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Donald William Abel

Obituary for Donald William Abel

May 28, 1932 - September 13, 2019
Lakewood, Ohio | Age 87

Loving Husband and Father


Donald William Abel 87, Don was born on May 28, 1932 to the late Albert and Marcella Helen (Branske) Abel and he passed away on September 13, 2019. Beloved husband of Maureen (nee Brenda Downes) and loving father of Donald Joseph Abel (Zoe). Don was preceded in death by his brother William "Bill" Abel (Patricia). He is survived by his brother Allen (Janis) Abel, nieces Carolyn (Michael) Douglas, Jennifer (Gregory) Miller, and nephew Michael (Tiffany) Abel; great nieces: Addison Joy, Larkin Grace, Rose Marcella (Miller); Avery Grace (Douglas); great nephews: Walter Jerry Abel, Bo William Miller.

Don grew up in Kamms Corners and graduated from St. Patrick (West Park) 1946 and Cathedral Latin High School (1950). Ordained in St. John's Cathedral in 1959, Don served in the Diocese in St. Paul's, Akron (1959-1964), St. Mark's, West Park, (1964-1967) and as Chaplain for the 107th Armored Calvary Division. In June 1967, Don was commissioned for active duty as a First Lieutenant in the Army Chaplain Corps and served in Vietnam (1968-1969), He rose through the ranks to Lt. Colonel while serving overseas in Vietnam, Germany, and Korea as well as posts in Virginia, Florida, California, Hawaii and Texas.

Don's tour in Vietnam was during the Tet Offensive; he was in Nui Ba Den and Chu Chi. Merited recognition for superior performance, includes 2 Bronze Stars for meritorious achievement in ground operation against hostile forces. Meritorious service medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Metal with one Silver Service Star, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Vietnamese Presidential Unit Citation/Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

During over 20 year's active duty, Don earned 2 masters degrees: one in psychology from UCLA and Ball State University and one in sociology from Long Island University. In 1965, he graduated from the Army Chaplains School in Brooklyn, NY. In 1987, Don retired from the Army, moved with his family to Hawaii, and continued serving the military community as a college instructor with Central Texas College and Hawaii Pacific University. In August 2007, Don returned to live in Lakewood, Ohio to be with family and friends and the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers.

Don was a gifted sportsman, playing tennis, golf, football, and baseball. He was very proud of having been scouted by the Cleveland Indians in high school but he was chosen for God's team. An avid swimmer, Don loved floating in deep water with the Hawaiian sea turtles. He played drums and was the heartbeat of his high school marching band which played for a Brown's game. He also played in a dance band. He was a fine photographer. He loved Scrabble. Noted for his storytelling; he could keep any group entertained and inspired. Always one more joke! Since returning to Cleveland, Don enjoyed garage sales and thrift stores. His goal was to cheer up people and listen to their stories; a subtle way to continue reaching out to others. Reading the latest best seller, memoirs, and history were a major part of each day. His whistling and his laughter echo in our hearts.

Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM on Saturday, September 21 at St. Luke the Evangelist Church, 1212 Bunts Road, Lakewood, OH 44107. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice. (440) 333-9774


Arlington National Cemetery
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Arlington, VA 22211

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