Demaine Funeral Home

520 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA


Richard Bender Abell

2 December, 194321 November, 2019
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Richard Bender Abell of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, died November 21 at INOVA Mt. Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, VA. He had been a member of the Federal judiciary for twenty years from which he retired. He was married to the former Lucía del Carmen Lombana-Cadavid of Medellín, Colombia.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Lon Edward Welch, Jr., of Birmingham, Alabama, and Charlotte Amelia Bender of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Welch divorced and remarried to Ernest George Abell of Philadelphia.

Judge Abell graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in 1966 and a J.D. in 1974. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1967 to 1969 in Colombia, South America. Subsequently he volunteered for the U.S. Army and served in Viet-Nam in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division in 1970. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, and the Combat Infantryman=s Badge. He was retired from service in 1971 for wounds received in action.

He served as an Assistant District Attorney and Deputy Sheriff in Chester County, Pennsylvania, taught law school at Delaware Law School in Wilmington, Delaware, and was on the U.S. Senate staff of Sen. Richard Schweiker. He was Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation from 1979 to 1981 and served as a member of the board of directors of Young Americans for Freedom from 1979 to 1982.

During the first two years of the Reagan Administration he served in several executive positions with the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. From 1983 to 1986 he was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1986 he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Justice where he served through 1990. In 1991 he was appointed to the Federal judiciary in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims as a vaccine judge/special master from which he retired in 2010.

He was also appointed by President Reagan as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Prison Industries Corporation in 1985, a member of the Interagency Task Force on Adoption in 1987, and a commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Agricultural Workers serving from 1988 to 1993. During his tenure as an Assistant Attorney General he served as the Chairman of the National Crime Prevention Coalition, member of the Advisory Board of the National Institute of Corrections, Co-Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the National Center for State and Local Law Enforcement Training, Vice-Chairman of the Research and Development Review Board for the Department of Justice, member of the National Drug Policy Board Enforcement Coordinating Group and Coordinating Group for Drug Abuse Prevention and Health, and as a member of the Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

He was listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Politics, and Who’s Who in American Law. Judge Abell co-authored two books, Peter Smith of Westmoreland County, Virginia, and Sojourns of a Patriot. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, the Society of Colonial Wars, the Sons of the Revolution, the Order of Indian Wars, the Aztec Club of 1847, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Many of his progenitors arrived in Virginia as early as 1632 and in Fairfax County in 1657.

He was a member of Lodge No. 22, F&AM, Alexandria, Virginia. He was Anglican-Catholic by faith, a parishioner of the church of St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland of Alexandria, Virginia. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years; three children, Mr. David Joseph Abell of Deland, Florida, Mr. Christian Aven Lombana Abell of Midlothian, Virginia, and Mrs. Rachel Mercedes Cadavid Abell Foreman of Islamorada, Florida and ten grand-children.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 from 4-8 p.m. at the Demaine Funeral Home, 520 S. Washington St, Alexandria, VA. A church service will be held on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland, 402 E. Monroe Ave, Alexandria, VA. Interment will occur at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Order of Cincinnati or the Skin Cancer Foundation.


  • Lucía del Carmen Lombana-Cadavid Abell, Wife
  • David Joseph Abell, Son
  • Christian Aven Lombana Abell, Son
  • Rachel Mercedes Cadavid Abell Foreman, Daughter
  • Charlotte Amelia Bender (Ernest George Abell), Mother (deceased)
  • Lon Edward Welch, Jr, Father (deceased)


  • Visitation Tuesday, 26 November , 2019
  • Church Service Wednesday, 27 November , 2019
  • Funeral Service Thursday, 23 January , 2020


Richard Bender Abell

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Chris Kachouroff

23 January 2020

Richard Bender Abell was one of the finest men I had the privilege of calling my friend, my brother, my mentor, and a true hero. Words cannot express what a loss this is for us and what a gain it is for Heaven. (Boy, I sure hope they're ready!)

Without Richard, I would not have fully appreciated what it meant to be a gentleman, what it meant to be a man, the importance of taking care of people around you, devotion to one's spouse, and why beauty matters.

Richard had a vast knowledge of words, but he had no ignorance of the Word. Until we meet again, I know you are already soaring in the summit of Heaven!

Charles/Saeko Hammaker

23 December 2019

Although we knew Rick for a relatively short time after he and Lucia moved into The Fairfax, our bonding as friends was immediate. Rick's sense of humor, his intelligence and strong patriotic bent made us enjoy each other's company as we associated during those years, far too short, that we associated with him..

We miss his friendship more than can be expressed here. There is a hole in our hearts now that we can not share a laugh with him and our meal table still has a missing part that cannot be replaced. Every time I have a drink of bourbon, I toast Rick, for we enjoyed that together so often when he was with us.

He is still with us in our hearts.

Tomas Lombana

29 November 2019

Lucia y primos, siento mucho la partida del Tío Richard. Desde Cali - Colombia los recordamos con mucho afecto. Un abrazo especial para la Tía, la pensamos mucho fuerza y unión para pasar este momento, Tomás, Carolina, Simón y Juan.

Sandra Shmidheiesr-Levine

28 November 2019

Richard and I share the same Shmidheiser-Rebmann ancestry. Richard was a great help to share his reseach from his grandmother knowing of Steinenbronn, and to keep track of this large family tree. We shared updates with each other. I enjoyed meeting Richard and his wife, Lucia, and one of his sons with a huge dog(!) on a visit during an afternoon in Alexandria. Richard had so many interests. He will be sorely missed by his family. He gave so much, the world is a better place because of him. God speed was often his good-bye. Vaya con Dios to his beloved family. I hope someone in his family will want to keep in contact. My sympathy to you all. Cousin Sandra

James Francis Gray

26 November 2019

Richard was always a gentleman during our many phone conversations. He will be missed.
God Bless Him.
James Francis Gray

Joseph A. Morris

26 November 2019

Rick would have been 76 next Monday. Rick and I served together as Assistant Attorneys General under President Reagan and Attorney General Meese, and Rick shared Mr. Meese's birthday: December 2d. (It saved on cake.)

Rick had a long and distinguished career as a soldier, lawyer, and judge. He was a passionate defender of our country and of the cause of freedom. He was a wonderful family man and a great friend.

He will be missed.

/s/ Joseph A. Morris

Kendall Levin Bolding

24 November 2019

I am so sorry to hear of Rick’s passing. He was such a wonderful person and I treasure all of our shared memories. Mark let me know and Lucia we know how close the two of you were. He loved you so much. Thank you for all of the wonderful meals around your table with Jim Byrnes. I learned so much from y’all. And Rachel’s wedding was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever attended. Prayers for your family. Kendall

David McGinley

22 November 2019

Dear Richard, I hope you knew how much I appreciated that you saw enough in me to hire me as your law clerk. The trust you showed in me from day one gave me the confidence that maybe I actually could be a lawyer. That was 17 years ago. Time flies. I also feel blessed that I was able to keep in touch with you and Lucia lo these many years. I always enjoyed our visits and looked forward to them. God speed my friend.

Christus spes nostra. See you in the Kingdom.