Deceased February 11, 2012
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Our father inspired us with Psalm 16: “Yea, I have a goodly heritage.” His people included Yankee sea captains, missionaries in Turkey and China and German Protestants seeking religious freedom. He was born in Cleveland, a lifelong Indians fan.
The Depression and the untimely death of his father separated the family; he went to Western Reserve Academy and entered Amherst College at age 17. He lived with his uncle, philosophy Professor Sterling P. Lamprecht. He was an Alpha Delt, a glee club member and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
He served in WWII as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, teaching illiterate recruits. He saw Alabama cotton gin towns in the summer, Lake Michigan in the winter, the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 1944 and was at Normandy on D-Day plus 60. On May 29, 1942, he married Cleveland native Betsy Townes Abbey.
After the war, the Cleveland Trust Co. was not for him. He attended Harvard in political science, and his incomplete dissertation was about the World Health Organization. After teaching stints at Tulane, Dillard and Hollins, he began his career as program officer for international guests of the U.S. State Department and ended it as director of the English-Speaking Union.
He was earnest; an internationalist, maybe the patron saint of lost causes, he tried to make a better world. He loved his family, opera, tennis and Amherst College.
He lived the last 30 years happily in Tucson, Ariz., and died Feb. 11, 2012. He is survived by Betsy; children Elizabeth, Douglas ’71, and David ’74; and grandchildren, of which he was exceptionally proud, Clayton, Robert ’10, Katherine ’11, Graham and Anica.
Doug Abbey ’71