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MISSOULA - Marilyn Jean Rabe, 86, of Missoula, passed away Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005, at Community Medical Center of a head injury sustained by a fall on an icy sidewalk.

She was born July 23, 1919, in Valparaiso, Ind., to James and Marie Newman. The early death of her mother and the desertion of her father left Marilyn and her two brothers orphaned. Marilyn and her brothers, James and Robert were subsequently divided up and raised separately by aunts and uncles in the Chicago and northern Indiana area. She was raised by her Aunt Maetha and spent most of her formative years in Chicago.

She was very fond of music and singing, and spent many of her Saturdays at the WLS Radio station where she was able to share her interest and met many early radio personalities.

Marilyn became very active with a group of other youngsters, forming lifelong relationships and activities that centered around the North Austin Lutheran Church of Chicago. It was here she met Herbert Henry Rabe, and they were married at this same church on June 13, 1942.

She was preceded in death by her husband; both of her brothers, James and Robert; and two grandchildren, Zachery and Dora Rabe.

Both Marilyn and Herbert Rabe were orphaned early in life and grew up during the time of the Depression and World War II. Throughout, they were able to develop and pass on a strong sense of family, a wonderful sense of humor and a commitment to helping those whose lives were less fortunate.

After her husband passed away, Marilyn moved to Missoula in 1972 to be closer to her children. The 100-year-old Queen Anne-style house she purchased soon became a safe haven for family members and the many students to whom she rented rooms. Her kindness and generosity affected many of the lives around her, and her death will cause many besides family to miss her.

Survivors include a son, Robert Rabe of Missoula; daughter Ginger Hamilton of Lolo; daughter Susan Lukes (John) of West Richland, Wash.; three grandchildren, Heather Skillicorn, Justin Sell and Schandor Rabe-Wolf; and three great-grandchildren, Brianna Skillicorn, Autumn Gough and Melissa Cote.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, at Livingston-Malletta & Geraghty Funeral Home, 224 W. Spruce St. Visitation will be from noon-2 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will follow services at Sunset Memorial Cemetery on Mullan Road.

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