Donald J. Rabas, 85, Kewaunee, passed away peacefully in his home on Friday morning, May 28, 2021, surrounded by his loving wife and family. He was born in Maribel, WI on January 12, 1936, and graduated in 1953 from Manitowoc Lincoln High School where he played football and track. There he earned First Team All-Conference Defensive Tackle, Offensive Tackle, and All-State honors. He was awarded a football scholarship to Northwestern University where he played for legendary Coaches Ara Paraseghian, Lou Saban, and Bo Schembechler. He graduated with a B.S. Degree in Education in 1957.
He married his beautiful high school sweetheart Veronica and together they had five children. He coached all 3 of sons in K.H.S. football and his 2 daughters were cheerleaders while his wife was his biggest cheerleader. Don taught high school for 40 years with 38 of those years being in Kewaunee where he taught Citizenship, U.S. History, Government, Law Related Education, Phys. Ed., was the Attendance Director and Athletic Director for 32 years.
He coached High School Football for 53 years. He was head coach in Kewaunee for 30 years. Recorded 191 wins, 88 lost, 1 tie, 10 Conference Championships, 11 Second Place finishes, and only 4 losing seasons. From 1968-1971 he posted 28 wins in a row and didn’t give up a single point in 68 straight quarters of play. After he retired in Kewaunee, he continued to coach as an assistant in De Pere under his sons Greg and Brian. In fall of 2020, the KHS football field was renamed after him. He was well known for being a great person of honesty, integrity, and character who taught as much about being a good person as about being an athlete. Don was blessed with having many great assistant coaches and players who were like sons to him throughout his entire career. His many honors include: Induction in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Manitowoc Lakeshore All Sports Hall of Fame, Shrine Bowl Coach, WI District Coach of the Year 3 times, as well as being the WI District Representative for Coaches Association for 10 years.
Don started the track program in Kewaunee in 1963 and remained the head coach until 1975. During Don’s thirteen years as head track coach (with the first five being without a track), Kewaunee won four Conference Championships, six Regional titles and one Sectional Title. He then remained on as an assistant track coach for many years. He was in charge of the Kewaunee Summer Recreation program and was the supervisor of the Little League, Powder Puff League, and Golf Program for 29 years. He was also a registered WIAA official in football and basketball for over 35 years.
In 1976, Don received the Rotary Club Community Service Award. He was a member of the Kewaunee Jaycees and the Kewaunee Rotary Club. He was an active member of Holy Rosary Church where he served as school board member, a trustee, commentator, and the finance committee.
Don’s greatest accomplishment was the positive impact he left on so many lives. The relationships he formed and the friends he made were special to him. He loved spending quality time with his family. His hobbies included fishing with his family and friends, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, gardening, card clubs, church activities, and going to the casino.
Those left to celebrate his memory include his wife Veronica, his children: Sue Rabas (Milwaukee), Greg (Janice) Rabas (De Pere), Jerry (Cindy) Rabas (Milwaukee), Sara Rabas (Green Bay), Brian (Candace) Rabas (De Pere). Seven grandchildren: Jessica, Michael (Laura), Kelley, Eric, Aubrey, Drew, and Owen. Three great grandchildren: Jack, Clara, and Kate. Two brothers: Eugene (Darlene) Rabas (Maribel), Francis (Carol) Rabas (Denmark), Sister-In-Law Rita Rabas (Janesville). Don was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Marcella Rabas (Maribel), younger brother Cal Rabas (Janesville), as well as beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Friends may call from 4:00-8:00 p.m. on Tuesday June 1 (Service at 7 p.m.) at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 521 Juneau St., Kewaunee, WI, or on Wednesday June 2 at 9:00-10:45 a.m. Mass at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Rosary Church. To view the service at 11:00 a.m. via livestream, please visit www.holyrosarykewaunee.com. Click on “Parish” and then on “watch this weeks Mass”. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos may be shared on Don’s tribute page at www.buchananfh.com.
It is requested that current CDC guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing are followed by those attending.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Don Rabas Field/Scholarship Fund.
Don’s family would like to thank Bellin Health, Unity Hospice, and Holy Rosary Parish for their exceptional care and support during this time.