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Vigil honors 79-year-old bicyclist killed in hit-and-run

Family says Bob Rathje was in bike lane on Beach Boulevard when he was struck

Family members and friends gathered for a vigil for a grandfather killed while riding his bike about a month ago.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends gathered Tuesday night to remember a 79-year-old grandfather, who was struck and killed while riding his bicycle.

Bob Rathje was in the bike lane traveling west on Beach Boulevard near I-295 when he was hit, his family told News4Jax earlier this month. He later died from his injuries.

The family said for over the past 20 years, he’s collected more than $7,000 that he’s found while riding his bike, which he was using to pay for his grandchildren’s college education.

It’s what he was doing, the family said, when he was killed.

On Tuesday night, those who attended the vigil shared stories and prayed.

Family and friends gathered for the Tuesday night vigil.

“It’s comforting to know that my mom and my dad had this much support in the neighborhood,” said Rathje’s son, Glenn. “We are both not from the area, so it makes it comforting to know that there is that much support for our mom.”

Rathje’s daughter, Ellen, said it was a great way for people to get together and remember her father, but she wants the public to remember that the person who took his life hasn’t been arrested.

“The person who did this is still out there,” she said. “So we are really hoping that anyone who has any information about this accident will come forward, either call the police or go to Justice for Bob on Facebook with any information you might have.”

Rathje’s son wanted to remind the public that it happened on July 31 around 10 a.m. on Beach Boulevard.

By News4Jax count, there have been eight reported deadly hit-and-runs in Jacksonville in 2021. No arrests have been announced in any of them. There were eight reported last year, one of which resulted in an arrest.