Paul Wayne Rabey, 56, Vietnam War veteran, artist

July 21, 2006

Paul Wayne Rabey, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, died in his sleep July 12 at his home in Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood. He was 56 and under treatment for high blood pressure.

Mr. Rabey was born in Baltimore and raised on Ravenwood Avenue. He attended City College until enlisting in the Army in 1967.

Trained at Fort Bragg, N.C., as a Green Beret, Mr. Rabey completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he was wounded and earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

He served with the 25th Infantry Division as a tunnel rat, one of the soldiers sent into the extensive underground Viet Cong tunnel system to kill the enemy and destroy the routes.

"He didn't talk much about Vietnam to his family, only to other Vietnam veterans," said his sister, M. Nila Cusimano of Baltimore.

"I do know that he carried a wounded buddy for a mile before he died, and this was a very bad memory for him," she said. "He received the Bronze Star for valor for his work as a tunnel rat."

While in the Army, Mr. Rabey earned his General Educational Development diploma and attained the rank of specialist. He was discharged in 1973.

"Wayne was a sweet guy and didn't have a mean bone in his body. He'd put on his uniform and go to Washington and visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and talk with his buddies," his sister said.

After leaving the Army, Mr. Rabey worked at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn and, in recent years, as a warehouseman.

An accomplished artist, he liked drawing, especially cartoons, his family said. He also enjoyed building model automobiles.

There was no funeral service, and he was buried at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, Mrs. Cusimano said.

Also surviving are a daughter, Keersa Rabey of Venice, Fla.; a granddaughter; and aunts and uncles. His marriage to Lynne Nuckolls ended in divorce.

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