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Samuel Ablove, 90, WWII vet, plumbing contractor; March 2, 1922 -- April 10, 2012

Samuel Isadore Ablove, a retired plumbing contractor and U.S. Army World War II veteran of the Battle of the Bulge who helped liberate a German concentration camp, died April 10 in his Williamsville home under hospice care. He was 90.

Born in Buffalo, the son of Russian immigrants, Mr. Ablove began his education as a Yiddish-speaking student who, after learning English, taught his mother. He went on to graduate from Bennett High School and attended the University of Buffalo.

His studies at UB were interrupted by World War II. Mr. Ablove initially was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and enrolled at North Carolina State University before heading overseas.

Serving in the 87th Infantry Division of the 3rd Army as a cannoneer and rifleman, Mr. Ablove fought in numerous engagements, including the Battle of the Bulge. For that, he earned a Bronze Star and a Combat Infantryman Badge.

Mr. Ablove's service culminated in his assisting in liberating the concentration camp in Ohrdruf, Germany, on April 4, 1945. It was the first Nazi camp freed by the U.S. military.

Upon returning home after the war, Mr. Ablove finished his degree in industrial engineering at UB.

The former Kenmore resident went on to operate A&B Plumbing and Heating Supply on Buffalo's East Side for more than three decades. During racial unrest of the 1960s, Mr. Ablove's business remained intact because his "reputation as a man of honesty and integrity was well known in the community," family members recalled.

Mr. Ablove taught a free class at his store on Thursday nights to help aspiring plumbers pass their licensing examinations, his family added.

In 1988, Mr. Ablove, who was, at that point, the retired president of J. Ablove & Sons, was one of five executives named to the staff of advisers for the Service Corps of Retired Executives, which was sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Active in the area's Jewish community, Mr. Ablove served as president of Temple Shaarey Zedek for two terms. He and his wife of 64 years, the former Helen Cooper, shared their love of family by hosting college students for Passover Seder and other Jewish holidays in their home.

They were also supporters of Kadimah School, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Camp Ramah in Canada.

In 1975, Mr. Ablove was honored by the Jewish Theological Seminary for his lifetime of service.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Elaine Altman, Deborah Shaw and Judith Ziton; a son, Dr. Robert; and a brother, Norman.

Services were held last Thursday in Temple Beth Tzedek, Amherst.