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William "Bill" Rabel '63 November 18, 2022 10:24 AM updated: November 18, 2022 10:37 AM

Dr. William H. Rabel
May 28, 1941 – July 15, 2022

Dr. William H. Rabel, 81, passed away July 15, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, AL. A memorial
service will be held 11AM CT, Saturday, July 30, 2022, at Christ Episcopal Church, Tuscaloosa.

The world needs great men, and today we lost one of the greatest. This young man from south Texas took the world by storm. Determined to make a name for himself, but more so to make the world a better place. The embodiment of a boy scout with an underlying attitude. He was always good for wit and wisdom in any situation. He was dearly loved by so many. But no more so than by his family. 

Born May 28, 1941, in Harlingen, TX, Bill was an Eagle Scout, who earned a BBA, Texas A&M University, and M.A. and Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Bill served from 2006-2021 as the Bickley Endowed Teaching Professor of Insurance & Financial Services at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration. He was the first to hold the position and at the end of his first year, the Alabama Finance Association selected him for their Outstanding Faculty Award. Two years later, he was one of four to receive the UA National Alumni Association’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award—UA’s “highest honor for excellence in teaching.”

Previously, Bill was Senior Vice President, Education & Training, at LOMA (Life Office Management Association) in Atlanta, where he developed the world’s largest university level professional education program in financial services. Bill was previously Dean of The American College’s Huebner School of CLU Studies, Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s College of Business, and Economic Affairs Officer for the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also Fellow Professor, Peking and Renmin (People’s) Universities in Beijing, China, and Adjunct Professor of Insurance at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

During his 15 years at UA, he served as Faculty Liaison for both the Alabama Insurance Planning Commission and Alabama Actuarial Council, Advisor for Alabama Insurance Society, on the Faculty Senate, and worked with International Business Advisory Board, Alabama Insurance Day, International Committee, and Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research. He authored the proposal establishing the endowed Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Ltd. Teaching Chair in Actuarial Science.

Bill served on the Board of Directors, chaired committees, and lead numerous professional organizations, including Asia-Pacific Risk & Insurance Association (president) and American Risk and Insurance Association (president). He produced over a hundred text, publication, video, and research articles and organized conference presentations around the world. His contributions were recognized with the Kyobo Life Contribution Award.

During his 29 years in Atlanta, he was active with Peachtree Atlanta Kiwanis Club, serving as Vice President and President-Elect and on the Board of Directors; receiving the President’s Cup in 2004. He also served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Joel Chandler Harris Association. (Bill shared a talent for storytelling with the well-known author.) He was also a leader with Boy Scouts of America. In Tuscaloosa, he made time for various roles and projects at Christ Episcopal Church.

His love of family led to many activities and adventures, which he also shared with friends who quickly became “family” with many dinners and celebrations at the Rabel’s. Most of all, Bill loved his family, supporting and nurturing each in their lives.

Because of his thirst for knowledge and demand for him as a speaker, Bill traveled the world. Some of his favorite destinations included China, Japan, Kuwait and Great Britain where he made lifelong friends. While he travelled, he never forgot his roots. Keeping connected to friends in South Texas, attending reunions for high school and college, and writing history pieces for The RGV newsletter recounting tales of growing up in Harlingen in the Rio Grande Valley.

Bill was preceded in death by a daughter, Danielle Rabel; his parents, A.B. and Jane Rabel; brother, A.B. Rabel, Jr.; grandson, Joe Rabel; and beloved rescue Border Collie, Bonnie.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Judith Vananzi Rabel, Tuscaloosa; daughter, Nicole Rabel (David Ferguson), Clayton, GA; son, William Huitt Rabel, Jr. (Katie), his grandchildren, Maggie, John Henry, and James Rabel, Canton, GA.; sister, Sugar Rabel (Rocco DeBona), Grand Junction, CO; and his rescue Border Collie, Skye.

He may be remembered with a donation to:

Christ Episcopal Church, 605 Lurleen B Wallace Blvd N, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 or

Historic Tuscaloosa, PO Box 1665, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403

Christ Episcopal Church: HOME | Christ Church 1828;  Giving | Christ Church 2021 ( 

Historic Tuscaloosa:  HOME |;  Donation Form ( 

Sunset Brown-Service Funeral Home, a Dignity Memorial Provider, is honored to serve the Rabel family during their time of bereavement. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at 


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