There is something profoundly telling about the family sitting around Abe’s computer composing his eulogy. We can recall introducing desktop computing to Abe, and it didn’t take him very long to build a computer system faster than anyone else’s, with more bells and whistles than anyone could possibly use. In no small way, this symbolizes how he lived his life. And it’s safe to say that Abe lived large, in every way.
Abe grew up in relatively modest surroundings. His father was a Cantor in this synagogue and money was short. In writing about these days Abe, as usual, saw the bright side: “As poor as we were, my father always had a great sense of accomplishment in what he did. He was very good in what he did do and my mother was extremely supportive. Both to dad and the children. We couldn’t do wrong. My life has been very fulfilling because of wanting to succeed and feeling this same sense of accomplishment.”
Abe succeeded in every way and lived his life on his own terms. He had an incredible work ethic, yet always found that perfect balance between work, his family, and his hobbies. He and June traveled all over the world, particularly in recent years. He loved golf (at least until his sons starting beating him at it) and was a superb photographer. His photography was always a great source of pride to him, and to us as well.
He loved theater and music, and found a way to combine the two in his years of performing first with the Simsbury Light Opera Company and later with the Mark Twain Masquers and the Producing Guild. We will always remember his performance as Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls, his favorite role.
Abe had a wonderful circle of friends, some he had known for decades. You’d have to work awfully hard to find someone who met Dad and didn’t have something great to say about him. Even people who only knew Dad casually would tell us how much they thought of him.
The cornerstone of Abe’s life was his relationship with June. Abe met June in Jr. High--at that time his intentions toward her were somewhat unclear as the following poem he wrote to her in 7th grade reveals:
“Many hours we have not spent together,
Many hours we shall not spend together.
You might think me rather rude,
But I happen to be in that kind of mood.”
June says that she fixed him. How many hours are there in 46 years? Jeffrey tells us that it’s 402,960.
Theirs was a love affair that never ebbed. They demonstrated their love to us constantly, not just with overt displays of affection, but with deep friendship, respect, compassion, and humor that has served as a model to all of us.
Abe had a tremendous influence on us all, as a father, friend and counselor. He worked his magic on the next generation as well. Abe was the consummate “Zaidee” (or Zabe, as Alena used to call him), and was never at a loss to find new and fun ways of entertaining his grandkids. In remembering their Zaidee, the grandkids said:
“Zaidee always made us feel happy.”
“He always made it fun for us to visit.”
“He was very proud of us.”
“He loved gadgets.”
Abe loved each grandchild individually, admiring their strengths and creating a unique and loving relationship with each of them.
Abe was always trying to figure out how things worked and how to make them work better. As a child, he once took apart a watch and put it back together to see how it functioned. His businesses were always on the cutting edge of new technology. At home, he never stopped searching for the perfect sound for his stereos, the ideal optics for his cameras, or the ultimate software for his computer. Did he sometimes go too far? Well, as June once told him: “When you die, I’m going to sell all your camera equipment for what you told me you paid for it.” To which Dad replied: “Now I’m really gonna die.”
Abe was who he was, and he never tried to be anything other than that. There are people here representing family, friends, colleagues, and business associates. If you were to ask any one of these people to tell you about Abe, they would all describe him the same way: generous, kind, funny, intelligent, and a true individual. He was all of these things to us, and so much more.
It’s at times like these that the inadequacy of words becomes apparent. To try and sum up Abe’s life and how he touched us is almost impossible. He embraced life voraciously and all it had to offer.
It all comes down to this. We don’t for a minute believe that Abe was cheated by life. He lived a happy and fulfilled life at every level that one could think of. We are the ones who feel cheated, because we won’t be able to share his life any longer. Dad, you are, and forever will be, in our hearts and minds. We love you.