“I LIKE MEETINGS”, I remember her declaring some years ago. And she not only liked meetings, if at all possible she liked being the president at those meetings! After all, having spent her whole life being severely hearing impaired and therefore an excellent lip-reader, from the front table she was facing the others in the room, and most importantly, she controlled the gavel which she could bang to enforce the one speaker at a time rule!
So many stories. From playing the glockenspiel in her high school marching band in Sylvania, Ohio, to her dune buggy accident at the Oregon coast when she was 76 years old! From her father’s homemade camper (this is the 1930’s!) to take the family on a summer-long camping trip to see the great National Parks, to having HER baseball team - the Chicago Cubs - win the World Series on her 92nd birthday!
Wherever she lived, she was always involved neck deep in her local community, and made lifelong friends there. Born in Ohio, she moved with her husband Alexander Rabchuk to Salt Lake City, Utah for Al’s military training near the end of WWII. They later lived in Detroit, where dad worked for many years as a chemist, and she began her long series of PTA presidencies, and church groups. Later moving to the Arlington Heights, Ill. where her kids all graduated high school, and then on to St. Louis, Mo. In active retirement they spent a year roving in a modern RV, seeing the sights and visiting kids and grandkids. Finally settling in Medford, Ore., where dad died in 1988. From there mom moved to Eugene, Ore. where she became very active in the League of Women Voters, serving as their local president for a while, and attending several national conferences. She took an active role in helping to develop their program to encourage more schools to create deeper “civic education and responsibility”… focusing on understanding the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights. (One of my regrets is that she was unable to witness the Hamilton musical in recent years. She would have LOVED it! She was a great reader of the Federalist Papers.)
After the dune-buggy accident, she decided she needed to live closer to her kids scattered across the country. She came first to Omak near her daughter, Mary, and immediately got involved with the League here, as well as the Kiwanis, and AAUW. Even running for City Council member, serving on the PAC board, and self-publishing a small book on the Bill of Rights called “We the People”.
From Omak, she next moved to live in Portland, Ore. to live with her son, Al Jr., where she was able to be one of the first recipients of a newly developed hearing aid implant. There she got involved in the local senior center, where she would of course participate not only in cut-throat bridge games, but in all the local and national politics. Eventually she moved to an assisted living situation in MaComb, Ill. near her youngest son, Jim, and close to eldest son, John, who lives in St Charles, Ill. Again, making dear friends, and getting to know the youngest grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Making one more move to Moline, Ill. for her last and quieter years. Still keeping up with politics, proudly becoming a member of President Obama’s Honorary Kitchen Cabinet.
She died shortly after her 94th birthday. Visited by each of her children in her slow fading away.
She is much loved and will be missed greatly.
She is survived by her four children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.