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John W. Aber Jr.

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John W. Aber Jr. Obituary
John William Aber, Jr., known to family, friends, colleagues and students as Jack, passed away peacefully at home on January 12, 2015 from complications associated with cancer at the age of seventy seven. Jack, the son of John William and Rose Lauda Aber, grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania and was the Valedictorian of his class at Washington High School. He attended Pennsylvania State University on an NROTC scholarship, graduating with a degree in Chemistry, and was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy. He served as the Engineering Officer aboard the USS John Hood, a Fletcher-class destroyer, and later as an instructor in the NROTC Program at Columbia University. Following five years of active duty in the Navy, Jack remained in the Naval Reserve for twenty years, retiring as Lieutenant Commander. Jack forged many friendships in the Navy and had the good fortune of meeting his wife and soulmate, Cynthia, while in Newport, Rhode Island, thus beginning a nearly 60 year partnership. Jack received his MBA at Columbia University and subsequently entered the doctoral program at Harvard Business School on a McKenzie Scholarship. Following graduation, he was appointed to the faculty at Georgia State University in Atlanta but returned to Boston in 1972 to join the faculty at the Boston University School of Management as an Assistant Professor of Finance. Jack has lived in Brookline, Massachusetts ever since. Jack had a wonderfully satisfying 40 year teaching career at BU, retiring in 2012 as Professor Emeritus. He served as Chairman of the Finance and Economics Department for more than twelve years and was the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his teaching excellence, including multiple Professor of the Year awards. Jack taught primarily in the graduate and executive MBA programs and, for many years, taught the core banking law class in the BU School of Law. He was instrumental in the creation of many innovative programs and taught in several overseas programs for BU including in Japan and Korea. Jacks colleagues respected his scholarship, trusted his leadership and treasured his kinship. He was also deeply admired and celebrated by his students: his former student Doug Chamberlain established the Jack W. Aber Scholarship in his honor, and another former student, Rajen Kilachand, recalled Jacks special attention and care when he donated $25 million to BU (the largest in the schools history). Jack kept in close contact with many former students over the years and was immensely proud of all their success and achievements in the business world. In addition to his teaching, Jack enjoyed serving as an independent trustee on several mutual fund boards, including funds affiliated with AMG, Appleton Partners, Aston Asset Management and Third Avenue Management. Jack was an enthusiastic supporter and consumer of the Arts, including fine art, architecture, antiques, oriental rugs, theatre, music, books and movies. He was an avid collector of American Art Pottery through the years, and had an extensive collection of 45 RPM records dating from the 1950s that he cherished. Jack and Cindy shared a love of travel and frequently combined their passions, such as when they would return from trips to Italy and England with sets of Majolica earthenware and Limoges china. Jack enjoyed cooking and entertaining, getting immense pleasure from hosting family holiday gatherings and large dinner parties. Guests invariably commented on his specially-made, alphabetically-organized 75-jar spice rack hanging prominently in the kitchen, which wittily ended with a jar labeled Waiting for Godot. After meeting Cindy, Jack fell in love with the verdant landscape of her hometown, Tiverton, Rhode Island. He and Cindy found the perfect location to build a summer home on the Sakonnet river and, after building the unique contemporary-style home, Jack made annual improvements and additions of rooms and decks to accommodate his evolving and growing family. Family and home life was always paramount for Jack, and he was very proud of his three children and seven grandchildren, whom he cherished spending time with. Jack looked forward to the extended family gatherings nearly every Sunday, whether in Brookline or Tiverton. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Cindy, his son and daughter-in-law John and Tracy Aber of Newton, Massachusetts, his daughter and son-in-law Valerie and Normand Vermette of Brookline, Massachusetts, his son and daughter-in-law Alex and Livia Aber of West Newton, Massachusetts, his sister Kay Stumpf of Boynton Beach, Florida, and his grandchildren: John, Jack, Nicholas, Jude, Nina, Natalie and Lucy. A memorial service celebrating Jacks life will be held in the Spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Dr. Lecia V. Sequist of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center or to the Jack W. Aber Scholarship fund at the Boston University School of Management.

Published in The Brookline Tab from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22, 2015
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