Merlin Raymond Rabe, 90, father of Vandalia man

Merlin Raymond Rabe, 90, of Ida Grove, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center of Sioux City, Iowa.

A Funeral Service will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, June 28, 2021, at the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Ida Grove, Iowa. Rev. Richard A. Salcido will officiate. Committal Services will follow in the Ida Grove Cemetery of Ida Grove, Iowa, with a flag presentation by the McNamara-Moore Post No. 61 of the Ida Grove American Legion. A Visitation will be held one-hour prior to the service from 10 to 11 a.m., on Monday, June 28, at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Ida Grove, Iowa.

The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Ida Grove, Iowa, is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at


Merlin Raymond Rabe, the eldest of three children, was born on May 7, 1931, to Ben and Florence (Ernst) Rabe at home on the family farm southwest of Ida Grove, IA. He attended the Grant Center Country School through the eighth grade and then went on to graduate from Ida Grove High School in 1949. Merlin entered the U.S. Air Force in 1950 serving his tour of duty in England as an aircraft radio technician.


On August 4, 1952, Merlin married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Wood, while stationed in Bovingdon, England. While living in England, they welcomed the birth of their first child, daughter Debra. The family returned home to Ida County and settled on the family farm in 1954 where he farmed with his father. Cattle, hogs, milk cows, and laying hens were all a part of his farming operation along with growing crops. A son, Corey, was born in 1956. Merlin loved farm life and could see God’s hand in nature. He loved to sit outside in his lawn chair, with a cup of coffee in nice weather to enjoy God’s creation. He farmed until his retirement in 1996. Merlin continued to live on the farm which he was born on until his death. He was a wonderful son, devoted husband, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.


Merlin was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Grant Township until it closed after a tornado destroyed it in 1969. The family then became members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ida Grove. He held many church offices over the years, taught Sunday School, and a young adult Bible class. For a number of years, he also volunteered on the Ida Grove Ambulance crew. Merlin enjoyed woodworking and made many items for his children, grandchildren, and friends. Merlin and Shirley also enjoyed wintering in South Texas – traveling with their fifth wheel travel trailer.


Survivors include his daughter Debra (Ron) Parker of Holstein, IA and his son Corey (Emma Sue) Rabe of Vandalia; grandsons Bryce (Natalie) Parker of Kaiserslautern, Germany, Mitchell (Megan) Rabe of Evansville, IN, Aaron (Bethany) Parker of Nashville, TN, Blake Rabe of St. Louis, MO and Adam (Alissa) Parker of Iowa City, IA; great-grandchildren Xristianos and Elektra Parker of Germany, Warren Rabe and Cayden Shelton of Evansville, IN; sister Lois Gilchrist of Waukee, IA; brother Richard Rabe of North Fork, ID; and brother-in-law Francis (Cheryl) Wood of Arizona; numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.


He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Shirley; sisters-in-law Charlotte (Arnold) Putensen, Delores (George) Vickery, Donna (Thomas) Schmidt, Dolores (Eugene) Wood, Charlotte (Everett) Wood and Donna Rabe, and brother-in-law Bill Gilchrist.