Steven R. Rapalee
1954 – 2022
Steve Rapalee, age 67, formerly of Williamsburg, MA, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease in Plantation, Florida, on May 31, 2022. He was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Katherine and Robert Rapalee. After a number of moves, the family settled in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, when Steve was 10.
Steve – “Raps” to his friends – attended Williamsburg High School and Hampshire Regional High School. He was a star basketball player, graduating in 1973 with the school career record in both scoring and rebounding. He also was selected during his junior and senior years to the 1st Team All-Western Massachusetts basketball team.
Steve loved Aintree, his classic New England colonial home, with its maple trees, fields, woods, and wildlife – and especially its barn with loft, where he played hoops year-round. He would roam the woods with his beloved beagle dogs Lady and Lonnie – and in the fall he usually went to Vermont to hunt rabbits. He had several careers, including construction laborer, handyman, bartender, and optician with his own shop in Williamsburg.
In 2003, Steve went West and eventually settled in Big Fork, Montana. He also loved his adopted state and became a popular member of the local year-round community. As before, he had a variety of jobs.
In 2019, Steve became ill. He moved to Georgia for six months and then to Plantation, Florida, to be near his sister Amy Rapalee. Amy and brother Brian cared for him until his death. Special thanks to lifelong friends Chuck Kirby and Deac Tiley for their care of Steve.
Steve is survived by daughters Hannah Rothhaar (Sam) of Norwell, MA and Kayla Richards (Brian) of Kingston, MA; sisters Gloria Rapalee of North Duxbury, VT and Amy Rapalee (Tim Daggett) of Plantation, FL; brothers Brian Rapalee (Amy Stephson) of Seattle, WA and Bill Rapalee (Jeanne) of Remsen, NY. He is also survived by four grandchildren, two nieces, and a nephew.
Steve was a free spirit and an independent soul. He was energetic, charismatic, generous, and fun. He had a sharp intelligence and was direct and honest. He was also a dare-devil - with crazy stories to prove it. His family always said he had nine lives, and he lived them to the fullest. He died much too young and will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
A Celebration of Life for Steve will be held at 3pm on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at the Beaver Brook Golf Course clubhouse pavilion in Haydenville, MA. We invite you to come share your photos, memories, stories, and offer a toast to Steve.