Penn's Story

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Penn Vernon Rabb Jr. was born on Oct. 2, 1933, in Marlow, Oklahoma. He was actually born at Rabb Family Home, 602 West Main Street, to Penn Vernon Rabb and Myrtle Agnes (Careathers) Rabb. He became the second addition to the Rabb family, as he had an older sister, Janet Vernodene Rabb.
He attended the Marlow Public Schools, graduating from Marlow High School in 1952. He played football, basketball and baseball. He was an All-District football player during his senior year.
Penn enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in November of 1948, at the age of 15. The local unit in Marlow was the 45th Military Police Company, 45th Infantry Division. In January, 1949, the Marlow unit became the Company G, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. In August 1950, the Marlow unit, United States Army Company G, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, mobilized for the Korean War and were stationed, from September 1950 to March 1951, at Camp Polk, Louisiana. He served there as the assistant platoon sergeant of a rifle platoon, then as a squad leader of a 57 millimeter recoilless rifle squad with rank of Sergeant. He also attended 10th Division Leadership School, Fort Riley, Kansas, and served as a cadre man for basic trainees at Camp Polk. He received his Honorable Discharge, on May 22, 1951.
Penn returned to Marlow in the summer of 1951 to finish high school. He graduated with the MHS Class of 1952.
In the fall of 1952, Penn enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. He joined the OU freshman football team under Coach Bud Wilkinson, as a walk-on and later a member of the varsity team during the 1953 season. He also received academic honors as an underclassman in ROTC - the Best Drilled Freshman, Army ROTC and the Best Noncommissioned Officer, Army ROTC.
Other college activities at OU included being a member of the Delta Upsilon social fraternity, where he was the Scholarship Chairman and coached an intramural touch football team. He was also selected to play in the Bronze Shoe Football Classic.
Penn re-enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard - post-Korean War, while still in college. He joined Company G, 179th Infantry Regiment, in Marlow, November 1953. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Infantry, Dec. 29, 1954.
Penn graduated from OU in June of 1956, with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He returned to Marlow that summer to work with his father at First National Bank of Marlow.
He married Jean Hinson on June 24, 1956, in Prague, Oklahoma, at the First Methodist Church. They had two sons in their first five-plus years of marriage: Penn Vernon (Boots) Rabb III, born Nov. 5, 1957 at Talley-Walker Hospital, Marlow, and Craig Hinson Rabb, born July 7, 1961 at Talley-Walker Hospital, Marlow.
Penn worked by his father's side at First National Bank for almost eight years. He remained active in the military, and in local events. He was the Commander of the local American Legion post in Marlow, past President of the Lions Club, served as a member of the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department, became a member of the Marlow School board, and was on various committees at the First Methodist Church of Marlow. He did earn a unique honor by being named the first recipient of the Marlow Outstanding Citizen Award. He continued to excel in his military life and served as Troop Commander of Company G in Marlow.
In January of 1964, Penn moved his family to Palo Alto, California, where he continued a career in banking with the Bank of California in San Francisco. He maintained his military service by transferring to the United States Army Reserve U. S. Army Corps; Presidio of San Francisco.
Penn returned to Oklahoma in 1968, being employed by the Oklahoma Military Department in Ardmore, where he served as an S3 in 245th Transportation Battalion. He was elected to the Board of Directors of City National Bank in Lawton in late 1971 to succeed his father, P. V. Rabb, who passed away in September. In January 1976, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Fort Sill National Bank.
Rabb returned to banking in April 1976 as a vice president in the loan department of the Fort Sill National Bank. In 1978, he was named a vice president in the commercial loan department of City National Bank in Lawton. Rabb returned to the Fort Sill National Bank as acting president in mid-1982 and was subsequently named president. In 1987, he retired from banking. He continued to serve on the Board of Directors of both the Fort Sill National Bank and the City National Bank and continued to serve in those capacities, as the longest serving member of the Board of Directors. In 2010, he was honored for his 50 years of service to banking, by the Oklahoma Bankers Association.
Also, upon his move to Lawton, he transferred to the U. S. Army Reserve. He was assigned to the 4155th USAR School, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and taught the Command and General Staff Officer Course at the school's Fort Sill teaching station. Rabb was promoted to lieutenant colonel and later became the assistant commandant of the school until his retirement in 1982.
After retirement, he became active in the 179th Regiment organization, serving as editor of the newsletter, secretary and president. His interest in the regiment led to his writing the book, Tomahawk and Peace Pipe, a history of the regiment from World War II to the Korean War.
At the age of 78, he rode on the Cattle Drive of the Century during the New Mexico Centennial commemoration. He earned the respect of all involved in his ability to persevere during the 45-mile trek, as the oldest rider.
He was an avid skier, collector of Navajo weavings, fly fisherman, skeet shooter (earning a state championship in competition) and enjoyed Western movies and novels. He was avid fan of all Sooner sports, particularly OU football, women's basketball and softball. He also supported the Dallas Cowboys, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Texas Rangers professional sports teams.
Penn passed away on Nov. 25, 2016, which was also his father's birthday, with his entire family by his side. He leaves his wife of 60 years, Jean Hinson Rabb; sons, Penn Rabb III, of Lawton and Dr. Craig Rabb, of Oklahoma City; a daughter-in-law, Colleen Rabb of Oklahoma City, and two grandchildren, Taylor Lauren Rabb and Evan Michael Alexander Rabb, both of Norman. Of all his many passions in his life, his grandchildren were especially important to him.
Funeral services are at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the chapel of the Callaway-Smith-Cobb Funeral Home, 415. W. Main Street, Marlow.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the First Methodist Church, Marlow, or the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Published on November 28, 2016
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