John D. "Jack" Abstein
John D. "Jack" Abstein. formerly of Miami, died at his home in Ormond Beach following a lengthy illness. He was 68. Jack was born in Jacksonville, FL to Russell and Edith Abstein. Following high school graduation, he came to the Daytona area to attend Daytona Beach Junior College. He left during his sophomore year to enlist in the U.S. Army, and was stationed at Fort Benning, Dix and Hood. He spent a year in Viet Nam with the First Signal Brigade at Phu Lam, for which he was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. He also was awarded Good Conduct and National Defense Medals. Following his enlistment, Jack returned to Daytona and finished his Associates Degree. He transferred to Florida State University, where he graduated with a BA in English (1971) and an MA in Humanities (1972). He then taught high school English in Cocoa and Tallahassee; was a writer, then editor for the former Florida Dept. of Natural Resources; and spent five years as a legislative analyst with the Florida Senate. In 1985, he moved to Miami, where he was Director of Governmental Relations for Miami-Dade Community College. Prior to his retirement in 2002, he was the Public Policy Director for the South Florida Annenberg Challenge, a public-private partnership to improve secondary education. Jack's family predates the Civil War in Florida, and aside from his time in the military, his entire working life was in the State. He also was the Past Adjutant and Finance Officer of American Legion Post 31 in South Miami, and a "Friend" of UM's Sylvester Cancer Center. He particularly enjoyed cooking and expansive dinners with family or friends, folk music and travel. He returned to Ormond Beach in December, 2010 to be near family. He was predeceased in 2007 by his wife Betty Block Semet. He is survived by two brothers and three sisters; a daughter Alexis Robinson (Farris) of Ormond Beach; step-daughter Dana Phillips (Adam) of Palo Alto, CA; step-son Scott Semet (Zhenya) of Moscow, Russia; and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22, 2013