Fred Rabil (Dec. 25, 1917-March 20, 2015)

Published 12:09 pm Saturday, March 21, 2015

FRANKLIN—His name was Fred. No middle name…just Fred. Like his name, Fred Rabil was a simple man whose greatest pleasure was being around people. “Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man” are words from his favorite poem and words that he lived by. The house he lived in and where he greeted friends for 70 of his 97 years was his restaurant in downtown Franklin, Virginia, known far and wide as Fred’s. Born on Christmas Day, 1917, of parents who emigrated from Lebanon to the United States at the turn of the century, Fred was the eldest son of nine children. When he was 14 years old and during the height of the depression, Fred hit the road as a hobo traveling the rails across the United States looking for work. After WWII, he settled in Franklin, Virginia, where his uncle owned a bakery and gave him a job.

Fred Rabil

Fred Rabil

As a charter member of the Franklin Kiwanis, Fred had a passion for baseball and helped to sponsor many baseball teams for youth in the City of Franklin. As owner of Fred’s restaurant, his generosity and caring spirit nourished not only bodies, but souls, with his support of a multitude of charitable activities. Fred was a member of St. Jude Catholic Church.

During his lifetime, Fred proudly visited all 50 of these United States of America. He also enjoyed reciting all the states and capitals to anyone who would challenge him, especially his grandchildren.

Fred was predeceased by his wife and mother of his three sons, Pauline Vaughan Rabil, and by a brother, Joe, and a sister, Lucille. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Joyce, and three sons and daughters-in-law, Frank (Lynne), John (Beverly), and David (Patti/Patricia), all of Franklin; his grandchildren, John (Christy) Rabil, Marshall Rabil, Vaughan (Jim) Keeney, Susan (Matt) Longley, David Rabil (fiancée Caitlin Friel), and Jessica Rabil, and two great-granddaughters, Hunter and Hannah Longley. He is also survived by his brothers, Mitchell, William, Ernie and Leo; and sisters, Marguerite and Helen and their families.

Fred died on the first day of spring March 20, 2015, surrounded by his family. A visitation will be held Monday, March 23, 2015, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Wright Funeral Home. A graveside funeral will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2015, at Southampton Memorial Park with Fr. Charles Saglio officiating.

There will be a reception at Fred’s restaurant following the service. The family suggests in lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Franklin Rescue Squad or the St. Jude Catholic Church Building Fund.