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Joseph M. Abell Jr.

Joseph Miles Abell, Jr., M.D. Austin physician Joseph M. Abell, Jr., 79, died at home October 17, 2011 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dr. Abell was born in Houston, Texas, January 19, 1932, to Joseph Miles Abell and Julia Weathers Abell of Houston and Austin. He attended St. Anne's School, Lanier Junior High School, St. Thomas High School, class of 1950, and Texas A&M University, class of 1954, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Ross Volunteers. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, in 1957. For the next five years, 1957 to 1962, Dr. Abell served his internship and his surgery and orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. He moved from Ann Arbor to Austin in August 1962, founded Austin Orthopaedic Clinic, and practiced orthopaedic surgery in Austin from 1962 to 2007. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors from The University of Texas at Austin in 1991. A member of St. Austin Catholic Church for half a century, he also was a Eucharistic Minister for 23 years. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He also was a member of the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Surgical Society, Frederick A. Coller Surgical Society, American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, and the Wilderness Medical Society. He held numerous leadership positions in many of these organizations. In 1998, he was named Physician of the Year and awarded the Gold-Headed Cane by fellow members of Travis County Medical Society. Dr. Abell was President of the Travis County Medical Society, 1989; President of the Texas Orthopaedic Association, 1994; and President of the Texas Medical Association Foundation Board of Trustees, 1997-1998. He also was a member of many other national and international professional organizations. In addition, he authored 59 publications and made 65 formal presentations in eight states and nine foreign countries. An active member of the staffs of Brackenridge, Seton, and St. David's Hospitals in Austin, he served all three as Chief of Service or Committee Chair, or both. Joe and Mary served as Capital Campaign Chairs for the construction and equipping of The Central Texas Blood and Tissue Center, and worked on Capital Campaigns for St. Austin Catholic Church and many other community projects. He was a Founding Member of the Austin Yacht Club and of the Tarry House, Inc.; a Charter Member of the Austin Admirals Club and of the Austin Woods and Waters Club; and a former member of Austin Country Club and Headliners Club of Austin. During his first 25 years in Austin, his practice was concentrated mainly at Brackenridge Hospital, where he lectured to student nurses, firefighters, and the first Emergency Medical Service trainees. He volunteered his services in the Brackenridge clinics and emergency room for 25 years. Together with Father Richard McCabe and Doctors Jack Schneider, Bill Halden, and Al Kelly, Dr. Abell was involved in the planning and formation of Caritas, and The St. Luke's (Catholic Physicians) Society in Austin. His parents preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Mary Anderson Abell; six children and their spouses: Joseph Miles Abell, III, and wife Melinda Allen Abell; David Weathers Abell; Catherine Abell Gleason and husband Thomas Edward Gleason, Jr.; Julia Abell Merritt and husband Randall Charles Merritt; John Graham Abell; James Edward Abell and wife Amber Maxwell Abell, nine grandchildren and their spouses: Bonnie Abell Muecke and husband Mark Walter Muecke; Joseph Miles Abell, IV, Julia Abell Gleason, Thomas Edward Gleason, III, Benjamin Grant Gleason, Robert Staacke Merritt, William Weiland Merritt, Frank Anderson Abell, and Ruby Catherine Abell. Surviving him also are his brother, Reverend Edward W. Abell of Houston, and Ann Staacke Rivers (Dr. Abell's first wife and the mother of Joe III, David, Catherine, Julia, and John). Mary and Joe are grateful for the expert professional help of caregivers Anthony LaCivita, George Nganga, Gabrielle Schwarz, and Lidia Flores; therapists Michele Harris and Julie Lauterstein; hospice nurse Nancy Rash, RN; ALS Association South Texas Chapter Director Melina Monson; and Drs. Michael Shapiro, R. Scott Ream, Tom Hill, Lamar Jones, Craig Lubin, David Morris, Archie Whittemore, and Richard Parker. We are thankful for The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio's ALS Clinic Director, Dr. Carlayne Jackson, and her remarkable staff of consultants and therapists. The Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Austin's Catholic Parish, 2026 Guadalupe. Those wishing to contribute to ALS research may do so with a gift to the Mary and Joseph Abell Fund for ALS Research and Care, Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe, Suite 300, Austin, Texas 78751. Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com

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Published in Austin American-Statesman from Oct. 19 to Oct. 20, 2011
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