Meenamchalile G. Abraham

Notice Condolences

ABRAHAM , Meenamchalile G. Meenamchalile G. Abraham, a retired pharmacy technician at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Baltimore, died with a graceful smile March 18, 2010 at the Johns Hopkins Medical ICU, surrounded by his wife of 41 years, his three children and three grandchildren, and more than 40 family members. He was 71. The funeral service for "Pappachan" as he was known to his colleagues and friends, will be the first funeral conducted at St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church on Windsor Mill Road in Baltimore County-one of three Indian Orthodox Churches he spearheaded the creation of over his lifetime, both in India and the United States. Born the seventh of eight children to a farming family in a small town of Pathanapuram, India, Pappachan earned a degree as a pharmacist at CMC Hospital and first worked as the corporate medical officer on a tea estate. He left his position after the death of his brother to help with the family business, Gem Tyres, now the largest tire distributor and retread business in South India. While there, his father approached him about a marriage possibility with the daughter of his neighbor and best friend, and Pappachan agreed to the arrangement. His bride, Molly (Achamma) Cheriyan, traveled 18 hours by train from her position as a nurse in New Delhi to meet her prospective husband. They were married nine days after reacquainting as adults, August 19, 1968, and settled in Vellore, India. Here, Pappachan first began his work that has affected hundreds of spiritual people-the creation of Indian Orthodox Churches. While working at Gem Tyres, he proposed and helped build a grassroots organization to fund St. Luke's Indian Orthodox Church in Vellore, which stands today. Extroverted, intellectually curious, and with a knack for being the center of attention, Pappachan emigrated to the United States in 1972. At the time, immigrants were only allowed to take $7 per person in their pockets. Molly arrived first in New York, securing a nursing position in Manhattan, and Pappachan followed eight months later with their two young children, Prakash and Prashoba. Their third child, Shirley, was born four years later. His faith sustained him as he took positions well below his educational level in order to support his growing family. In fact, though he and many others in the Indian Orthodox community were working minimum wage jobs, Pappachan was again able to assist the effort to create another Church-this time St. Mary's Indian Orthodox Church in the Bronx. He was a natural leader who, by example, showed others that family and faith should be central to one's life. Pappachan moved his young family to Perry Hall in Baltimore in 1981, and began working in 1987 as a pharmacy technician at the Veterans Administration Hospital, eventually running the IV medications unit until he retired in 2003. While there, he mentored many young medical professionals who eventually went on to earn degrees in medicine and pharmacy. His nickname was "Upappan," which means Uncle in his native language, Malayalam. Once again, Pappachan was unsatisfied with the fact that he and his fellow congregants were meeting weekly in rented chapels, so he worked tirelessly for a decade toward the goal of building yet another Church. His eloquent speaking and charming demeanor led people to open their purses and build St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church in Baltimore County in 2001. His granddaughter, Sarina George, was the first child baptized there in 2001. Pappachan and Molly moved to Howard County in 1986. Together, they enjoyed traveling all over the world and spending time with their children and grandchildren, as well as being active in the Church.
Family will receive friends at Witzke Funeral Homes, Inc, 5555 Twin Knolls Rd, Columbia, MD 21045 on Thursday from 2 to 5 and 6 to 9pm. Services will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church, 9120 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042 on Saturday, March 27 at 9am to accommodate the number of attendees. Interment Crestlawn Cemetery. Pappachan is survived by his wife, Molly, and their three children: Prakash Abraham of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and his fiancé Mythri Jayaraman; Prashoba George of Woodstock, Maryland and her husband Mathews and their three children, Sanjay, Sarina and Sindhu George; and Shirley Mathew of Boston, Massachusetts and her husband George Mathew. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Ignation Lay Volunteer Corps in loving memory of M.G. Abraham. In "Designation" enter "Baltimore" and in "Dedication or Gift" enter "M.G. Abraham."

Published in Baltimore Sun on Mar. 23, 2010
Read More