David R. Rafoth

David Russell Rafoth, born August 11, 1944, to Russell and Eleanor Rafoth, lost his last battle with cancer on August 7, 2021, in Dubuque. He was surrounded by his loving family.

David graduated from St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin in 1962. He then returned home to Dubuque where he earned a business degree, graduating from the University of Dubuque in 1966.

He enlisted with the United States Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam from 1967-1968, where he earned the Purple Heart, Medal of Honor. After being honorably discharged, David joined the family business, Rafoth Furnace and Sheet Metal Company.

David was an avid fisherman, motorcycle rider, and boater who loved spending time on the Mississippi River. He also enjoyed socializing with numerous friends, who fondly remember his masterful storytelling skills. David was a proud member of the Tri-State Vietnam Veterans Association.  He was also a member of the Dubuque Shooting Society’s 990 club.

Following retirement, David and Jan moved to Asheville, North Carolina to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They were fortunate to develop many new friendships and were surrounded by exceptional neighbors.  David dedicated his time volunteering at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife Janie (Kueter) of Asheville; daughter Jessica Rafoth (Oren Polak) of Key West, FL; sisters Sharon Conlon of Dubuque, IA, Rebecca Smith (Terry Philips) of Palm Coast, FL; mother-in-law Bernice Ehlers; sister-in-law Kathy Kueter; brothers-in-law Kevin (Sandy) Ehlers, and Terry (Mary) Ehlers, all of Dubuque, IA. David is also survived by many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law Richard Kueter; brothers-in-law Michael Conlon, Patrick Smith, and Lynn Kueter.

David will be celebrated at a later date. Services will be announced and take place at Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain, North Carolina, where full military honors will be accorded.

Memorials may be given to Veterans Restoration Quarters, 1329 Tunnel Road, Asheville, North Carolina 28805.

Jan would especially like to thank Dr. Bruce Kelly, for encouraging David to participate in Brothers Like These, a creative writing program for healing veterans.


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