Joseph Paul Rabito, Jr . a resident of Marathon since 1955, passed away peacefully in his home on June 27th. A Marathon High School Alumni, “Joe” as he was commonly known throughout the community, purchased the Oasis Lounge from his mother in the late ‘60’s, which then became Joe’s Steak and Seafood in the early 80’s. A successful bar owner and restaurateur through 3 decades, Joe then turned his business acumen towards the Jewelry industry when he purchased the Golden Nugget at Faro Blanco Marina in the 80's. He ran a successful jewelry business until he retired around 2005.
In addition to his various business ventures, Joe enjoyed hunting and fishing. He participated in multiple bonefish tournaments and would commonly be found out on the water in his skiff, The Golden Nugget. Later in his life his interest turned to boat building where he designed and built his custom houseboat, The Magnificent Mama Linda.
Joe is survived by his wife of 54 years, Linda, who he referred to as the “Love of his life”. His daughter’s Tammy Elwell (husband Ryan Elwell) and Tiffany Baro (husband PJ Baro), his grandchildren, Parker, Justin Joseph, Madison, and Reese, his brother Bill Rabito and sister Doreen Baumeister.
In his retirement, Joe loved his home and created a paradise in his backyard. Having a thirst for knowledge, he grew a variety of plants using various gardening methods including hydroponics and aquaponics. The orchids he grew were magnificent and he enjoyed raising his own tilapia.
A self-taught chef, cooking was also a passion, and his culinary skills were amazing. Throughout his years in the restaurant business, he perfected those skills and continued to learn new cooking methods throughout his retirement. He was indeed a chef. Those that were fortunate to sample his fare can attest to that.
Joe loved life and appreciated each day. His favorite spot was relaxing in the beach area he created in his backyard overlooking the water. “It’s good to be retired!” was a common saying of his. He worked hard throughout his life and took advantage of his free time – living life to the fullest.
His generosity knew no bounds and he helped many of those in need. It was not unusual for him to pick up the bill if he saw a military man in uniform. He loved his country and appreciated those who served to protect our freedoms.
Above all, he was a loving family man and a great friend. Those that knew him will miss his laugh - it was infectious and would light up any room. He was truly one of the “Greats” and will be sadly missed.
Funeral services will be held at 11am on July 18, 2022, at San Pablo Catholic Church in Marathon.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers that donation be made to Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys.