NEWPORT NEWS - Kenneth Bernhard Abel, 71, entered into eternal rest Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005, following a courageous battle with cancer. A lifelong member of the Lutheran Church and an Eagle Scout, Ken was born in Allentown, Pa., and graduated from high school in Maumee, Ohio. While attending the Ohio State University
on a music scholarship he met the love of his life, the former Margaret Ann Budai of Dayton, Ohio. Ken proudly played in the 'Best Damn Band in the Land' and was a member of the Theta Xi Fraternity. Upon graduation from OSU in 1955, he was commissioned in the United States Army
, where he served with distinction in a variety of assignments in both the Transportation and Adjutant General's Corps, including a combat tour with the Fourth Infantry Division in Vietnam. Ken retired from active duty at the rank of major at Fort Monroe, Va., in 1978. An award-winning trumpet player, Ken taught music and directed the bands of Dixie High School of New Lebanon, Ohio, and Huntington Middle School in Newport News, Va. In 1963 he earned a Masters of Education Degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After retiring from teaching with the Newport News Public Schools in 1991, Ken served for eight years as a member of the Newport News Library Board. In addition to being a member of the National Sojourners and a charter member of the Peninsula's 'Manly-Man Club,' Ken's interest in retirement included amateur radio work as 'KB4BCC,' reading and travel. He was preceded in death by his mother, Irene; his father, Frank; and his brother, Howard. Survivors include his beloved wife, Margaret; sister, Joan Briggs of Winter Haven, Fla.; his two sons, Christopher and Daniel; his daughters-in-law, Laura Adair Abel and Courtney Varhalla Abel; and grandchildren, Geoffrey Steven Abel, Benjamin Peter Abel and Rebecca Lee Abel. Masonic Rites will be rendered at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the Weymouth Funeral Home Chapel, followed by visitation until 9 p.m. A funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at Fort Monroe's Chapel of the Centurion by Pastor Gary Erdos of St. Mark Lutheran Church. All those who are attending the service at Fort Monroe 18 years and older must have a photo ID. All drivers must present at the gate a valid drivers license, proof of insurance and proof of registration. Inurnment will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 21, at Arlington National Cemetery. The Abels wish to thank all those who assisted Ken during his lengthy illness. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be make in Kenneth Abel's memory to the National Foundation for Cancer Research in Bethesda, MD (800) 321-2873.