BORN SEPT. 30, 1930, in San Francisco, Rebele graduated in 1951 from Stanford, where he was editor of the Stanford Daily in his final year. Patricia, whom he met in junior high school, graduated as a re-entry student from UCSC in 1988.
He worked various newspaper jobs, then served as a naval supply officer between 1953 and 1956. In 1957, after getting his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Rebele began shopping around for a newspaper to buy. His first paper, The Coalinga Record, cost $35,000. Four years later, he sold it for $110,000.
He and partner Lowell Blankfort then bought three papers in San Diego County, the Chula Vista, National City and Imperial City Star newspapers, which they worked until 1978.
Rebele's causes have included public radio station KUSP, Santa Cruz Actors' Theatre, the Youth Symphony of Santa Cruz, the Cabrillo Music Festival, Tandy Beal's Pickle Family Circus, the Museum of Art and History of Santa Cruz County, New Music Works and the Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center.
In 1986, Rebele and his wife, Patricia, gave $300,000 to endow the R.K. and Patricia Rebele California Weekly Newspaper Internship Program at Stanford. The program helps pay the wages of Stanford students who intern for weekly newspapers. In 1995, the Rebeles gave UC-Santa Cruz $250,000 to endow the Patricia and Rowland Rebele Chair in Art History for visiting professors, the largest alumni contribution in UCSC history. And in 1997, Rebele gave $100,000 to the Cantor Art Center at Stanford to fund two rooms.