Isabel R. Abell, 89, co-owner of Govans bar

February 23, 2000

Isabel R. Abell, former co-owner of the Hollow Bar and Grill in Govans, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at St. Joseph Medical Center. She was 89 and lived in Towson.

In the 1940s, Mrs. Abell and her husband, William Harry Abell, whom she married in 1930, became co-owners of the Hollow Bar and Grill on the southeast corner of York Road and Northern Parkway.

They operated the popular tavern, which is today known as the Swallow at the Hollow, until the 1950s, when they sold the business.

The former Isabel Roddy was born in Baltimore and raised in a house at 21st Street and Greenmount Avenue. She was descended from a long line of publicans who immigrated to Baltimore in the 1880s from County Roscommon in Ireland.

Her great-grandfather, Bernard Roddy, and his five brothers operated taverns in the Oldtown section of Baltimore for many years.

The former Govans resident was a graduate of the St. Ann Commercial School and worked as a secretary for System Brakes in Baltimore before her marriage.

"She was very proud of her Irish heritage and enjoyed singing Irish songs around a piano bar," said a daughter, Patricia Marie Cahill of Towson.

She was a communicant of Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd., where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today.

She is also survived by another daughter, Mary Veronica Gambrill of Towson; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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