Frederick C. Abel, Sr., whose family has been in Indiana for nearly two hundred years and who always had a passion for preserving and restoring historic Indianapolis, died of cancer on Tuesday at St. Vincent Hospice. He was 76.
Born to Margaret Branson Abel and Theodore Joseph Abel on April 5, 1935, Fred was raised in the family home on Central Avenue, attended Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Cathedral High School and Culver Military Academy. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BS '57), and has a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating from RIT, Mr. Abel returned to Indianapolis to work as a photographer for the family business, W.H. Bass Photo, which was founded in 1897. Fred worked as a commercial photographer for over 20 years, receiving state award recognition and enjoying several years as the prestigious Official Photographer of the Indianapolis 500.
Always an entrepreneur, he saw the need for a local professional color lab in Indianapolis. In searching for a home for his new business, Mr. Abel fell in love with the abandoned Fire Station 11, restored the building and established The Firehouse Colorlab in 1971. Thus began his vision for the Near Eastside Community.
Fred married Margaret Lucile Shearman on February 22, 1958. Known to her friends as Peggy, the couple formed a team that rejuvenated the East 1000 block of Washington and Market Streets, receiving awards for their work through their Restoration and Development Co. In 2008, the kindred spirits at Angie's List purchased the Firehouse Complex and created the Angie's List Campus, which continues to develop this section of the Near Eastside. Part of the sale agreement was for Mr. Abel stay on as an employee of the Henry Amalgamated Co. managing and continuing to develop the properties; a job he dearly loved.
Fred Abel is also survived by his son Frederick C. Abel, Jr., his daughter Dawn Abel DeDomenico, his seven grandchildren, his brother Gerald P. Abel and his sister Sharon Abel Lee.
Visitation will be held tonight 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel , 740 E. 86th Street. Funeral Mass Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, 1530 Union Street. Burial at Crown Hill Cemetery. http://www.leppertmortuary.com