John Harold Abell Jr., 63, Roman Catholic deacon

March 28, 2004

John Harold Abell Jr., a Roman Catholic deacon and retired mechanical engineer, died Tuesday at Anne Arundel Medical Center of complications from diabetes and congestive heart failure. He was 63 and lived in Harwood.

Born in Washington, Mr. Abell earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at the Catholic University of America in 1961.

He worked as a civilian for the Navy for 35 years at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at White Oak where he managed a section before his early retirement in 1994.

In 1984, Mr. Abell was ordained a deacon of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He was on the church's deacon personnel board for two years and was a procurator advocate for the Baltimore marriage tribunal for many years, said his wife of 42 years, the former Patricia Clark.

After his family she said, his greatest love was serving as a deacon - celebrating baptisms especially - at Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in West River, where he served until his death.

Mr. Abell also was a charter member of the South County Council of the Knights of Columbus, serving as associate chaplain, and he volunteered as a tax preparer for the elderly.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Friday at Our Lady of Sorrows church.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by six sons, John H. Abell III of Edgewater, James S. Abell of Crownsville, Joseph E. Abell of Harwood, Jeffery E. Abell of Ellicott City, Jerome T. Abell of Edgewater, and Justin C. Abell of Millersville; four daughters, Audrey A. Bernard of Pylesville, Martha J. Gagnon of Mechanicsville, Patricia A. Schwenk of Upper Marlboro,and Kelly M. Abell of Harwood; a sister, Mary Anne Groat of Leonardtown; and 17 grandchildren.

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