Abraham “Ab” Ehrenhaus

DATELINE: PROVIDENCE

Abraham (Ab) Ehrenhaus passed away on Friday, January 22, 2021 at home.  He was born March 31, 1924 in Fall River, Massachusetts. He was the son of the late Samuel and Rose (Rabinovitz) Ehrenhaus. He was a true Renaissance Man: educated, knowledgeable in a myriad of areas, a thinker, a problem solver, a musician.  He and his late wife, Marilyn (Silverman), were the loves of each other’s lives sharing more than 70 years of living and loving life together. In the year since Marilyn’s death, he missed her deeply and, although he tried hard to go on, the loss of his partner was hard to endure.

Abraham grew up in Fall River. After graduating from high school, he moved to Providence while he attended Brown University. After one year at college, he enlisted in the US Army knowing that it was his duty and honor to serve his country during WWII. During the war, he was in active duty in the European Theatre as a rifleman and then in Engineering Corps. On his return after the war, he completed his studies at Brown graduating with a BS in Economics and met Marilyn. He was class orator for his graduation, and his professors encouraged him to pursue a doctorate in Economics.  He was accepted to a Ph.D. program in Economics at U of Chicago; however, upon graduation, he decided to join his father in his business, American Wallpaper Co. He grew the business and was happy with his choice. But, he never stopped studying economics throughout his life. After his retirement from the business, he took on leadership positions with Union Savings Bank. The bank grew and eventually became BayCoast Bank and Ab served as the Chairman of the Board for many years. He loved his work there and especially cherished the wonderful, talented banking professionals with whom he collaborated.

For enjoyment, Ab loved long days at the beach, where he took walks, collected his favorite banded stones, read, swam, ate and talked with all of his beach buddies. Even into his eighties, he taught his grandchildren how to body surf, build the best drip castles and how to love the simple things in life while spending time with family on the beach.

He read the New York Times daily and every Sunday, he would make sure that he completed the crossword puzzle. He did the puzzles in pen, because he knew most of the answers.  For almost 70 years, he and Marilyn would sit together on the sofa until the puzzle was completed. As recent as two weeks ago, he was completing the daily puzzles and worked on the Sunday one which he was finding increasingly challenging.

He was a talented flute player who practiced every day of his life. Even to the end, he played at least 20 minutes a day. He had the most beautiful tone and loved his very special wooden flute. For years, he played with the New Bedford Symphony and the Swansea Community Band. He encouraged his children and grandchildren to learn and master a musical instrument and many succeeded.

He was a collector of so many things. He loved his stamp collection and taught lots of history and geography lessons to his children and grandchildren by studying the stamps. He loved, beautiful glass, Fall River history items, trade cards and art.

Abraham was a mentor to many young people.  Even in the last few years, he would engage in conversations about career choices with the young people who worked at Laurelmead.  He connected them to his friends and he wrote recommendations on their behalf.

Abraham valued volunteerism. He believed that everyone should find the time to serve one’s community. He was the chair of the Fall Rive Red Cross twice. He helped found the Fall River Soup Kitchen and was very involved in the Fall River Food Pantry, the Fall River Historical Society, the Public Library and the Marine Museum. He modeled this philosophy and behavior which has been passed onto his children and grandchildren.

He loved his family – his daughters, Barbara (Joel) Gereboff and Leah (Kenny Hersh) Ehrenhaus-Hersh.  He also had a daughter Ellen. He had an amazingly strong relationship with his grandchildren: Avi (Rachel) Gereboff, Arielle Gereboff, Noah (Irena) Gereboff, Ami (Elana) Hersh, Eitan (Julia) Hersh and Shayna (Michael) Fel.  He spoke with them often, enjoyed family vacations with them, advised them, challenged them to be their best and loved hearing about all of their accomplishments. And, more than them, he adored his 14 great grandchildren. He was a penpal to those who were old enough to read and write. He taught the art of letter writing as opposed to emails and how to play chess and backgammon. He taught all of them in a variety of ways depending on the age of the child. He loved his frequent Facetime or real in person visits with all of them.

Although he was very independent to the end, he had assistance from his aides, Andrea, Vandira, Celina, Alcinda, Candida and Ilda. They were kind and caring to him.

Donations would be appreciated to be made to the: Fall River Food Pantry, Temple Emanu-El in Providence, Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City, California and the Jewish Community Day School of RI.

