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Gretel Abbey's devotion to children made her well-known in the community.

She was a mother to three of her own children and a teacher in the early-childhood department at the Amherst Jewish Community Center.

Mrs. Abbey, 62, of Williamsville, died Friday (Dec. 17, 1999) in Millard Fillmore Hospital.

Born in Germany, she moved with her family to New York City at age 1 and, 12 years later, to Batavia.

She earned her bachelor's degree from the University at Buffalo and spent three years as a caseworker for the Erie County Department of Social Services before leaving to raise her family.

A devoted mother, she was chairwoman of several sports banquets while her children were active in athletics at Williamsville North High School.

Survivors include her husband, Harlan Abbey; two sons, Jeffrey of Manhattan and Steven of Monroe, N.C.; a daughter, Heidi Helfman of Williamsville; and a granddaughter.

A service will be held at noon today in Amherst Memorial Chapel, 281 Dodge Road, Getzville. Burial will be in Elmlawn Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.

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