January 14, 1931 - February 17, 2020
Our father, Robert Ronald Abel, of Yakima, passed away in the early morning hours of February 17th, 2020. He was 89. Born January 14th, 1931, in Dayton, Washington, to Ronald and Leladell Abel, he was the first of three children. His brother, John Abel, preceded him in death early last year. His sister, Mary Lynn Warren, lives in Phoenix with her husband, Lester.
The family moved to LaGrande, Oregon where he graduated from high school and met our mother, Louann Shupp. They were married in San Diego, California, where Dad was stationed while serving in the U.S. Navy. After the Navy they settled in Yakima and raised their three sons, Jeff (Brice), Scott, and Chris Abel.
Dad was accepted for an apprenticeship with the local plumbers union. After completing his training, he went to work permanently with Central Heating and Plumbing in Yakima. He worked as Central’s primary serviceman for over twenty years before starting his own plumbing business. Occasionally, he would work construction, and for a time he was at Hanford but he preferred service work because one was rarely laid-off. As he said, “There’s always somebody with a plugged-up toilet.”
Professionally, Dad was a plumber. But he was an excellent carpenter and electrician as well. As a consequence, there was always a remodeling project going on somewhere in our house. In later years, Dad and his second wife, Betty McGlynn, designed and built a log home at Keller’s Ferry on Lake Roosevelt. They built the entire house from falling the trees and peeling the logs to milling the lumber for internal walls and cabinets themselves. It was a beautiful home that both of them loved.
While we were growing up in Yakima, Dad was always very involved with the local community in support of our activities. He was a 4-H leader, a Little League coach, and member of the local fair board. On weekends he built fences or barns, or hauled livestock to various fairs and shows in the area, all in support of the 4-H and FFA projects of his kids.
Robert Abel worked hard all his adult life toward one end: the well-being of his family. He instilled in us not only self-sufficiency and a strong work ethic, but a concern for justice and an insistence on doing the right thing. Yet, he was willing to let us make our own mistakes. He loved nature and being out in it. A day hiking in the woods was always a good dea for him. He was not a traditionally religious man, but his spirituality came forth in his dedication to family and his appreciation of the gifts the earth provided.
In addition to his sister and three sons, he is survived by his two daughters-in-law, Scott’s wife Helen Abel, and Chris’ wife Patti Abel. He has three grandchildren, Amber Shields and her husband Kyle, and Alison Sides and her husband James, both of Yakima, and Austin abel of Seattle. In addition, there were two great-grandchildren, Chloe and Emma Sides. He also loved, and was well loved, by three stop children, Lynde Howe of Missoula, Montana, Rita R. Miller of Hamilton, Montana, and Scott McGlynn of Wiess Badan, Germany.
Those of us who loved him are grateful for his influence in our lives and commend him to your prayers.