RAPID CITY | Agapito J. Cabrera was born Nov. 24, 1930, in Havana, Cuba. He died at the age of 88 on Feb. 1, 2019.
Affectionately known as “Pete,” he began studying piano at the age of 3 and graduated from the Chartrand Music Academy at the age of 16 with a Professorship of Piano. Two years later, in 1948, he graduated “Summa Cum Laude” from La Salle University with degrees in Math, English, French and Spanish.
He then acquired an interest in studying law, so he attended the University of Havana and earned a doctorate in law. He used his degree to become a law professor at the same university for three years. He had a passion for justice and helping people. He enjoyed his law practice so much he quickly ascended to State’s Attorney for one of the country’s provinces.
However, in 1959 and in the midst of his young law career, he realized his career and his nation were in peril. Castro’s Socialist-Communist regime had firmly gripped the island seizing private property and nationalizing industry. He observed how revolutionary tribunals began trying and executing members of the old regime for alleged war crimes and how the country plunged into severe human rights abuses. He saw how it was no longer a nation of laws. Being a righteous and fair-minded man, it was at this point he made the decision to leave everything behind and bring his young wife and infant child to this free and great nation in order to start life all over. He was often quoted: “The thought of my infant son not growing up in a free country was too much for me to bear.”
Upon his arrival to the United States, he pursued his passion for education, furthering it by receiving a fellowship to attend Indiana University where he received an additional Master's Degree. He dedicated the rest of his career to the teaching profession.
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As a child he had traveled numerous times to the United States and had remembered visiting Mount Rushmore. It had left an indelible mark upon him, prompting him to eventually make the Black Hills his new home. For 38 years he was a well-loved teacher at Central High School and a SDSM&T professor for 22 years.
He is survived by his son, Pete Cabrera, and his grandson, Nicolas Cabrera, and always continued to be best friends with his former wife, Virginia Cabrera, both of whom had so closely bonded through all the years of hardship and everlasting moments of having to start a new life together, in a new country.
Thank you dad for always demonstrating what honesty, dignity and hard work is all about. You were an amazing father, husband, grandfather and friend. Not a day will go by without us thinking of you. You shall always be loved and forever be missed.
Arrangements by Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home.