Memorial service for kayaking accident victim

July 1, 2010 1:11:21 PM PDT
A memorial service will be held Saturday for Raymond Dracker, the 55-year-old San Rafael man who died Friday in a kayaking accident while on vacation with his family in North Carolina.

A spokeswoman for the family said the 11 a.m. service at St. Raphael's Church is open to the public.

Dracker was kayaking with a nephew from the Lockwood Folly Inlet to the Atlantic Ocean at about 10 a.m. when he was overtaken by the surf and drowned, Holden Beach police said.

Dracker, a native of Bethpage, N.Y., was a senior vice president of project development at Solar Millennium in Berkeley for the past three years.

His responsibilities included overseeing the engineering and development of four solar energy power plants, including a 240-megawatt plant in Blythe in the Sonoran desert on the California-Arizona border.

"We hope to break ground by the end of 2010," said Jake McKee, a Solar Millennium employee who is on the development team that Dracker supervised.

Dracker was on a "very rare vacation" when the accident happened, McKee said.

McKee remembers Dracker as family-oriented, a sports fan and an outdoors enthusiast. He said Dracker once kayaked from Marin County to a Giants game at AT&T Park.

Dracker was "very research- and technology-minded and obsessed with the solar industry," McKee recalled.

"He was an idea guy. He promoted research and development and a lot of big ideas came from him. A lot of young staff gravitated to him. Your head would be spinning when you left his office," McKee said.

Josef Eichhammer, chief executive officer of Solar Millennium, LLC, said Dracker "was passionate about Solar Millennium, its team and its success."

"Ray was a wonderful person, a real friend, and someone who believed in the vision to change the world by using solar energy," Eichhammer said in a statement.

"He worked tirelessly for a better future for our society, for his children and for our children. He was deeply committed to advancing and promoting solar energy, and his contributions can be seen throughout our company and projects," Eichhammer said.

Following the memorial service at the church, located at 1104 Fifth Ave., a reception will be held at the Elks Lodge at 1312 Mission Ave. in San Rafael.


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