Benjamin Howard Abbott
April 18, 1937 – January 21, 2019
A native son of Kentucky, Ben never met a stranger. He had friends with whom he maintained contact from every period of his life -2-3 from the nursery at his home church, preschool, grammar school, high school, college, his entire business career, and into retirement. Ben was born in Lagrange Ky to Bessie Lee ( Jeffries) Abbott and C Howard Abbott on April 18, 1937. Ben gave his life to Jesus at an early age and grew up in a Christian home. He was active in the church, played basketball for the Oldham County Colonels, and graduated from Oldham County High School in 1955.
Ben arrived at Kentucky Wesleyan in the fall of that same year, and almost immediately, he began recruiting friends and high school classmates to join him. During his years at Wesleyan, his tiny home church had more students at the college than any other church in the Kentucky Conference. He joined the Mystic Thirteen fraternity and maintained these friendships long after the fraternity itself dissolved into that of legends. After graduating in 1959, he married his college sweetheart, Linda Huffaker, whom he met in the deferred payment line of the Kentucky Wesleyan Business Office in 1957, when Linda stepped back on Ben’s toe. It's a story Ben loved to tell.
In less than a week, the couple graduated from college, had a church wedding, and drove in their red convertible into the sunset (directly from their wedding reception) toward San Antonio, Texas. Ben needed to attend basic training with the Air National Guard. Upon completing basic training, Ben taught only one year as a middle school teacher before Ben and Linda moved home to Lagrange, Ky. There he worked in the family business, Abbott Transfer Line and was also instrumental in starting the Chamber of Commerce of LaGrange with his good buddy from grade school, D. Kelley. He went on to have a distinguished 30+ year career with Chevron Oil Company and a beautiful family. He moved over a dozen times with the company following his career, forging and keeping friends along the way all over the country and world.
Despite a busy and successful professional career, Ben found time to give back to Kentucky Wesleyan. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1977-1993 and was President of the Alumni Association from 1975-76. He was instrumental in launching Wesleyan’s soccer program as a NCAA varsity sport, and continued to actively recruit prospective students to the College for many years, including several soccer players from Denmark, Finland, and Norway. His many accolades include being named an Outstanding Young Man of America in 1971, and ten years later, he was recognized by Kentucky Wesleyan College with the Outstanding Alumnus award. More recently, in 2016, Ben was inducted into the KWC Alumni Hall of Fame.
In addition to his time, Mr. Abbott contributed financially to Kentucky Wesleyan for over 50 continuous years, was a member of the President’s Circle, and the patriarch of the Abbott family’s legacy at the College. A laboratory in the Yu Hak Hahn Science Center is named in memory and thanks to his mother and father, Mr. & Mrs. Howard Abbott for sending him to KWC. Ben’s brother, Donald K. Abbott, is a member of the Class of 1970, his daughter, Dr. Cynthia Abbott, graduated from Wesleyan in 1987, and his grandson, Drew Thomasson is currently a student. To recognize the couple and their lifelong commitment to Wesleyan, the College named the “Ben and Linda “Eni” (Huffaker) Abbott Business Office,” located on the first floor of the Barnard-Jones Administration Building in their honor, while also recognizing them with a commemorative plaque in the Hocker-Hall Grove.
He retired (numerous times) to Towne Lake in Woodstock, Ga. He loved BBQ and became a judge for several BBQ events in Georgia. He also loved sports, especially golf. He was one of the founding members of the Wednesday Golf group, known as Old Centennial Golf Club in 1999. He served as an officer and organizer of the Stroke and Match Play Championship,as well as organizing golf excursions through the years. Ben played with several golf groups including Towne Lake Seniors, NW Ga Seniors, E Cobb Seniors, The Grasshoppers, and Georgia Seniors.
Ben’s last life chapter involved his battle with ALS. When he could no longer play golf, he continued to drive golf carts for his buddies. He was captain of the Trivia team, “Fairly Smart, ” and continued to be active in the Chevron Retirees group and his Sunday school class at Hillside UMC. He met several wonderful families through the ALS support groups he regularly attended, and their care and friendship meant a great deal to Ben and Linda.
Throughout his life, Ben was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Ben and Linda were sweethearts for 60+ wonderful years. He is survived by Linda of Woodstock, their two children: Justin Abbott (Laura) of Decatur, and Cynthia Abbott (Marty Thomasson) and their four grandchildren: Ian, Abby, Colin, and Drew of Atlanta; Ben's brother, Capt. Don K. Abbott ( Alpha) and nephews’ families: James (Susan), Jason (Jamie), and Jacob (Haley) of Nashville. The family wants to extend their gratitude to the caregivers of CaraVita Home Care and especially Daniel Adesinmilolu, who became a part of the family.
Ben's Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9th at 2:00 at Hillside Methodist Church in Woodstock, Georgia. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested the consideration of a donation to Kentucky Wesleyan College. A scholarship has been set up for a soccer team member. Donations can be made via https://kwc.edu/give/ (When asked "Designation," choose "Other," then type in Ben Howard Abbott Soccer Scholarship).
- Linda Antoinette Abbott, Wife
- Justin Abbott, Son
- Laura Abbott, Daughter in Law
- Cynthia Abbott, Daughter
- Marty Thomasson, Son in Law
- Ian Thomasson, Grandchild
- Abby Thomasson, Grandchild
- Colin Thomasson, Grandchild
- Drew Thomasson, Grandchild
- Capt. Don K. Abbott, Brother
- Alpha Abbott, Sister in Law
- James Abbott, Nephew
- Susan Abbott, Niece in Law
- Jason Abbott, Nephew
- Jamie Abbott, Niece in Law
- Jacob Abbott, Nephew
- Haley Abbott, Niece in Law
- Kentucky Wesleyan College
- Celebration of Life Saturday, February 9, 2019
- Reception & Visitation Saturday, February 9, 2019
Benjamin Howard Abbott
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February 2, 2019
Thoughts and prayers are with Justin and his family. Miles and time may separate us all, but the fabric of life connects us forever. As for Ben, I remember one thing: The smile. If you came in contact with Ben, you could count on the smile, every day, every time.
February 2, 2019
Ben and Linda opened their home to me when I was hired to teach in Somerset Kentucky.’1980-81 lived in their extra bedroom In their walk our basement. There was a pretty steep hill in the back were I parked my car (1976 nova I still have it). It wouldn’t start one Saturday morning after a big snow fall. Ben brought their Pacer and jumper cables down to start my car. I was sure he would never make it back up the hill in that little car of his. He started my car and had no trouble getting back up the hill. I, on the other hand. in that big heavy nova almost didn’t make it. He was always there to lend a hand. I always loved his smile. He could light up a room with that smile. He genuinely loved people and it showed. Fly my friend fly. ❤️
Greg and Rita Faber
February 2, 2019
Wonderful memories of Ben Abbott, but the best to us is that we knew Ben as a friend beyond compare. The world is short a saint but heaven is rejoicing! We know Ben’s watching his beautiful family and many friends from his new vantage point that Jesus reserved for him years ago. We celebrate a life extraordinary lived!