Abie Abraham, 98, of Renfrew died Thursday afternoon at Butler Memorial Hospital.
Born July 31, 1913, in Lyndora, he was a son of the late Elias and Esther (Thomson) Abraham.
A decorated World War II veteran, Abie had enlisted in the U.S. Navy, then the Army, in 1932. He had served in the Philippines, China, Germany, and Panama, where he became a lightweight boxing champ and trainer.
He fought, was captured, endured the Bataan Death March and was a POW for 3½ years during World War II. Before returning the States, Abie stayed overseas for 2½ years to recover many of his fallen comrades from the march, helping to identify them and to assure they were properly laid to rest.
After returning to the United States, he served as a recruiter, then served two years in Germany until retiring with 30 years of service as a first sergeant. He also worked as a bartender and as a foreman for the state Department of Transportation and the state Highway Department in the 1960s.
Abie is in the Guinness Book of Records for tree sitting in Alameda Park. He wrote his first book, "Ghost Of Bataan Speaks" in 1971, and wrote his second book, "Oh God Where Are You" in 1997. His intent was to help the public better understand what took place to our brave men at the hands of the Japanese as POWs.
Abie had received numerous medals for his service, including the Purple Heart, was a recipient of the Ellis Island Family Heritage Award in 2003 and had several documentaries on the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.
He was a life member of the V.F.W., the American Legion, the Purple Heart Combat/Infantry Organization, the Ex-POW Organization, the Disabled American Veterans, the American Defenders of Bataan, the Lyndora Fire Department and the state Forest Wardens. He was a volunteer at VA Butler Healthcare since 1988, having over 38,000 hours. One of his favorite past times was helping other veterans.
Surviving are his wife, Christine (Vawryk) Abraham, who he married Aug. 3, 2009; three daughters, Lily (Al) Zeitziff of Reno, Nev., Edith Maria Mullen of the Philippines and Mildred Collis of Keystone, Fla; 11 grandchildren; a number of great-grandchildren; several great-great-grandchildren; and two stepsons, John David Wolf of Jennings, Okla., and Daniel P. (Irma) Wolf of California.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Felicidad Fely "Nancy" Abraham, who died in 1983; two sisters; and eight brothers.
ABRAHAM - Friends of Abie Abraham, who died Thursday, March 22, 2012, will be received at the Geibel Funeral Home, 201 E. Cunningham St., Butler, from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday and from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday.
Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Anthony Antiochian Orthodox Church, Pillow Street, Butler. The Rev. Bogdan Bucur, pastor, will officiate.
Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery.
Published in Butler Eagle from March 24 to March 25, 2012
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