time.
"He will be missed by his niece Sophia, and nephews Riley and Bellamy."
His siblings, Cameron and Leah, also cherish their memories of Josh and his many adventures.
His grandfather Edward Brockway misses hearing Josh saying, "G'day Grandad. How are you going?".
Josh may have had a short life but he had achieved a great deal in that time and bought happiness to many.
He had conquered many milestones others are still aiming for, possessed qualities others may never have, and experienced many adventures.
The family said they would all miss his company and him being there when they needed him.
"He will always be with us," they said.