Longest Serving Board Member Celebrates 100th Birthday


Abe Abraham, the longest serving member of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, celebrated his 100th birthday on August 21. A celebration was held on Saturday August 18 with Vespers at St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids and a gala dinner at The Cultural Center at St. Nicholas. Almost 300 guests attended the tribute to Abe.

Abe was born in 1912 in Rashaya Al Wadi in Lebanon. At the age of nine, he and his mother, Zahia, crossed the Atlantic to meet up with his father, Sleyman, who had established a home and business in Towanda, KS. Abe three siblings were born in Kansas, the family returned to Lebanon for several years before returning to America and settling in Grand Rapids, MI. There, Sleyman established a retail candy and “five and dime” store. With the help of his sons, the business grew into a tobacco and candy wholesale distribution company. Today the company distributes groceries to convenience stores in eight Midwestern states.

During World War II, Abe served his country in India, as the military’s Post Office General. In 1947 Abe married Adele Kaleel of Spring Valley, IL. They have four children, ten grand -children and one great grand -child on the way. Abe and his family have been life members of St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids. In 1955 Abe was appointed by the late Metropolitan Antony, of thrice blessed memory, to serve on the Archdiocese Board of Trustees. He continues to serve our beloved Metropolitan Philip and the Archdiocese. Until travel became difficult, Abe and Adele look forward to the semi-annual Board Meetings and the bi- annual Archdiocese Convention. His closest friends are those with whom he has served. He is a founding member of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

Uncle Abe, as he is known throughout the Archdiocese, claims his long and healthy life is a result of his love for cigars. Even today at 100, he smokes two to three Macanudos a day.

God Grant Him Many Years!