Marvin Elroy Rabe

August 8, 1914 ~ May 1, 2020 (age 105)


Marvin Elroy Rabe of Chatfield passed away peacefully on Friday, May 1, 2020, at the Chosen Valley Care Center at the age of 105.

Marvin was born August 8, 1914, in Mt. Pleasant Township, Wabasha County, MN, to Lizzie Anna (Wiemann) and Clarence Frederick Cord Rabe and grew up in the Oak Center area. He spoke German at home and did not learn English until attending country school. He attended school through 8th grade and had to repeat the grade because he wasn’t old enough to graduate. As a young man, he enjoyed riding horse, skiing, playing baseball, playing cards, and attending house dances. He worked for Wabasha County building roads with horse-drawn scrapers.

On March 6, 1937, he married Vera Rothgarn and to this union was born a daughter. They were later divorced. On January 6, 1943, he married Ethel Herbst at Lincoln Church in rural Zumbro Falls and to this union six children were born. They also adopted a daughter and fostered a son. They lived in Zumbro Falls for nine years and later moved to rural Chatfield where they farmed for 25 years before moving into Chatfield in 1977. Although retired, Marvin continued to help his sons on their farms for many years after moving to town.

Dancing was a big part of Marvin and Ethel’s life which included polkas, waltzes, foxtrots, and square dances with the Whitewater Whirlers and Silver Treads Square Dance Clubs. Along with dancing, they loved playing cards with family and friends every chance they got. They enjoyed traveling, including mystery bus trips. Marvin and Ethel were blessed with 56 years of marriage before her passing in 1999.

Marvin was a devoted member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church and a proud member of the Chatfield Lions. He was also a member of numerous dairy cooperatives, the Orion Township board, and the Senior Citizens Card Club. He sold DeKalb Seed Corn, delivered Meals on Wheels, and served as a resident council spokesperson at the Chosen Valley Care Center.

He was an easy-going, lovable, kind-hearted family man with a sharp mind, even at the age of 105. He was very witty and had an amazing sense of humor. Marvin loved playing cards, especially 500, and you would always want to be his partner. He was proud of the family that he’d raised. Happy hour and growing vegetables were some of his favorite Care Center activities. Marvin was well-loved by all who knew him.

Left behind to cherish his memory are his eight children: JoAnn Hayes of Red Wing; Ronald Sexton (Linda) of Lake City; Larry (Becky) of Chatfield; Elizabeth Brinkman (David) of Yankton, SD; Robert (Diana) of Chatfield; Charles (Mona) of Eyota; Dean (Brenda O’Neil) of Chatfield; and Lisa Korsten (Gregory) of Zumbrota; 29 grandchildren; 63 great grandchildren; 14 great-great grandchildren; a brother Clifford (Margaret) of Lake City; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Ethel, daughter Loretta, grandsons Walter and Malcolm, great-grandson Jeremy, his parents, sister Ruby, and brother Carroll.

Marvin’s family wishes to acknowledge all the family and friends who often visited him. They would like to thank the Chosen Valley Care Center staff for taking such wonderful care of him over the past 8 years.

On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at 11:30 a.m., a processional from Riley's funeral home to the St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery will be led by his son Robert driving the 1962 Allis Chalmers which was the first tractor Marvin bought new. A committal service will be held at the cemetery following the processional. The family will be hosting a celebration of life at a later date.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marvin Elroy Rabe, please visit our floral store.


May 5, 2020

11:30 AM
St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery, Chatfield

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