Abraham, (Abbie) Lipschutz, a fighter, lover, writer, historian, dilettante musician and Lebenskünstler, (artist of life), passed away in Houston, Texas surrounded by family and friends. He was 92. Abbie was a clinically happy soul who possessed offensive charm and unjustified arrogance, qualities that infuriated many, but more often than not, endeared him to people.
Born in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, he was expelled from school at 14 and was soon so moved by van Gogh's painting, "The Potato Eaters" that he turned into a political radical. His contributions to causes for the downtrodden never ceased throughout his life. Thirsty for adventure, his voracious curiosity saw him through a century's worth of experiences before he was 30. He was a kibbutznik in Palestine in the early 40s, fought with the Dutch Princess Irene Brigade and liberated his hometown, the Hague, on the last day of World War II. He then moved back to Palestine and volunteered to fight in Israel's War of Independence.
Feeling stifled by the size and singular focus of Israel, he moved to America in 1949 settling in New Jersey rather than in New York City where his parents lived because, he said, "My mother couldn't swim." In 1959, sensing opportunity and adventure, he moved to Texas where he made his living for over 50 years as a wholesale diamond merchant. He traveled throughout the American South delighting in his dealings with rednecks and intellectuals alike. That career ended in 1999 when he was held up at gunpoint, but his years on the road provided him with a treasure trove of material, which he used in his writing. He was a brilliant Renaissance man, earning an MFA in writing from Vermont College at the age of 66.
A self-proclaimed "voyeur of life", Abbie recorded his unique observations of people of all cultures, publishing fiction, non-fiction, novels, short stories, essays and memoirs in English, Dutch, Spanish and Hebrew. He spoke his own mind and was often brutally honest without regard to political correctness or potentially negative fallout; he was an "equal opportunity offender." His memoir, "Child of the 20 th Century - Growing up Jewish in Holland, Belgium, Palestine, Israel, America. And Texas" was written to remember that "Jews have not just been victims, but also freedom fighters, the avant-garde of the Enlightenment, progressive movements and revolutions, of science, the arts, literature and music during the last two centuries." Published in 2011 by Blue Thread Communications/Jewish Currents Magazine, his book is available for purchase at www.jewishcurrents. org.
Abbie is survived by his wife, Isabelle Ganz; his sisters Miriam and Ruth ; his children, Ronnie, Jonathan, Tamara, Gabrielle and Griffin (Debra); his grandchildren Maia, Eric, Eli, Andy, Sasha, Andreas, Zoe, Peter, Roxy and Reyna and great grandchildren, Liam, Luca, and Chloe.
A grand celebration of Abraham Lipschutz's life will be held at Congregation Beth Israel in Houston on December 8, 2013 at 3:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to Doctors Without Borders.