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Glynn Abel: Living Memorial Established in the Athletic Network

Lafayette mourns passing of E. Glynn Abel

Lafayette has lost one of its most beloved citizens. E. Glynn Abel, probably best known for his many years as dean of men at UL when it was SLI and later USL, has died of cancer at the age of 94.
There are compelling stories, in great abundance, about this remarkable man. While a student, he was a star athlete at what is now UL. He lettered in football, baseball and track and was chosen as a Little All-American in 1938.

While a Naval officer in World War II, he was once in charge of cargo transported through the waters of the Pacific. He later learned that he had been looking after an atomic bomb – slated for use against Japan.

When he returned from World War II, there were many veterans on campus and people wondered if they could be disciplined and forced to follow the rules. Abel achieved that. He made special assistants of some of the toughest veterans of the big war. They kept the peace.
Abel, as dean of men, played a major role in the peaceful integration of the school. When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, certain public officials refused to lower the courthouse flag to half-staff. Black students marched to the courthouse but were met by, among others, a city police officer with a loaded riot gun. The students began a march back to the university, their anger growing to match the pain of losing King. By the time they reached the campus, many were ready to return to the courthouse and take whatever risk was necessary to bring the flag to half-staff. Lafayette has never been closer to a deadly riot.

Fortunately, Abel was waiting on campus, and in his gentle, kindly way, talked them down from that level so near to violence.

An outstanding amateur golfer, Abel hit eight holes-in-one and a double eagle. Two of the aces came after he was legally blind. He couldn’t see the ball, so a companion in white shoes would put his foot alongside it. Abel needed nothing else for his setup. The foot was withdrawn, and Abel’s masterful swing connected solidly with the ball.

While at the university, then later in his job as manager of the Lafayette Municipal Auditorium (now known as the Heymann Center for the Performing Arts), and in his lively years of retirement, he brought a caring nature and incredible energy and enthusiasm to projects that made the community better.

Among other honors, he was an early president of the Beavers Club, president of the Dean of Men’s Association for a five-state area, chairman of the mayor’s committee on youth and director of community affairs. He won the Civic Cup in 1989.

All who knew him felt richly blessed by his kindness, generosity and community concern. He belongs on the list of Lafayette legends.

Daily Advertiser, March 29, 2008

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Glynn Abel Living Memorial
Please email your fond memores, stories, etc. about Glynn Abel 
to the Athletic Network at athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu  Please include your email address or other contact information.  These will be placed in his profile on the Athletic Network website as they are received.

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LAFAYETTE – Funeral services will be held at a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial, Saturday, Mar. 29, 2008, in the Delhomme Chapel of the flowers, for Edgar "Glynn" Able, 94, who passed away Saturday, Mar. 22, 2008, at Lafayette General Medical Center.

Interment will take place in Lafayette Memorial Park.

The family requests visiting hours be observed Friday from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. and continue Saturday from 8 a.m. until the time of service.

Personal condolences may be sent to the Abel family at www.delhommefuneralhome.com.

Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette is in charge of funeral arrangements.

Daily Advertiser Published on March 27, 2008.

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E. Glynn Abel: Friends remember Abel as good man, leader

Longtime dean made positive impact at UL

E. Glynn Abel was remembered this week as an outstanding athlete, university and community leader, mentor to young people, and "just a plain, good man."

The longtime dean of men at UL (when it was SLI and USL) died Saturday of cancer. He was 94 years old and active until only a week before his death.

Abel, a winner of the Lafayette Civic Cup in 1989, came from a large family in rural Carroll County, Miss., attended junior college in Mississippi, then came to SLI in the late 1930s.

He made his name as one of the finest athletes to play for the school, lettering in football, baseball and track. He was a triple-threat halfback in the single-wing football attack and was named a Little All-American in 1938.

He said in a radio interview several years ago that he got to Lafayette by accident. He was on his way to the University of Utah to play football there when he stopped to visit an old friend in Lafayette. The friend talked him into staying and playing football for SLI.

That, friends say, was Lafayette’s gain.

"He was just a wonderful human being who never had an unkind word for anyone," remembers banker Buddy Webb, a friend of 20 years or more. "He was a pillar of the community."

"There isn’t a person I’ve met in this town who didn’t know Glynn, and every one of them had something good to say about him."

"He was always a leader," according to Margaret McMillan, who knew Abel since their undergraduate days at SLI. "He got things done and was successful at whatever he did."

She remembered him as "a thoughtful and kind person" who went out of his way to help others.

