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Given his passion for liberty and justice for all, it is appropriate that Joseph "Sib" Abraham, Jr. peacefully passed away in the morning of July 4, 2014 at the age of 77. Mr. Abraham was born on September 26, 1936, as the second oldest of four children born to Joseph Abraham, Sr. from Jewket, Syria and Helen John of Ford City, Pennsylvania. Mr. Abraham lived his entire life in El Paso except during the time he attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and when he attended law school in Houston, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1957 and began his legendary career in criminal defense law at the "Law Offices of Joseph 'Sib' Abraham, Jr." in El Paso when he received his Juris Doctor from the Bates College of Law at the University of Houston in 1961. Sib's career was notable for his fight for individual freedoms and for upholding the rights guaranteed under the Texas and United States Constitutions. His personal credo was to never give up on justice and freedom and to 'fight for right." Among his peers and the judiciary, he was considered the epitome of the classic trial lawyer. Even up through his last weeks of life, he maintained an active practice in civil and criminal cases. Sib found his greatest joy in trying cases in the courtrooms of Texas and throughout the nation. By the end of his career, he had tried state and federal cases in 30 different states. Whereas many trial lawyers would be content to settle cases for their clients, Sib practiced with the philosophy that his clients deserved their day in court. Sib enjoyed an excellent reputation among those in the criminal defense bar and among his adversaries, as a man who observed the highest ethical standards of professional conduct. If Mr. Abraham gave an adversary his word, then no more was needed. His honors include the Senior Lawyer Award from the El Paso Bar Association in 2009 and the 50 Year Lawyer Award from the State Bar of Texas in 2013. Mr. Abraham was also routinely and regularly recognized as an esteemed member of the Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. While known nationwide for his legal expertise and his litigation prowess, Mr. Abraham also enjoyed a personal reputation as an honorable individual who was respectful towards others, and who was greatly supportive of the best interests of his community. Even though his record of state, federal and appellate successes speak for themselves, Mr. Abraham was humble and shy about discussing them. And, he was considered to be selfless and non-judgmental of those in need. When many considered themselves to be only in his shadow, Mr. Abraham lifted them onto his shoulders to support them. Many of his law office employees and attorneys served him for decades with steadfast loyalty and became extended members of the family. Affectionately, they referred to Mr. Abraham as "Brother," "Chief," and "Coach." Sib was an avid sports fan who enjoyed observing boxing matches, golf tournaments, and remained a devoted Texas Aggies football fan and UTEP basketball season ticket holder throughout his adult life. He and his Aggie classmates maintained a lifetime of friendship and memories spanning over 50 years. He also was a faithful fan of the music of Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Juan Gabriel and James Taylor. Many recall his infectious laughter during a memory of his enjoyment of story-telling or visiting with friends. Notwithstanding all of Sib's diverse professional endeavors, accomplishments and personal interests, he considered his family to be the center of his universe. His love of his parents and enduring affection and friendship with his siblings was surpassed only by his unwavering adoration of and commitment to his wife, son, grandchildren and other close family members. Sib's unconditional love for his wife and son was later enhanced by his pride in his grand-children, great grand-children and nephews and nieces. He provided support for countless relatives who were either motherless or fatherless and/or who just needed a helping hand during a vulnerable time of their lives. Sib was equally well-known for this signature generosity and support even among non-family members. Mr. Abraham was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Abraham, Sr. and Helen "Naima" John Abraham, his sister, Joanne Abraham Chagra, and his brother, Edward Abraham. He is survived by his devoted wife, of 59 years, Margaret Ann Caples Abraham, his son, William D. "Billy" Abraham, his sister Geraldine "Haifa" Malooly, his granddaughters, Asia Rose Abraham Zaragoza and her spouse, Marco Antonio Zaragoza, GiannaMargherita Abraham, Naima Noelle Abraham, and his great grandsons, Artemio Costa Zaragoza and Guillermo Antonio Zaragoza. Visitation will be Thursday, July 10, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Martin Funeral Home, 128 N. Resler. Funeral Mass will be at noon on July 11, 2014 at St. Patrick Cathedral at 1118 N. Mesa, El Paso, Texas, 79901. Interment will follow at Concordia Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to UTEP for the Joseph "Sib" Abraham Jr. Memorial Scholarship and mailed to the Office of Institutional Advancement, UTEP, Kelly Hall, 7th floor, 500 W. University Ave., El Paso, Texas 79968.
Published in El Paso Times from July 7 to July 14, 2014
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