He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Barabe died of a heart attack while serving as mayor on January 15, 1971. Barabe was elected to the Assembly in 1958 and was re-elected in 1960 and 1962. He was a Democrat.
During World World War II, he served in the United States Army and he later became a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Previously, he was a member of the Ashland County, Wisconsin Board from 1947 to 1949 and Mayor of Mellen from 1947 to 1958, as well as an alderman in Mellen.