co-founder passes away unexpectedly

NAPOLEON, Ohio – Former president and CEO Paul Rabe passed away of a sudden heart failure on Sunday, according to a source close to the family.

Rabe, 56, had been with Inc. since its founding in 1999 and served as president and CEO beginning in 2002 until the company was acquired by Trader Publishing Co. in late September. In this role, Rabe developed many of the company’s key industry partnerships, built out the company’s management team and led it to profitability.

“Paul was a very creative guy who understood how marine businesses could effectively utilize the Internet to grow their business,” commented Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “He worked tirelessly to build into a valuable part of the boating industry and he succeeded where many dot-coms failed. He was a good partner and good to work with. His enthusiasm, optimism and friendship will be missed.”

Prior to joining, Rabe served as the executive vice president at Outboard Marine Corp. from 1996 to 1998, where he established profitable international supplier alliances and orchestrated global repositioning projects to support evolving product lines.

Rabe also served as vice president and general manager at Cummins Marine from 1993 to 1996, where he directed domestic and international operations for the diesel engine manufacturer. He held an MS in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Wayne State University.

A wake will be held for Rabe on Wednesday from 2 to 9 pm at the Rodenberger Funeral Home in Napoleon, Ohio. The funeral will follow on Thursday at 2 pm at the St. John Lutheran Church, also in Napoleon.

Memorial gifts may be made in Rabe’s name to the St. John Lutheran School, Freedom Township, 16-035 County Road U, Napoleon, OH 43545, or to the Bethel Lutheran Church Building Fund, 5110 Grand Ave., Gurnee, IL 60031.

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