She was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 21, 1955, to the late Arnold and Mary (Ramanauskas) Smilgis. Both of her parents emigrated from Lithuania following World War II to escape communist oppression. Regina was raised and attended school in Chicago. After graduating high school in 1973, she began working for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) in Chicago. Her DEA service included temporary task force assignments to the countries of Columbia, Peru, and Malaysia. In 1980, while serving as the office manager of the DEA Liaison Office at the American Embassy in Singapore, Regina met the love of her life, John Garrabrant. She and John were married in St. Louis, Missouri on May 26, 1982.
Regina graduated from Columbia College in 1988 with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. She later became a licensed certified public accountant. For the past seventeen years, Regina worked for Western Dairy Transport, a trucking company headquartered in Cabool, Missouri, with offices located in five other states. She eventually became the chief financial officer and a full partner with the company; she served in that capacity until her passing.
In addition to her accomplished professional career, Regina was very devoted to her family. She enjoyed cooking for her family and friends, traveling, scuba diving, was an avid dog lover and a devoted St. Louis Cardinals fan.
She will be greatly missed by her surviving family which includes her husband, John Garrabrant of the home; three sisters, Birute “Betty” Smilgis of Chicago, IL, Christine Gray, also of Chicago, and Wanda Bridgeman and husband Craig of Charleston, South Carolina. She is also survived by nephews Christopher Winer and Adam Wagner, Adam’s wife, Olivia, and their son, Adam Homer Wagner, all of Chicago; other extended family members and many dear friends.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Regina Garrabrant was held at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at Null & Son Funeral Home in Rolla.
Regina fought a five-year battle with breast cancer and was an avid supporter of the Bond Clinic, the Delbert Day Cancer Institute and the Joy of Caring Fund. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to either the Delbert Day Cancer Institute or the Joy of Caring Fund, in care of the Phelps Regional Healthcare Foundation.