A noted Covington banker and builder. William A. Rabe was born on December 30, 1874 in Covington. His parents were Frank Rabe and Bernadine Von Wahlde Rabe, both German immigrants. William A. Rabe was educated in the Catholic Schools of Covington. He also attended St. Maryís Institute in Dayton Ohio (now the university of Dayton) for two years. Rabe later studied architecture and worked for a few years with local architect Daniel Seger. In 1889, he became a founding member of the architectural firm Schofield & Rabe.
In 1904, William A. Rabe established the Kenton Supply Company in Covington. Other partners in the company were Joseph Carl, John Carl and George Lubrecht. The Kenton Supply Company sold a variety of building supplies and coal. In January 1905, the company was incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000. The company maintained sand and coal lots on Robbins Street in Covington. Rabe was the secretary-treasurer of the firm for many years.
On September 14, 1898, he married Theresa M. Ruh, daughter of Anton Ruh. The couple had two sons: Alvin F. Rabe and William J. Rabe. William J. Rabe accidentally drowned in 1910 in Norwood, Ohio. For many years, the family lived in Covington. The success of his business ventures, however, led Rabe to move to Lakeside Park, Kentucky.
Rabe was a member of the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Covington and Citizenís Perpetual Building and Loan of the same City. He was also a member of the Bishop Carrell Council Knights of Columbus and the Bishop Flaget General Assembly.