Kathleen S. Abel was friendly, smiling and always joyful, her husband Richard Abel said.
Abel, 85, of Valparaiso, was a kind and loving wife, mother and grandmother. She liked to talk to people about their families, their lives, what they were doing and tell them about her life. Growing up on a 300-acre farm in Cuzco, Indiana, the twelfth and youngest child in her family, Abel had many experiences to share, her husband said.
“She was a mama’s girl,” Richard Abel said. “Her mom made sure she took care of her and when she grew up she took care of her mom.”
He said Abel’s mom taught her daughter to preserve garden produce and how to save things. She collected coins, stamps, recipes and books.
As a born again Christian, faith was important to Abel, “as high on the list as you can make it,” Richard Abel said. The couple and their family attended local Baptist churches in each community where they lived.
Married 64 years, they met in 1943 when she joined the West Baden High School where Richard Abel was a senior. Richard Abel said they attended school with basketball legend Larry Bird’s parents.
She was an excellent cook, Richard Abel said. Abel’s seven children reminisce about her fried chicken and other meals. On each child’s birthday, Abel prepared their favorite dinner. She also enjoyed baking, especially blueberry muffins, pies, cakes, pumpkin rolls, cookies and toffee.
A skilled seamstress, Abel made practically all her children’s clothes when they were growing up, including special Easter and birthday outfits.
“Some nights I would have to chase her to bed about 3 or 4 a.m.,” Richard Abel said. “She kept busy with her family and loved to read. Indiana author Gene Stratton-Porter, who wrote about nature, was her favorite.
Richard Abel said he will miss everything about his wife.