Michael "Mike" Rubish, a former UNC football player and local golf professional, passed peacefully Sunday afternoon, March 15, 2015, at his home in Chapel Hill.
Rubish, 90, was born in Weirton, West Virginia, and was the son of Johan and Anna Rubish.
At age 16, Rubish joined the 7th Air Force and served in Hawaii. He was at Hickam Field on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. While there, Rubish roomed with and befriended famed baseball slugger Joe DiMaggio.
After World War II, Rubish chose a football scholarship at UNC over playing baseball for Duke. He was a member of the 1946-49 Tar Heels with Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice and was the team’s barefoot kicker. He played for UNC in the 1946 and 1948 Sugar Bowls and the 1949 Cotton Bowl.
The 1950 UNC graduate was drafted by and played for the Washington Redskins, once kicking a 40-yard field goal to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rubish left the National Football League to become a professional golfer and got to know Arnold Palmer, whom he once beat in an exhibition match in Pennsylvania. Rubish was a member of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) for more than 60 years, mostly as a Class A teaching pro in Durham. North Carolina. He owned and operated Golf City, a driving range, par 3 course and two miniature golf courses for 26 years.
After running a golf shop near South Square Mall in Durham, Rubish retired and enjoyed playing golf and cards with his many friends.
Rubish is preceded in death by his oldest son, Michael, Jr., and all but one of his 13 siblings.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Patsy Andrews Rubish of Carrboro and Chapel Hill; sons Jeff Rubish and his wife Barbara and Drew Rubish and his long-time partner Mary Stewart; five grandchildren, Christopher, Connor and Kathryn Rubish and Kelly and Kimberly Rubish, all of Chapel Hill, and his one surviving sister, Barbara, of Pennsylvania; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at University Baptist Church on Thursday, March 19, at 2 p.m. followed by a reception on the fifth floor of the Pope Box at UNC’s Kenan Stadium. The family welcomes all friends of Mike Rubish, past and present, to attend the celebration of his life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University Baptist Church in Chapel Hill.