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John Rathbun Obituary

John C. Rathbun
John C. Rathbun

December 1, 1923 - May 9, 2020
Born in Stanley, County, South Dakota
Resided in Salinas, California
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John C. Rathbun, 96, passed away Saturday, May 9, 2020 in Belton, Texas and he was born December 1, 1923 in Stanley County, South Dakota to Curtis Clifford Rathbun and Helen Elizabeth Schroder. Clifford as he was called by his family was the second child out of seven. As a young man Clifford lived on a ranch and was very good around horses. Due, to this fact his father put him in charge of breaking the horses. When the family left the ranch and moved to town, Clifford worked different jobs in Pierre during high school and helped his father with construction. When not working his best friend Lonnie and he would love to try and driving the car through potholes and puddles. They weren’t always successful. Clifford also thought it would be cute to ride his Indian Motorcycle across the Missouri River. Did not work, there is one at the bottom of the river.

Clifford was drafted during World War 2 and served under General Patton. He was with Patton from Africa into Italy. Clifford was also at Normandie but not during the first invasion. While in the Army he became known by his given name of John. John left the Army after the war had ended and returned home to South Dakota. A few months later he reenlisted and in total served for 23 years and 9 months. He retired in 1964 at Ft. Ord California. John received several medals. He has two bronze stars, one for valor.

Just before John retired from the Army, he was taking accounting classes at Hartnell College when a Real Estate Broker by the name of Pat Mack talked him into becoming a Realtor. After being an agent for a year and half he took the Brokers exam and opened Rathbun Realty which later became Rathbun and Magnuson Realty and then back to Rathbun Realty. Then in the 80’s he retired from Real Estate until his wife suggested he didn’t get a part-time job of some kind or she was going to work. So, John became the acting broker for AAA Real Estate-Century 21. After that Cornerstone Realty.

In 1990 John’s wife Liliana became ill and he retired again. John and Liliana were married for 50 ½ years when she passed on June 24, 2000. John enjoyed traveling, fishing, hunting, cribbage, poker, and casinos. He was part of a hunting club in Soledad. John was a member of the Knights of Columbus where he was a Grand Knight for the Council at Sacred Heart Church in Salinas.

One of John’s dreams was to build and office complex which he did with 9 other men and they built Capital Mall on Capital St. in Salinas.

John was preceded in death by his parents Curtis and Helen Rathbun of Pierre, South Dakota, his wife Liliana who passed way in Salinas but was from Trieste Italy, his son-in-law James Ambrosini of Salinas his brother Fred of Joliette, Il, and brother, Donald Rathbun of Mesa, Arizonia sister Virginia Miller, Yankton, South Dakota, his brother Curtis (Clay), Arkansas, two brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law and several nieces and nephews.

He is survived by his Daughter Denise G. Ambrosini, Temple, TX, Son Dario Fabiani and daughter in law, Regena Fabiani Monterey, CA, Sister Florence Bruce, Pierre, South Dakota, Sister Dorothy Mueller, Pierre, South Dakota, 6 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

John left Salinas in March 2019 and was in a care facility in Belton, TX near his daughter Denise until his death.

Due to the Covid-19 there will only be services held at the graveside. Social distancing must be enforced.

In leu of flowers please consider a donation to one of the following: Disabled American Veterans Boys Town, Boys Town, Omaha, Nebraska St. Joseph’s Indian School, Chamberland South Dakota Knights of Columbus Council 5140, Madonna Del Sasso Catholic Church, Salinas, CA




Funeral Home
Struve and Laporte Funeral Home
41 West San Luis Street
Salinas, CA US 93901


Disabled American Veterans
220 Imjin Pkwy
Marina, California 93933
Boys Town, Boys Town
5076 Ames Avenue
Omaha, Nebraska 68104
St. Joseph's Indian School
P.O. Box 326
Chamberlain, SD US 57326
Knights of Columbus Council 5140
320 E. Laurel Drive
Salinas, California 93906