Robert Kenneth Rabe was born December 21, 1928 in Watseka, Illinois, the son of William and Hulda (Windhorn) Rabe.
He was baptized on January 13, 1929 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Woodworth, Illinois, and confirmed on April 26, 1942 at Calvary Lutheran Church, Watseka, Illinois. He graduated from Crescent City High School in 1947 and was a member of the baseball and basketball teams during those years. He later served in the Army during the Korean War from 1950-1952.
Robert and his uncle harvested wheat in the western states such as Nebraska and the Dakotas. During those summers he met NerVella Ruth Buechler. They were married on October 21, 1954 in McLaughlin, South Dakota. They lived in Crescent City, Illinois, where he drove a school bus for Woodworth Lutheran School and worked at Schweigert’s Grocery. He also farmed in Gilman, Illinois, for several years and worked at UARCO in Watseka, Illinois.
In 1962 they moved to Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, where they owned and operated the Valley View Dairy Farm with approximately 160 acres and 25-30 dairy cows and feeder pigs. They were members of Trinity Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
On December 13, 1973 they relocated and purchased Piney View Ranch in Cabool, Missouri, a 240-acre farm with mostly timber. They raised beef cattle and hogs. While working the family farm, he had other various jobs including building homes and the church he attended in Houston, Missouri, working at a sawmill in Raymondville, Missouri, and at Fordick in Mtn. Grove, Missouri. He started work at Mid-America Dairymen, Inc. in Cabool in 1977 where he made a variety of nutritional dairy products.
Bob and NerVella were members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Houston, where he held several offices including president and elder until his later years. Out of their union seven daughters were born: Tamara Jolene, Kandra Louise, twins Debra Lee and Denise Lynn, Cynthia Ann, Brenda Renee and Michelle Marie.
In January 1980, Robert married Barbara Ann (Schleef) Meyer in Crescent City, Illinois. Barbara and her youngest of five children, Andrew, moved to Cabool. Never having had a son, he was a welcomed addition to the family. They were married only a few short years before her passing on May 20, 1982.
Bob retired from Mid-Am in 1992 and then focused on one of his true passions, farming.
On September 2, 2001, Robert married Leola M. (Lucht) Rader in Crescent City, Illinios, and they returned to Cabool. Being in their later years, they were a wonderful blessing to each other. They spent many fulfilling days gardening, taking care of the farm, sitting in the evening air spending time together. They were members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, and Leola was his own personal angel until the time of his passing, May 12, 2009 at the age of 80 years.
He was a dedicated man to God. His family was built and raised around that faith; it was never an option but a given. His loyal faith shone through his strong, vibrant voice as he sang with his family. Many holidays were spent singing at church or with a house full around the piano at his home. He was good with God and the harmony of his voice would put you at ease and everything would be at peace again. At times he was a hard man, expecting nothing less than perfection from those he knew and loved so well and as they all knew, “You can tell a German, but you can’t tell him much.” That trait shines through most of his daughters even today. He was also a gentle, hard-working, honest man and after God and family, his farm was a very important part of his life. Endless years were spent tending cattle, fixing fences, cutting trees and the daily life of a farmer, but Sunday was always the day of rest. Even during the last few years he was always outside mowing or in his tool shed doing anything to keep him busy. He even took a tractor ride or two. His evenings were spent resting in his lawn chair or watching television with his loving wife.
Words cannot express how he will be missed by those who were a part of his amazing life on this earth. His wonderful memories will live on forever and knowing he is in his eternal home brings peace to their hearts and minds.
He is survived by his loving wife, Leola; daughters Tamara Rabe, Kandra Maupin and husband David, Debra Dotson, Denise Quessenberry and husband Mark, Cynthia Flanagan and husband Dale, Brenda Hass and husband David, and Michelle Fussner and husband Thomas; grandchildren Robert Tooley and wife Sarah, Lacey Wake and husband Shawn, Elijah Maupin and wife Donna, Tucker Dotson, Trenton Aldridge, Colby Flanagan, Quincy Flanagan, Nicholas Hass, Ashton Hass and Eleanora Fussner; great-grandchildren Ethan Hampton, Shyanna Kile, Kalus Tooley, triplets Cecilia, Gabrielle and Travis Dotson, Kaomi Maupin, and baby Maupin. He is also survived by 12 stepchildren, 29 stepgrandchildren and 27 step great-grandchildren; siblings Barbara Bohlmann and husband Weldon, Roger Rabe and wife Mary, Dennis Rabe and wife Nancy, Sharen Graham and husband Jack, Stuart Rabe and wife Neva, and Sandra Rabe; and his aunt, Martha Esther Rabe.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Hulda Rabe; a brother, Kenneth Rabe; and a sister-in-law, Donna Rabe.
Services were at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, 2009, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Houston with Pastor David Kettner officiating. Pallbearers were Dave Hass, Dale Flanagan, Mark Quessenberry, Tom Fussner, Robert Tooley and Tucker Dotson. Honorary pallbearers were Nick Hass, Trenton Aldridge, Colby Flanagan, Quincy Flanagan, David Maupin, Elijah Maupin and Shawn Wake. Interment with full military honors was in Cabool Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool.