AMerican Veteran 11

George J. Rabstejnek, Jr.

June 14, 1932 ~ October 13, 2021 (age 89)

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Obituary

George John Rabstejnek, Jr., a gentleman who preferred dressing for dinner and whose counsel was trusted by his nation and his neighbors, died on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 having just turned 89 this past summer. George passed away as he had planned at his home in Cohasset with his family by his side and a view of the water that he had so enjoyed for 45 years. 

 

Born to Rose and George Rabstejnek, Sr. on June 14, 1932, George was the second of three siblings in a close-knit loving family of Czech descent. George’s ambitions went well beyond the bustling neighborhood of Woodside, Queens, New York.  His academic drive was such that he graduated from high school a year early at age sixteen. He was awarded an NROTC scholarship and attended The Georgia Institute of Technology. Upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1955. George’s military career as a naval aviator included being a test pilot and patrolling the Atlantic from Canada to the Caribbean to monitor Soviet activity during the Cold War. His service continued long after his active duty ended, and he retired from the Naval Reserve in 1975 having achieved the rank of Commander. Involvement in United States Naval War College remained a passion throughout his life, as did flying.

 

After earning a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech in 1954, George further honed his innate skills and those he learned in the Navy by joining IBM at a time when it began to transform American business. Though his career prospects were bright, he left IBM and joined Harbridge House in Boston in 1965. Harbridge House was a boutique management consulting firm that advised corporations, institutions and the United States Government; George came on board as the industry expanded. He was instrumental in growing the business internationally and became a frequent flyer on the Concorde. During his tenure at Harbridge House, George completed the Advanced Management program at Harvard Business School. He eventually served as Chairman and CEO of Harbridge House and helped steer its acquisition by Coopers and Lybrand in 1993. At this point George retired from professional life and made the commitment to dedicate half his life to pro bono public service and half to “interesting ventures.” He lived by the words of Horace Mann, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

 

George’s consulting continued as he was invited to serve on numerous boards and committees. One of his proudest achievements was during his tenure as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Massachusetts Eye and Ear where he was instrumental in securing a grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to MIT for a joint program with Mass Eye and Ear and the Draper Laboratories, establishing a center aimed at restoring function to deaf, blind, mute and balance-impaired people. He was passionate about promoting research and led several successful fundraising campaigns. He was an executive advisor on the Visionary Council of Collaborative Initiatives at MIT and a board member at the Boston University Photonics Center. George also chaired the advisory board for his alma mater - Georgia Tech. His many diverse interests led him to become the first CEO of Bluelight, Inc., a gallium nitride research company. On a different tack, George was also pro bono chairman of the Center for Technology Commercialization, a company specializing in the coordinating of 911 systems in Massachusetts. As a member of the Boston College Chief Executives Club, he thoroughly enjoyed attending luncheons with his fellow members from Cohasset. George was also proud to be an honorary member of the Society of the Cincinnati.

 

Lest one think of George as all work, he was an avid sailor, golfer and Sunday morning tennis matches on his clay court became a sought-after invitation among his friends on the South Shore. George enjoyed the camaraderie and intellectual stimulation from lively conversations with his accomplished and philanthropic peers as a member and two-term president of the Cohasset Old Goats Club. At the age of 60 he began taking piano lessons, proving to himself and others that at a late age one could succeed in learning a new skill.  His perfection of the vodka martini was a lasting contribution not to be overlooked. George was a fun-loving uncle to his nieces and nephews; he was a larger than life character who inspired the younger generations to be their best selves. He often expressed his love to family through poetry, delighting all with his quick wit and uplifting words.

 

George was a devoted husband for 57 years to his wife, Patsy (Kidd), and a loving father to his daughter, Marley (Richard Austin), and is survived by his sister Nancy Rabstejnek Nichols (Randy Deutch), as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Evelyn Roquemore.

 

The family will hold a small private graveside service on November 6th. For more information and to contact the family, please email marleyrab@gmail.com

 

In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in George’s memory to either of the following:

NVNA and Hospice, 120 Longwater Drive, Norwell, MA. 02061. Online donations will be accepted at NVNA.org.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear in support of Research in Age-related Macular Degeneration led by Dr. Demetrios Vavvas. Gifts can be made online at hhtps://www.masseyeandear.org/makeagift or mailed to the Mass Eye and Ear, c/o Development Office, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114. Please make checks payable to Massachusetts Eye and Ear and include George Rabstejnek on the memo line.


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