Generations of Service

Caroline F. Rabenhorst
Caroline Föcken Rabenhorst, shown here much later in life, met an adventurous young Prussian named Charles Ferdinand Rabenhorst in the 1850's. Like Charles, Caroline had left her native land for the promise of a better life in a new country. They didn't know that the United States would soon be torn apart by a civil war. Nor, could Charles have envisioned founding a funeral home in Baton Rouge that would still be in operation today, over 145 years later.

At the war's end, the returning Captain soon found himself making more caskets than furniture. In 1866, he officially entered the funeral service business, setting a family precedent of responding to the public need. Charles and Caroline Rabenhorst had two sons, Alvin E., and Oscar F., who brought the business into the 20th Century. They also established Rabenhorst Life Insurance Company and their photos can be seen in our Pre-Arrangement Services section.

Oscar's oldest son, Harry, was one of the better known family members to serve as president of the funeral home. Known as "Coach Raby," his career at LSU spanned 43 years, where he served as Assistant Football Coach, Head Basketball Coach, Head Baseball Coach, Assistant Athletic Director and Athletic Director.

That Championship Season

On April 13th, 1935, the LSU Basketball Squad won its only national, if not slightly mythical, championship. Back then, the NCAA Tournament didn't exist. But, there was the highly competitive, yet unofficial, American Legion Bowl. That year it pitted LSU, the South's best, against the recognized leader in the Northeast, the Pittsburgh Panthers.

LSU's first All-America choice, Sparky Wade (23) and the game's highest scorer, Buddy Blair (30), triumphed with a 41-37 victory over the Pittsburg Panthers in Atlantic City's Convention Hall.
"Coach Raby," circa 1930's
Coach Harry Rabenhorst would have three other winning seasons before joining the navy to fight in World War II. Overall, his long coaching career with LSU Basketball spanned 32 years, and included three SEC titles, a once-renowned Sugar Bowl Tournament Championship and the 1935 National Championship.

Today, the funeral home's fourth generation honors his legacy by being ardent supporters of Louisiana State University athletics.

Before his coaching career began, Harry Rabenhorst was the sophomore from Wake Forest who kicked a football 110 yards, making it the longest recorded punt in college football history. Today, the famous pigskin rests as his tribute at the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame
in South Bend, Indiana.


Oscar's youngest son, Alvin E. Rabenhorst, II, entered the business as a young man and made it his career. Known affectionately as "Allie," he became president of the funeral home in 1946 and retired after over 40 years of service.

Meanwhile, their cousin, Alvin P. Rabenhorst, had entered the family business in 1940 and was responsible for setting up a more modern system of accounting and financial management for the funeral home. For both companies, he was responsible for financial and investment decisions and served as president of the funeral home until his death in 1997. His photograph also can be seen in our Life Insurance History section.

Today's fourth generation, Phil, David and Scott Rabenhorst and sister, Karen Rabenhorst Kerr, continue the family tradition.

A fourth generation of Rabenhorsts - Phil, Karen, Scott and David manage
operations of Rabenhorst Funeral Homes and Rabenhorst Life Insurance Company