Melbourne Edward Rabedeau Jr passed away peacefully on February 21, 2020 surrounded by family. The second of four children born to father Melbourne Sr and mother Mary Rose Mohr Rabedeau, Mel Jr was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on January 19, 1930. Mel’s youth included many hours at the Troop E, 105th Calvary Regiment stables where his father was an officer and Mel Jr made friends with a mare who liked the apples and carrots Mel shared. In October 1940 this Wisconsin National Guard unit was federalized and Mel Sr was transferred to Texas as part of a B24 squadron. Consequently, Mel Jr spent some of the war years in Texas before returning to Kenosha and finishing high school.
Upon graduation from high school, Mel attended University of Wisconsin - Madison where he studied physics, commanded the ROTC battalion, and learned to toboggan on lunch trays. After graduation Mel took a position at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY, but shortly thereafter the Korean War and call up into active duty intervened. After Signal Corps training at Fort Monmouth, NJ, Mel was sent to Korea where his unit maintained communications between the 2nd Infantry Division Headquarters and forward deployed units. After a year deployment Mel was returned to the states, mustered out of the army, and entered graduate school at University of Colorado – Boulder. There he met and, on June 9, 1954, married Veronica “Ronnie” Weitze of Hackensack, NJ. With a family on the way, Mel and Ronnie relocated back to Rochester where Mel resumed work at Eastman Kodak while attending University of Rochester and ultimately earning a Master’s Degree in optics. Their three children followed in quick succession.
In 1960 the family moved cross country to Saratoga, CA, where Mel joined the IBM San Jose development facility and worked until his retirement in 1991. At IBM Mel developed optics for business machine applications such as bar code scanners, laser printers, etc. Shortly after moving west Mel developed an affinity for outdoor activities such as white water rafting, skiing, and sailing that filled much of his leisure time throughout his active years. As retirement approached, Mel rekindled an earlier interest in photography and it became a consuming passion that expressed his creativity and technical background. Numerous photography trips and countless hours in a darkroom ensued. Both he and Ronnie showed in Saratoga’s Aegis Galley for many years. Eventually declining health limited such activity and Mel and Ronnie spent their final four plus years together as residents of the Regency (now Atria) of Evergreen Valley. In recent years as Ronnie’s Alzheimer’s advanced, Mel showed incredible patience towards her. She was the love of his life, and it showed even during the tougher days! They often could be seen walking hand in hand down the hallway.
Mel is survived by his wife of over 65 years, Ronnie, their three children, and four grandchildren: Jeanine, Louise and spouse Paul and 2 daughters Christina and Marissa, Thomas and spouse Jane and their children Jennifer and John.
We have all been blessed beyond measure to have Mel in our lives as a husband, Dad or Grandpa. We will forever hold the many special, fun and humorous memories of you close to our hearts! We love you and miss you so much!
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to https://www.alz.org
NOTE: Due to the Coronavirus, we have postponed the service and reception until probably summer, possibly July 18th. If you’d like to attend, please email us at Rabedeaufamily@gmail.com so we can update you on the date and location as it gets closer.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melbourne E Rabedeau, please visit our floral store.
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