Peaceful 09

Music by the O'Neill Brothers


Dr. Rafael R. Pedraja

October 21, 1928 ~ August 25, 2018 (age 89)

     Dr. Rafael R. Pedraja age 89 formerly of Northbrook, IL passed away Saturday, August 25, 2018 at his daughter's home in Michigan where he resided for the past 18 months.

     Private Family Services will be announced at a later date.

     Rafael was born in Sagua La Grande, Cuba on October 21, 1928, the son of Jesus M. and Ursula (Dulzaides) Pedraja.  Rafael resided most of his life in the northern suburbs of Chicago, IL. He graduated with a Doctorate Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Havana in Cuba.

     Rafael dedicated his career as an Executive for Booth Fisheries and Sara Lee Corporation, and with many others as a consultant.  Among many of his accomplishments, he was responsible for new product development, nutritional and quality systems, industrial hygiene and regulatory affairs.  He served as a consultant with the FDA and the United Nations, lecturing on food safety, food science and nutrition all over the world.  Rafael wrote numerous scientific, political and technical papers, which were published in scientific journals, newspapers and trade magazines.  He was also an accomplished author and proud of his self published book, 'Fidel Castro: The Rape of a Nation.'  Over the years he received numerous awards for his achievements in his personal and professional career.  As an immigrant from Cuba in 1954, Rafael experienced the dangers of totalitarianism and communism which strengthened his conservative views.  He hosted many politicians in his home for fundraisers and lectured on the importance of freedom and democracy to civic and educational groups as a political activist.  

     Rafael is survived by his beloved wife Gladys Pedraja of 64 years; daughter Amy (Michael) Burnham of St. Johns, MI; son Ralph K. Pedraja of Fox Lake, IL; granddaughter Margaret Burnham of St. Johns, MI; grandson Gabe Burnham of St. Johns, MI. He is also survived by other grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren on his son's side.  Rafael was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings: Jesus, Hilda, Felix, Ursula, Leila, Yolanda, Vicente and Nelia.

     Memorial Contributions may be made to Shriner's Hospital for Children or the Arthritis Foundation.  Online condolences can be sent to  All other condolences can be sent to Smith Funeral Home at 104 E. Cass Street, St. Johns, MI  48879.  The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes - Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, MI.

© 2019 Smith Family Funeral Homes. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS