Melford Francis Rabalais, 88, of Baton Rouge

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Melford Francis Rabalais, 88, of Baton Rouge, LA passed away Monday, December 21, 2015. He was born on April 26, 1927 in Plaucheville, LA, the son of Samuel Luke Rabalais and Celeste Dufour Rabalais. Raised on a small rural farm, he was the first in his family to attend college. Mel graduated in 1949 from Louisiana State University with a degree in petroleum engineering. After serving his country in both World War II and the Korean War, Mel spent 30 years of his professional career at Dow Chemical Company. Family was always Mel's priority. He was devoted to his lifelong love, Betty Rabalais, for 62 years. Betty and Mel have been faithful members of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic parish, attending for more than 55 years. His Christian values, sincerity, integrity and unflawed heart were examples to everyone in his life. In his spare time he enjoyed being a spectator at his grandchildren's athletic events and activities. Sports were a passion of his and particularly watching the LSU athletic teams. After retiring, Mel and Betty followed the Tiger football team to most of their road games and in recent years, he never missed a game, cheering for them from the comfort of his home. Mel's commitment to a healthy lifestyle was an example to his family and friends. He enjoyed his daily regimen of running for more than 30 years.

Mel was preceded in death by his half-brother Luderus Rabalais, brother James Garvey Rabalais and sister Lita LaCour. He is survived by his loving wife Betty Rabalais, sister Frieda Pareti and his five children, Ann Cohen and husband Mark, Carol James and husband Ed, Scott Rabalais and wife Muriel, Susan Nelson and husband Doug, Paul Rabalais and wife Amy. Mel is also survived by thirteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild: Clay Cohen, Caroline Cohen Lahart, Pierce Cohen, Stuart Howard, Sam Howard, Ross Rabalais, Ryan Rabalais, Ben Nelson, Andrew Rabalais, Taylor Rabalais, Connor Rabalais, William Rabalais, Anna Claire Rabalais, and Hendricks Cohen.

Visitation will be at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church at 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 23, 2015 followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m.