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A Loving Tribute To Charles Abraham

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This past week we lost an important person in our community, Charles Abraham. Charles came to Garrettsville and started Charles Chevrolet & Oldsmobile in 1957. For Charles that was only the beginning. He set the ground work for his family and the business community in his 50 plus years in Garrettsville to build Garfield Plaza with his partner Max Everett, build the Forest Street Apartments, build the existing dealership in the 60’s and many other properties. I remember talking with him in December 1989 when he purchased the Paul Patry  Buick Pontiac building (now Portage Motors). He said to me that his wife Mary was upset that he purchased the Patry building. She thought that it was time that he slowed down and enjoyed life. Well, from what I learned to know about Charles over the years was that “Slow Down” was not in his vocabulary. He  had many ideas and was very instrumental in the development of Garrettsville. He was not afraid to get involved. He was an inspiration to me as a businessman. He was very generous as to the many scholarships and donations to various organizations, not just in the Village but also in Portage County. Sure, there were times that we did not always agree on things but I learned to have the utmost respect for  Charles. I will miss the times when he would come into Miller’s Restaurant for breakfast and our breakfast group would make him laugh,  and times at lunch, of conversations on various topics, when he came to Garrettsville,  his favorite pastime, golf. I would just like to say Thank You, Charles for all that you did to make our community a better place to live in.

Sincerely,

Rick Patrick
Garrettsville Council President

Charles Abraham, better known as “Charlie” to many in the Garrettsville community, passed away on Saturday, May 21, 2011.  That date happened to be Armed Forces Day and it brought to my mind the first memories I had of Charlie some 30 years ago.  I attended the annual Memorial Day celebration at Park Cemetery in Garrettsville and remembered seeing a tearful man who stood to say a few words about honoring our U.S. Military Servicemen, Past/Present/Future, words and tears straight from his heart. It wasn’t long before I was informed of his car dealership, his dedication to the Garrettsville Village government and a vision of restoring our downtown Main Street.Charles was always among the first to promote and support the residents and business community of the Garrettsville area.  He and his family members were friends to many.Then Charlie told me a story about a wonderful facility located in Mantua. This facility was HATTIE LARLHAM, a “home away from home” for children of all ages that were afflicted with severe, life-threatening health challenges.  He, once again with tears in his eyes, told of a woman named Hattie Larlham who was a nurse at the old Robinson Memorial Hospital many years ago and was known to take severely ill/disabled children home with her to give them special care and tend to them.  Hattie and her husband helped hundreds of families care for these very special children and  eventually began to add on to their own home and over the years built a facility recognized throughout the United States.  Charlie showed a compassion for the establishment and continuous maintenance of the Hattie Larlham facility.  His love, dedication and financial support to serve the children was genuine.    Twenty-five years ago, Charlie and a group of men formed an annual amateur golf outing at Sugar Bush Golf Course.  The purpose of the outing was to raise funds to donate to the Hattie Larlham Foundation.  The annual event has grown over the past twenty-five years, thanks to Charlie, and has contributed over $500,000 through the course of the years.  Last Wednesday, May 25th, was Charlie’s funeral AND the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Hattie Larlham Sugar Bush Golf Classic.  There was a sell-out crowd of participants and it was agreed that Charles Abraham was smiling down on the event, he ordered sunshine for the day and for Hattie’s children.  A huge Thank You to the family of Charles Abraham and to “Charlie” for your years of devotion to the Hattie Larlham legacy.  Charlie, you are missed.

Gretchen Cram
Hattie Larlham / Sugar  Bush Committee Member