Jack Abravanel was born in Salonika, Greece, on March 23, 1932 to Isidore and Dora Abravanel. A natural athlete, winning medals in high school for high jumping, he subsequently became a celebrated soccer player in Salonika, and later in life an avid racquetball player, until he was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1997. He valiantly fought the disease for 15 years.
Jack was a Holocaust survivor. He was deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 11. Due to the family having Spanish citizenship, they survived. During the war, he spent time in a Palestine refugee camp and then he and his family returned to Greece where he met Lela, his future wife, in a summer camp. Lela, with her family, immigrated to Houston, Texas after the war. Jack followed her there where he later graduated from the University of Texas. Jack and Lela were married, and had their first daughter, Doris. Jack was hired by Boeing, which brought the family to Seattle, where Tammy was born. Jack's rewarding career as an aerospace engineer, spanned over 35 years. He traveled domestically and abroad, and the Boeing business trips he took with Lela to France were their most memorable.
As a founding member of Temple Sinai, Jack was active in the synagogue, especially the Sunday school. An attentive and caring father, he cherished the times he spent helping his daughters study, excel in sports, and realize their dreams. After retiring, Jack (a.k.a. Papu) devoted his life to helping raise his only grandchild, Makena. He described the time he spent taking care of Makena as the most enjoyable and rewarding "job" he had ever had.
Jack passed away on September 16, 2012 in Bellevue with his family by his side. The family wishes to thank Evergreen Hospice for the excellent care of Jack.
As a devoted husband for 56 years, Jack is survived by his beloved wife, Lela, daughters Doris and Tammy (Craig Owens), one granddaughter, Makena, brother Sylvin, and two nephews, Isidore and Mario.
Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the Charity of your choice.