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George Rebeck, beloved husband of Joan Rebeck, passed peacefully in his sleep Thursday morning, December 14. He was 94 years old. He is survived by his sister, Katharine Kuzma, his six children, Maria, Theresa, Matt, Bill, Martha and Annie, as well as his twelve grandchildren: Laura and Emily Blair, Cooper and Cleo Lynn, Katie and Liz Rebeck, Jackson Rebeck, Ellie, Matt and Lucy Farr, and Stella and Lena Angrist. He lived a long life, full of travel, good works and lots of golf.
Born in 1929 in St. Louis, MO, to Katie Melchioris and George Rebeck, George was the oldest of three. His younger brother Joseph was "Bud" and sister Katie was "Sis." When her husband George died suddenly, his mother moved the family back to Adena, Ohio, where her own mother and younger brother Johnny still lived.
Guiding him with consistent kindness, George's Uncle Johnny became a great influence on his life.
While they lived in extreme poverty, George was known for his big brain and crackerjack memory. One of the teachers at his school told him that he was smart enough to go to college, and this became the dream of his young life. It was so far outside the realm of possibility for a family so poor that his mother and his grandmother dismissed this aspiration, driving George's determination to prove them wrong. When he was 17 years old he enlisted in the Air Force and served in the occupation of Tokyo and later as a mechanic on the Berlin Airlift. After his service, he attended the University of Cincinnati on the GI Bill. He graduated in Metallurgical Engineering and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree.
While still in college, he met Joan Drach at a dance at St. Xavier Parish. She almost didn't go but her dear friend and fellow nursing student Nancy Savage finally said she'd go with her. George took Joanie home, because he had a car, but didn't call her right away. It took him all of three days.
George and Joan were married in 1955, and began their family shortly thereafter.
George began working as a factory foreman at Tool Steel Gear and Pinion in 1954. He continued his employment at Tool Steel/Xtec, rising in the ranks of management, until 1987, when he was forced into early retirement. While that transition was difficult for him, it opened up a whole world of travel for George and Joan. They went to China, Egypt, Europe and South America. They also spent six weeks driving and camping all the way to Alaska.
George spent many of his retirement years taking care of others. He was a particular support to Esther Raab, a frail neighbor who suffered from mental illness. The other neighbors who George and Joan helped and cared for are too numerous to mention. In support of Joan's work at the St. Joseph Parish school, George spent many afternoons painting the hallways and the library there. He also supported the Worker House, a half-way house for men transitioning from prison, by doing their books for them and sometimes counseling the men who came through the program.
Among his many noteworthy achievements, the most important to George was the fact that he sent all six of his children to college and paid for all of it so that no one suffered from student debt. No one has yet figured out how he did it. He helped many of his nephews and grandchildren with their college tuition as well. His dream of higher education remained the highest value to him.
Golf was a close second. He was a member of Belwood Country Club for many years, and he encouraged his children to take up the sport! Only a few of them were any good at it. George was also a well-known and loved fixture at the Montgomery YMCA for decades. He was very proud of the fact that his membership was one of the first issued by the new Y when it opened. His dedication to his physical stamina lasted until only a few months before he passed, when his increasing frailty took its toll.
We celebrate George for all the good he did, and the many lives he touched. The visitation will be at the Gilligan Funeral Home on Thursday, December 21, 8:30 to 9:30 AM , followed by the funeral mass at All Saints Church at 10:30. In lieu of flowers we encourage donations to St. Francis – St. Joseph Catholic Worker House, PO Box 14274, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0274