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Isaac G. Abbott, longtime funeral director, known for his humor March 29, 1915 -- Oct. 22, 2008

As a funeral director, Isaac G. "Ike" Abbott worked in a solemn profession, but friends knew him for his sense of humor and storytelling abilities.

Mr. Abbott, a long-time Amherst resident who worked more than 50 years as a funeral director and played competitive tennis into his 90s, died Wednesday in the McAuley Residence, Town of Tonawanda. He was 93.

Born and educated in Manchester, Ontario County, he served three years in the Army just after World War II. He spent much of that time in India, where he served as a radio communications expert on Army transport planes. He moved to Buffalo after his military service.

Mr. Abbott spent a couple of years running a gas station on Utica Street before becoming a funeral director in the early 1950s. Working as an associate of several funeral homes in Buffalo, Amherst and Tonawanda, he coordinated hundreds of funerals before retiring three years ago.

He also worked in the Erie County medical examiner's office for 30 years before retiring from that post in 1984.

Known for his way of telling humorous stories about his past, Mr. Abbott was also an avid sports fan, especially of the Buffalo Bills. He loved playing tennis in his later years and as a young man, was an accomplished softball player on a team that traveled throughout Western New York.

His wife of 60 years, Ruth, died in 2006.

Mr. Abbott is survived by a son, Richard G., and a sister, Annabelle Baroody.

A memorial service will be 10 a.m. Monday at St. George Orthodox Catholic Church, 2 Nottingham Terrace.


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