Allen E. Rabe
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On March 16, 2013, Al Rabe passed away peacefully at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. He was 81 years old. Al was born in New Holstein, Wisconsin to Herman and Martha Ninmer Rabe. His childhood on a small farm gave him a lifelong love of gardening and nature.
Al graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a BS in 1954, MS in 1955 and PhD in 1958, all degrees in chemical engineering. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, Alpha Chi Sigma, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi. In 1956, Al married Lucy MacMillin of Madison. After graduation, he took a job with Union Carbide and the Rabes moved to Buffalo, NY. In 1960, he joined the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut. The move to Delaware and DuPont came in 1962.
At DuPont, Al was an expert in polymerization, particularly polyester as it relates to gell formation in the reactor that led to black specks, color and other quality issues. He developed a state-of-the-art Kinetic model for all of the reactions that would/could impact this and was able to resolve complex production issues.
One of Al's first goals when he retired in 1996 was to join the University of Delaware's Master Gardener program. He loved his own yard and gardens all his life and enjoyed helping others with their gardening questions. He passed this love of outdoors on to his children as well. A devoted family man, Al always enjoyed taking kids - and later grandkids! on nature hikes. Every summer vacation included camping trips. As the family grew, Al became a scout master, first for Cub Pack 32 and then for Troop 328, for a total of eleven years. He was very proud that his three boys all earned their Eagle badges.
A talented pianist, Al had an eclectic taste in music. He loved Louis Armstrong, Pink Floyd and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A highlight was the periodic trip into New York to the Metropolitan Opera. Another favorite occupation was duplicate bridge.
Al was noted for his wicked sense of humor. Friends and family could always count on a new joke or a good story from Al. He will be sadly missed and always loved.
Al is preceded in death by his son Phil, his parents, and his sister and her husband, Lucinda and Adolph Sievert. Survivors include his devoted wife Lucy; his children and their spouses Carole and Allen Tiller, Amy and David Gammon, Martha and David Osborn, Tim and Kay Rabe, and Ken and Mirian Rabe; and his nine grandchildren Stephanie, Megan, Ashley, Samantha, Michelle, Eric, Julianne, Lauren and Joshua. The family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to all of the wonderful caregivers and volunteers who helped to smooth Al's last years. We will be forever grateful for your help.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Delaware Hospice, First Unitarian Church of Wilmington or the Delaware Nature Society. A celebration of Al's life will be held at the First Unitarian Church, 730 Halstead Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803 on Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 pm.
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Published in The News Journal from Mar. 29 to Mar. 31, 2013