Mitchell F. Rabil, Sr.

Published 9:38 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

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FRANKLIN – Mitchell Frank Rabil Sr., 104, passed away Nov. 8, 2023. Born and raised in Weldon, North Carolina, he was a son of the late Frank Assad Rabil and Mary Hawa Rabil and the third of nine siblings. His father passed away when Mitch was 17 years old during the Depression and Mitch supported the family. He was also predeceased by the love of his life, Helen Kannan Rabil; a sister, Lucille George and five brothers, Fred, Joseph, Dr. William E., Ernie and Leo Rabil.

Mitchell F. Rabil Sr.

In 1940, Mitch moved to Franklin to work for his uncle John Hawa and in 1942 he was drafted for service in World War II. He served in the Asiatic-Pacific theatre on the Island of Saipan with the Army Air Force Bomber Squadron. It was during this time that he was awarded the Bronze Star.

He was discharged in 1945 and returned to Franklin and in 1952 he married Helen Kannan, formerly of Goldsboro, North Carolina. He was an original parishioner of St. Jude Catholic Church and was a man of deep faith. Mitch was a member of Franklin American Legion Post 73 and a self-made businessman.

In 1963, he bought the Dairy Queen on South Street in Franklin and later expanded the business to include several Dairy Queens throughout the Tidewater area. He employed many young people at his stores and instilled what a good work ethic meant and how to treat people.

Left to cherish his memory is his daughter, Mary Kaye “MK” Copley (Dave); a son, Mitchell F. “Mickey” Rabil, Jr. (Barbara); two sisters, Marguerite Kannan and Helen Williams; four grandchildren, Megan R. Stevens (Jordan), J. Tyler Copley, Greg Rabil and Ron Rabil (Lauren); four great-grandchildren, Mira Stevens, Kieran Stevens, Charlotte Rabil and Lilly Rabil; many nieces and nephews and his dear friends, Mitch Sandlin and Bob Turner.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in St. Jude Catholic Church with Father Emmanuel Mensah officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in Poplar Spring Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5:30 – 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13 in the funeral home where prayers will be offered at 6:30 p.m. The family suggests that memorial donations be made to Tunnel to Towers ( or St. Jude Catholic Church.

The family of Mitchell Rabil would like to thank the staff of caregivers for their loving care and attention to Dad: Pam, Jenny, Towana, Patty and Cynthia.