Born in Battle Creek, MI on March 15, 1914, Rafelson graduated from Albion College and earned a Master's Degree from the University of Michigan before beginning his military service. He entered the Army in 1942, received the Purple Heart, and was killed on March 13, 1945 during the crossing of the Rhine River in Germany.
From Detroit Jewish News, April 20, 1945, page 15: FORMER TEMPLE Beth El member Pfc. Robert Rafelson was an engineer on a bridge that collapsed across the Rhine.
He was survived by his parents - Mr. and Mrs. Mark Rafelson, his wife Ileen, and young son Tommy. Post 431 was formed to honor his memory.