Ronald James Rebal of LeClaire, Iowa, died on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf. Ron had dealt with numerous diabetic-related health issues for many years. He found ways to circumvent these challenges which served to help him become the respected and much loved man he became.
Ron was born on May 29, 1942, in Iowa City, Iowa, to George and Leona (Reinking) Rebal. He developed a strong work ethic at a young age delivering food from his parents’ business, Rebal’s Grocery Store, in Iowa City. He graduated from City High School, Iowa City, in 1961. His classmates remained cherished friends throughout his life. After finishing school, he left for a six-year stint in the Army Reserves. Though never deployed into active duty, he was ready to serve in Vietnam or anywhere which was “a given” in the weekend warrior branch.
Ron attended Missouri State University from ’63 to ’66. He married Jean Hudson in ’67 and later married Patricia Baxter on May 20, 1989, following a seventeen year courtship. His employment history included over fifteen years as an inventory analyst at J.I. Case, Rock Island; a year at Farmall Credit Union, Rock Island; and ten years in various industrial jobs at Sears Manufacturing, Davenport.
Ron was an avid Hawkeye and golf fan. He was known as a meticulous lawn care specialist and flower gardener. He worked hard to forget the summer he mis-applied Round-Up in his quest to produce a dandelion-free yard, which gave a “measles” effect to his home. Ron played football in high school and baseball in college. He loved all spectator sports, but nothing more than playing indoor fetch with Barney, the dachshund. Besides attending two Rose Bowl games, his peak experience in sports was a trip to California when much of the Southern half was on fire. He and a favorite uncle were able to get same-day reservations at Torrey Pines.
In years past, Ron volunteered and worked with students in Junior Achievement. He was a very popular advisor to them. He also served for many years as secretary for his golf league. He never turned down a request for someone who needed help. Ron and Pat contributed untold hours of service to various political campaigns. His high point was a whirlwind day with Hillary Clinton when he was a part of a motorcade, which stopped at five venues over many miles in his car driven by Secret Service, at 85 mph. This became the often-told story. He was humbled by Hillary’s recognition and gratitude for Ron’s service from her podium. This was captured by C-Span, and qualifies as Ron’s fifteen minutes of fame.
For over thirty years, Ron and Pat were included in the Heinrichson/Mittman Family Thanksgiving, which was extremely important to Ron. They watched succeeding generations appear, as older generations departed. Most recently, this celebration included 58 people from as far away as the Antarctic. People from coast to coast and foreign countries often popped in to join this uniquely American ritual. Ron and Pat were made to feel like kinfolk. But most important was their deep and abiding love for each other, as well as for nature, animals, children, flowers, clouds, trees, and sunsets.
His life was enriched by special life-long friends, Tom and Florence White of Geneseo, Alice Janssen of Rock Island, and Dick Glover, a golf buddy. His life was blessed by five nieces, Emily R. Provenzal of Waukee, Iowa, Sara Rebal of New York City, Jane Bayse of Trussville, Alabama, Lynn Maxey of Greeley, Colorado, and Pat Trettel of Trussville, Alabama. Beloved and scattered grand and grand-grand nephews and nieces are Stephanie, Emilie, Caleb, John, Hunter, Kinley, Hannah, Sarah, Adam, Beckett, Dottie Ann, Dahlia, Josh, Ben, Isaac, Noah, and Maxwell. Ron was preceded in death by Kent Robertson, his dearest friend, and Rachel Manzano, grand-grand-niece.
Ron is survived by his wife, Pat Baxter; brother, Allen Rebal; sister-in-law, Kathy Rebal; brother-in-law, Kent Baxter, and Caren Grady; and brother-in-law, Marvin Goad of Columbiana, Alabama.
Ron was a devoted member of Edwards Congregational United Church of Christ for over twelve years. Edwards’ caregivers provided many, many hours of visitation to Ron and food donations, support, friendships, transportation, fellowship, and laughter over the past several years. They were truly sent from God. Ron was honored to serve on Edwards’ Board of Trustees. He was also a charter member of The Men’s Auxiliary of the Bridge Club, for nearly thirty years. Its’ purpose is to meet monthly, eat, laugh, develop amazing friendships and play the dumbest card game ever conceived, “Wizard”.
A memorial service at Edwards, followed by a luncheon at Baxter Hall will be held on Thursday, November 8, at 10:30 a.m. Very special thanks to the medical staff who gave their all to extend Ron’s life: Dr. Jon Robken, Dr. Kathleen Keyes, Miller-Meier Prosthetics, Amanda, Thomas, Rebecca, Christa, Charity, and Dr. Ed Motto. Also, the nursing and care staff at Genesis Medical Center could not have given Ron more love and excellent care over many years. Memorials will be greatly appreciated and may be contributed, in lieu of flowers, to Edwards Church. Cremation took place at Trimble Crematory, Moline, under the direction of Cremation Society of the Quad Cities.