Joseph A. Rabel, 69, of Shadyside, Pittsburgh died at home on Saturday April 24th. Joe was born on October 3, 1951 in Shadyside Hospital which he could see from his house. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Constance Grilliot and his son and daughter-in-law, Joseph and Emma Rabel of Westlake OH. He is also survived by his sister Jeanne Rabel (Terrence Heidenreiter) of Ellison Bay WI; brother Robert Rabel (Jackie DeCroo) of Lexington KY; sister-in-law Vivienne (Paul) Worthington of Gulf Hammock FL; brother-in-law Robert (Ann) Grilliot of Noblesville IN; nephews James Worthington of Port Richey FL, Jonathon (Christina) Worthington of New Port Richey FL, John Grilliot of Freeport IL; nieces Amanda Goodman (Michael) of Strasburg Germany, Julia Heidenreiter of Chicago IL, Kate Stewart of Freeport IL; great nephews Yanni Worthington and Christopher Worthington of New Port Ritchey FL, James Worthington of Port Richey FL, Julian Grilliot of Freeport IL, Jaxon Grilliot of Orangeville IL; and great niece Lexidy Stewart of Freeport IL. He is preceded in death by his mother Ann (Kristone) Rabel, father Joseph A. Rabel Sr, brother James Rabel all of Pittsburgh, nephew Chris Rabel of Lexington KY and sister-in-law, Christine Grilliot of Freeport IL.
Joe was a 1969 graduate of Central Catholic High School where he developed a fondness for long hair and hanging out on Walnut Street. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1971 and met his wife, Connie, when they were both stationed at K.I. Sawyer AFB in Marquette Michigan. After completing four years in the Air Force where he became proficient on the Avionics System of the F-106 Fighter Interceptor, he attended Northern Michigan University earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Radio and TV repair. His Air Force training inspired a life-long career in the growing field of micro-electronics. He earned a Bachelor of Science with High Honors in Electronics Engineering from Southern Illinois University in 1982. He returned to Pittsburgh and accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh’s Physics Department where he eventually became the Electronics Shop supervisor. In 2000 Joe joined Professor Bill Cleland's team working on the ATLAS particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. He designed and fabricated electronics that are still being used to trigger and capture data from ATLAS. The University's ATLAS efforts contributed to the discovery of the Higgs boson, for which Peter Higgs and François Englert were awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. Joe retired from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019.
Joe was an avid musician and guitar player from an early age with a special affection for Bob Dylan and early blues. While in college he built an early synthesizer which eventually led to a man-cave full of musical instruments and electronic recording equipment. He also enjoyed working with wood and installed hardwood floors throughout his Shadyside home.
Services will be held at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman Ohio in late August. Memorials or donations may be made to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank (pittsburghfoodbank.org) or the Gary Sinise Foundation (garysinisefoundation.org). Arrangements by John A. Freyvogel Sons, Inc. (freyvogelfuneralhome.com)