Harriet Abatgis

August 7, 1934January 5, 2021

Harriet Abatgis (née Birnbaum) January 5, 2021

Harriet Leslie Birnbaum was born to Benjamin B. and Helen Birnbaum on August 7, 1934. The Birnbaum family also included sisters Joan and Lynn and brother, Jerry.

Harriet and her siblings were all outgoing, involved and determined individuals – growing up with cousins and extended family nearby. One of Harriet’s family’s claim to fame was their relationship to George Burns – Ben, her father, was first cousin to George Burns, also known as Nathan Birnbaum.

After graduating from University City High School, Harriet attended University of Illinois before marrying Charles Seigel. Harriet was an excellent cook, although she did not really like to do it, and an active mother who loved making her children’s lives full - encouraging their unique interests in animals, music and sports.

In November 1969, Harriet married Spiro Abatgis and they merged their families. Harriet then found herself raising 7 children. The Abatgis home became the home to so many – with amazing parties around the pool and beautiful holiday get-togethers. To many, summer and swimming at Harriet’s and Spiro’s home were synonymous.

People were drawn to Harriet’s sparkling personality and welcoming hospitality. She and Spiro had a large group of friends and enjoyed an active and full social life. She was always available to host a shower or join in the party.

Harriet had a keen fashion sense which was put to good use while working at Helen Wolff and other shops, where she helped develop a loyal (and well dressed) clientele - and she always looked impeccable.

Harriet’s grandchildren brought much joy and fulfillment to her life – and they were there, right beside her, telling “YaYa stories”in her final hours.

Harriet was the beloved wife of the late Spiro Abatgis, mother of the late Jody Miller, Terrye Seigel and Chip Seigel (Julie). Beloved grandmother to Ben Bonskowski (Mindi), Jessica Bonskowski, Harrison Seigel, Lauren Seigel and Michael Seigel, beloved great-grandmother, sister to Joan (the late Harry) Seltzer, the late Lynn (Martin) Kopolow and the late Gerald Birnbaum.

We know Spiro’s waiting for you with a hot fudge sundae, 2 spoons and Jeopardy on TV.

Rest In Peace. We will miss you.

Due to Covid-19, Harriet’s funeral will be a private graveside service at Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery, Thursday, January 7th at 10:30 AM.

Family requests memorial contributions be sent to “The Joan & Harry Seltzer Fund for Empowering Young Women” at Congregation Shaare Emeth.


  • Private Graveside Service Available via Live Stream at 10:30 am CT

    Thursday, January 7, 2021



Harriet Abatgis

have a memory or condolence to add?

Suzy Mcintyre

January 8, 2021

To Terry and Chip..I must have been 7 or 8 years old when your family moved into the big spooky house on the corner. It became a place of laughter and games and no longer spooky.
I remember your mom dressing in costumes and all of us running around your back yard.
And of course Woddle and Toddle..yes, it was a lot of fun growing up with the Seigel family!
Sending my condolences to your families .