Jean Chastain Abrams

31 July, 193128 December, 2020

Jean Chastain Abrams, a lifelong resident of Athens, died peacefully on December 28, 2020 with family by her side. Born Alma Jean Chastain on July 31, 1931 in Jefferson, Georgia to Nellie Cornelia Simmons Chastain and Lloyd William Chastain. Her family moved to Athens when she was a young girl and she remained there for the duration of her life.

Jean was known as a beauty, an energetic and enthusiastic employee and an avid and lifelong learner. During her teen years she worked at the popular and iconic Snack Shack Restaurant. It was there that she met the true love of her life, Sol Abrams, who had just completed his service in the Navy and was a student at the University of Georgia. They married in 1953. They enjoyed time together as jitterbug and bowling partners and later as devoted collaborators in her husband’s business ventures, the Harlem and Beechwood Cinemas. Although, they divorced in 1968, they remained close and loyal companions for life. Jean had an independent drive and used her managerial skills to become an invaluable asset in the workforce.

Her pride and joy came from her two daughters, Denise and Mimi, and their families. Her commitment to her family was deep and, with Sol, she enjoyed the many trips they took yearly to visit their daughters and extended family in New York City celebrating birthdays and holidays. Jean’s daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren loved visiting each summer for weeks at a time, relaxing in the Georgia summers that were so different from their New York homes. So many treasured memories were created and each is highlighted by her unconditional love for her family. She cherished her role as Nana to her four grandchildren and she was delighted to have just become a great-grandmother.

Education was a top priority as shown by Jean’s voracious reading and her commitment to continued education in the fields of accounting and psychology. This devotion was extended to her children and grandchildren always making sure they were outfitted for each new school year with clothes, books, backpacks and supplies. She celebrated each child’s successes and always made her grandchildren feel like they could accomplish anything.

Jean was a funny, spirited, competitive and welcoming woman and with her engaging personality she was a source of support to the greater community. Through her involvement with St. Mary’s Hospital she helped establish the gift shop and snack bar. Through the Sisterhood of the Congregation Children of Israel and the Elks Club she fundraised for community programs. Bridge and Mahjong brought her together with her numerous friends and she loved treating them, and her family, to her new and delectable recipes. She even made her own sake and she was well known for making the most delicious matzah balls. Jean was a diehard University of Georgia football fan. Over the years, she enjoyed hours of pleasure watching football, golf, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. In her later years, Ms. Abrams, was the resident manager at the family owned duplex apartments where she resided for over thirty years.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, January 17 at 1 p.m. at Bernstein Chapel in Athens, Georgia.

Due to declining health, Jean, spent the last year and a half as a resident of Magnolia Senior Living in Sugar Hill, Georgia.

She was predeceased by her former husband, Sol Abrams; her parents; sister, Sue Tolbert; and niece, Mary Nell Allen Stephens.

Ms. Abrams is survived by her daughters, Denise Abrams Gorham (Mark); Mimi Abrams (Peter); grandsons, Alex, David and Jake Schleider; granddaughter, Maran Gorham and great granddaughter, Zyla Jade Gorham all of New York City. She is also survived by her sister, Dorthy Smith; nieces, Carol Hassell, Lynne Yarbrough, Marie Corrigan, Judy Kessler, Bonnie Russo; nephews, Ralph Allen, Danny Joiner, Michael Tolbert, Jeffry Kessler and their families and a large extended family of cousins in several states that will forever cherish her memory.

The family wishes to thank our beloved family and friends for their constant love and support. A special thanks for her compassionate, loving caregivers, Andrea Jackson, Mattie Green and Florine Lindsey. Thank you to Dr. Michael Nelson and staff for many years of professional care. Thank you to Rebecca Woolen, Angela Winfrey and the entire staff at Magnolia Senior Living and the team at Capstone Hospice Care who provided compassionate loving care with dignity to our Mother in her final years.

Donations may be made to Congregation Children of Israel, The Potters House or a charity of your choice to honor the memory of Jean Chastain Abrams.

Bernstein Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.



Jean Chastain Abrams

have a memory or condolence to add?

Laura Johnson

4 January 2021

Dear Mimi & Denise,
I’m so sorry about your loss. What a beautiful photo of your sweet mother. Please know you are in my thoughts & prayers. Would love to see you sometime when you are in Athens. Sending hugs.