We have lost a wonderful man, a fabulous father, a good friend to many and a mentor to too many to mention. But, we are all so fortunate to have had Ab in our lives.

14 Comments

  1. Judy/Harvey Trieff
    Jan 23, 2021

    We will miss his kind attention and conversation at Bakers and beyond. We send our love.

  2. Arleen Bor
    Jan 23, 2021

    My condolences to Leah and family. May he Rest in Peace.

  3. Joe McDonough
    Jan 23, 2021

    Abe was one of my favorite persons at Laurelmead for many years. He was friendly, talkative and always ready to chat.

    May he RIP with his loving wife of so many years.

    Joe McDonough

  4. William m Chebot
    Jan 23, 2021

    Ab and I were always very close friends. We were probably the last surviving members of Temple Beth El’s Sunday and Hebrew Schools. Always the perfect gentleman, he and I always enjoyed chatting about classical music. When he told me he had a photograph of one of our Sunday School’s picnics at Lincoln Park in Westport and I asked him if I could see it, he made a copy of it and gave it to me and I treasure it to this day. He will be sorely missed by so many of us. Rest in peace, dear Ab. You led an exemplary life and deserve the plaudits of so many of us/

  5. Lise Gescheidt
    Jan 23, 2021

    I never met Ab, but this is one of the most moving obituaries I have ever seen. I wish I had met him. I am so sorry for your loss, but obviously, he had a wonderful life, filled with joy and fulfillment. How lucky you were to have him for so long. Sincere sympathies to you.

  6. Karen Feldman
    Jan 23, 2021

    Ab, along with his wife Marilyn, were cherished and lifelong
    friends of our deceased mother and father as well as my twin sister and I. Our families have been intertwined for over 7 decades.
    Ab and my father were roommates at Brown University,
    and AB was the best man at our parent’s wedding.
    Stalwart, patient, brilliant, and reminding us all how to be our
    best selves, Ab was one of the few remaining veterans of WW2
    and all that generation bore witness to.
    I remember the last lengthy visit I had with him sitting outside
    at Laurelmead in early Sept. 2020. Despite the severe restrictions of Covid and the loss of so much in his life, he found
    a way to remain strong, focused on the future, and ever so
    grateful for his family, friends, and life experiences.
    May his good deeds, loving heart, and wisdom be a blessing
    and comfort to all of his family.

    • gladys&murrayrosofsky
      Jan 24, 2021

      our condolences on dad’s passing. we will miss seeing him at the beach we are in Florida till late spring. will be in touch when we return to Fall River

  7. Michael & Linda Bayliss
    Jan 24, 2021

    Please accept our sincere sympathies on Ab’s passing. He was a true “gentle” man and friend. Doing odd jobs for him and Marilyn on Woodlawn Street was always a pleasure. I always knew what season it was if the awnings were being put up or taken down.
    Marilyn always insisted I leave with copies of the New Yorker magazine!
    May they Rest In Peace.
    Mike and Linda Bayliss

  8. JEFFREY WEISSMAN
    Jan 24, 2021

    Dear Leah, and family,
    My deepest condolences to you and your extended family. I was priviledged and honored to have known your Dad through the Temple and many meetings over the years. Baruch Dayan H’emess, may His memory be for a blessing.

  9. Bob Crepeau
    Jan 25, 2021

    Leah & Ken,

    My deepest condolences to you and family on your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers

  10. Edward Durand
    Jan 26, 2021

    A beautiful person in every way, Ab was a gentle and compassionate person. In a difficult time in my life, Ab reached out to me as he did to so many others. The world needs more people like Ab. It is a sad day for me but I remember his great smile, his kind words, and his wisdom.

  11. Ron Bruno
    Jan 26, 2021

    Ab
    The pleasure was ours (everyone you met)
    The ultimate gentleman, the epitome of a Mensch.
    Forever in our hearts.

    RIP……. Godspeed good sir

    Sincere heartfelt condolences to the entire Ehrenhaus family.
    Respectfully,
    Ron Bruno

  12. Jack & Jo-Anne Sbrega
    Jan 26, 2021

    Jo-Anne and I send heartfelt condolences to all of Abe’s Loved Ones. He was a wonderful man and a strong supporter of Bristol Community College. We always enjoyed our conversations. RIP, our friend!

    Jack & Jo-Anne Sbrega

  13. The Potvin family
    Jan 30, 2021

    Our deepest sympathy to your family. Your father was truly a great man. My Dad and our family thought highly of your father.

Leave a Condolence

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*