August 04, 2021

Michael Rabasca

Mendham, NJ.    Mr. Michael Rabasca, 92, died peacefully on March 4, 2021 at his home. He was born in Bloomfield and grew up in Montclair. He served in the US Navy following WW II on the USS Glennon (DD-620) and the USS Robinson (DD-562) and then served in the US Naval Reserves. He earned his BA from Panzer College, now part of Montclair State University, and later earned his Master’s Degree in Education from NYU.

Michael began his teaching career at Hilltop School in Mendham, teaching math and physical education. He then became the principal of Ridgedale Middle School in Florham Park in July 1960, and retired from the Florham Park School District after 30 years in June 1990.

Michael was an active and passionate member of the Madison Rotary Club.  Madison Rotary wrote, “Rotary has lost a legend with the passing of Mike.  He was a Rotarian for 56 years and provided leadership to numerous programs that have positively affected the lives of thousands and thousands of people.” He served as President of the Madison Rotary Club from 1971-72 and District 7470 Governor from 2004-2005. He became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1978 and is now PHF+9.  He is a Rotary Foundation Benefactor and became a Major Donor in 2012.  He and his wife (PHF+2) were recently awarded the first Mike and Claire Rabasca Award by the Madison Rotary Club in recognition of their exemplary and sustained service to Rotary, both locally and globally. This award will be presented annually in their honor to a deserving Rotarian.   At one time Mike served on 17 Rotary committees simultaneously including End Polio Now, Youth Exchange Program, and Rotoplast. He and Claire traveled the world extensively through Rotary and served on the Board for the Gift of Life International. This foundation raises funds for life saving cardiac treatment for children in need from developing countries.  For years he worked tirelessly at Easter Seals Camp Merry Heart, an accessible camp for children and adults with disabilities and special needs in Hackettstown New Jersey.  Mike was one of the founding members of the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) and one of their leading educators.  This organization seeks to provide global quality education in Rotary knowledge and leadership skills to Rotarians interested in developing their Rotary participation.  Mike taught in over 20 countries, and worked with other leaders in at least 124 countries over time.

Michael is survived by his wife Claire (Flannery) Rabasca of 67 years, his brother Victor (Renata Piercy) and by his 6 children; Phyllis Cannon, Beverly Luber, (Mark Luber), Ellen (Bruce) Hays, Thomas McFeeley, Nancy Bergamasco, Joanne (Timothy) O’Neill; 14 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren and 3 nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents, Rosolina (Stefanelli) and Victor Rabasca, his sister, Muriel, her husband Frank Parenti, his son-in laws, John C. Cannon, Jr. and Michael T. Bergamasco.

Friends may visit at the Davis & Hepplewhite Funeral Home, 96 Main Street, Succasunna, NJ 973-584-7264 ( on Friday, August 6th, from 6 – 8 pm, and on Saturday from 1 – 5 pm. A Memorial Service will be held at 3 pm, at the Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested “In memory of Michael Rabasca” online to The Rotary Foundation, (Rotary International) at or by check to Madison Rotary Foundation, PO Box 211, Madison, New Jersey 07940.


Copyright © 2024 - Davis & Hepplewhite Funeral Home