John Washington Rath (1872-1951) was John Rath's son.  He served as the first president of the Rath Packing Company in Waterloo, Iowa.  His first cousin once removed, Edward F. Rath (1860-1930) always served as secretary and treasurer.

Rath, John W.
Born: Feb. 26, 1872 Ackley, IA
Rath Packing Co.

J. W. Rath's father, John Rath, was born in Germany but, after coming to the United States, enlisted in 1862 and served three years in the Civil War. John's brother, George (J.W.'s uncle), was killed at the battle of Lookout Mountain.

John W. Rath attended business college in Chicago then returned to Ackley, Iowa to work in his brother's bank. He came to Waterloo in 1891 and, with his cousin, E.F. Rath, founded the Rath Packing Co. that same year. John W. served as President from 1898 to 1943. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1943 to 1950. The John W. Rath residence was at 225 Highland. His wife was Maud Harbin.

Excerpt from "Brief Biographies of Early Residents of Waterloo, Black Hawk Co., Iowa" by Mary Beth Eldridge, 1993

J.W. Rath

J.W. RATH is president of The Rath Packing Company, Waterloo, an important enterprise which has featured largely in the business development of the city. With other important commercial concerns he is also indentified and is one of the representative residents of Black Hawk county who well deserves mention in this volume. He was born in Hardin county, Iowa, in 1872, and comes of German ancestry.

His father, John Rath, was born in Germany and about 1856 arrived in Iowa, settling in Dubuque. Subsequently he removed to Cedar Falls, Black Hawk county, and was living there at the time of the Civil war. In response to the country's need he enlisted in 1862 as a member of Company B, Thirty-first Iowa Regiment, with which he served for three years, or until the close of the war. He was fortunate in that he escaped wounds and injuries, but he lost a brother, George Rath, who was killed at the battle of Lookout Mountain. After the war John Rath returned to Iowa and was engaged in the lumber and grain business at Ackley, where he prospered as the years passed on as a result of his indefatigable industry and capable management. In 1881 he established the Exchange Bank at Ackley and continued there in the banking business until his death, which occurred June 20, 1914, being widely recognized as one of the leading and prominent business men of his town.

J.W. Rath, whose name introduces this review, was born and reared in Ackley and pursued a public-school education there. Later he attended Bryant & Stratton's Business College of Chicago and on leaving that institution entered his brother's bank in Ackley. In 1891 he came to Waterloo, where he entered into connection with his present business, which, in March, 1891, was incorporated, his father, John Rath, being president; A. Holzer, vice president, and E.F. Rath, secretary and treasurer. The present officers of the company are: J.W. Rath, president, and F.J. Fowler, vice president, while E.F. Rath remains as secretary and treasurer. Their business is largely that of pork packing, but they are now developing the beef packing industry and during the summer of 1914 they erected one of the most complete beef packing establishments in the state. They are conducting an extensive business in their line, having the only packing house in Waterloo. Their enterprise also furnishes an excellent market to stock-raisers of this section. Their business is growing year by year, being already one of the most important productive enterprises of the city. Mr. Rath is likewise a director of the First National Bank and of the Waterloo Loan & Trust Company, a director of the Rath State Exchange Bank of Ackley and president of the Fifth Street Building Company. He finds delight in solving intricate business problems and his expanding powers have made him one of the foremost representatives of commercial activity in his city.

Mr. Rath was married in 1895 to Miss Maud Harbin, of Waterloo, and they have two children, Anita Louise and Howard. The parents hold membership in the First Presbyterian church and Mr. Rath is serving on its board of trustees. He belongs to the Commercial Club, the Board of Trade and the Town Criers Club, and is a Knight Templar Mason. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and he is a member of the board of trustees of the Waterloo waterworks and has been a member of the city council for two terms. He was very active in the municipal ownership campaign that resulted in the city owning the water plant. He does all in his power to further public progress. He has ever felt a hearty concern for the public welfare and has been helpful in bringing about those purifying and wholesome reforms which have been gradually growing in the political, municipal and social life of the city. It is true that his chief life work has been that of a remarkably successful business man, but the range of his activities and the scope of his influence have reached far beyond this special field. He belongs to that class of men who wield a power which is all the more potent from the fact that it is moral rather than political and is exercised for the public weal rather than for personal ends.

From page 26 of John C. Hartman's History of Black Hawk County, Iowa, and its people.

Considering the great financial success of this hard working family.  The Raths lived comfortable, but moderate lifestyles.  They were very active with serving their church and Ackley, Iowa community.  John Rath's mansion was given to the Ackley Presbyterian church and is used as a retirement home called the Presbyterian Village:  It is the largest employer in Ackley, Iowa today!