McMillan, who was on the faculty at the time, and others credited Abel with a leading role in the peaceful integration of the university in 1954, making it the first Louisiana college to end racial segregation.

After graduating in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry, Abel stayed at SLI as assistant dean of men, leaving only during World War II, when he served as a naval officer in the Pacific Theater.

He returned to SLI in 1945 to become dean of men and held that position until 1969, when he retired from the university and became manager of the Lafayette Municipal Auditorium (now the Heymann Performing Arts Center) and later served as Lafayette’s Director of Community Affairs.

Longtime friends Red Dumesnil and Red Lerille remembered that Abel was also a supporter of the so-called "minor sports" at the university.

"When he was dean of men, he used to take the tennis team on trips," Dumesnil recalled. Lerille said he was also sponsor of the university’s national championship weightlifting team.

"He was quite a guy," Dumesnil said.

He was active in a variety of civic affairs, serving as president of the Beaver’s Club of Lafayette, chairman of the mayor’s committee on youth, a member of the governor’s commission on higher education, president of Dean of Men’s Association for five-state area and of the Louisiana Dean of Men’s Association.

Webb said that when he visited Abel during his last hospital stay, the avid golfer (who shot at least eight holes-in-one) told him (in jest), "I said I wanted to be buried on a Saturday so that it would mess up everyone’s golf game."

"Actually," McMillan said, "He wanted a Saturday funeral to be sure that his friends would be able to travel and come to it without having to take a day off work. He was thoughtful even in death."





Funeral services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Delhomme Funeral Home chapel on Bertrand Drive. Visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. until the time of services Saturday.

E. Glynn Abel photo gallery

Daily Advertiser, March 27, 2008

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Former Dean of Men "Dean Abel"  passed away this morning (15th).  Information on funeral arrangements will be posted when they are finalized. Glynn was an outstanding athlete in Baseball, Footbll, and Track & Field and a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame.  Beloved by all who knew him, he served as Dean of Men during the integration of the university.  Potential problems were minimized because of his leadership and the great respect people had for him.

The Athletic Network extends its condolences to the Abel family.

Abel, Lowry, and Ory arrive at the first 2002 home football game courtesy of Bob Fornet’s Taxi service

Glynn Abel at the Red Jackets Reunion on March 26-27, 2004

Warren Perrin, Glynn Abel, George Weatherford at 2006 Ragin’ Cajuns Lettermen’s Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony


Sid Ory "Mr. Ragin’ Cajun" and Glynn Abel
Courtesy Buddy Short, Friend & Neighbor

Goodbye Old Friend by Buddy Short  March 22, 2008

Today I said goodbye to an Old Friend and neighbor of 35 years. He really liked his yard and would come by my house often to check out the blooms on my hibiscus babies. He was truly an amazing person and, because of his age, I affectionately called him, "Old Fossil". He was 96.

Because he liked my plants so much I thought you would bear with me this one time as I told you "our" favorite hibiscus story.

He would come by occasionally on his way to a nursing home down the street from our home to visit with, in his words, "those old people!". One day I had picked a bloom off of one of my plants and had it sitting on my desk. When he saw it he said the same thing we have all heard when people see our beauties. "Holy Cow, what is this one?" I said, "why don’t you take this bloom with you and show it to some of those ‘young girls’ over there? You might make some points" From the look on his face he must have really liked my idea. Later he told me, "He was a total smash!" One day I said to him, "today, why don’t you take an entire tray of blooms and put on a show?" He was blown away by my offer. I quickly made up 2 trays of blooms, named each one with little tags, and even wrote out some verbiage about each bloom. All he had to do was read what I had written. He reviewed my words and informed me that he was ready! I then told him that I was willing to do this under one condition. He had to take credit for the blooms as thought they were his. Reluctantly he agreed. It was our little secret but he had to come by after with "a report".  When it was all over he came by and, by the smile on his face, he really didn’t have to say anything. He was a big hit and we never told them otherwise!

As a small tribute to him I offer the following 2 pictures. He loved our University and was one of it’s biggest "spirit" supporters.  Our University colors are red and white and there was nothing cuter for me than watching he and my other neighbor, age 87, slowly heading down our street in their red jackets with white pants on their way to yet another function to support "the Ragin Cajuns!". I believe they would have both liked these pictures……

Goodbye Old Friend…………Young Fossil Buddy


Glynn Abel Living Memorial
Please email your fond memores, stories, etc. about Glynn Abel  to the Athletic Network at athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu  Please include your email address or other contact information.  These will be placed in his profile on the Athletic Network website as they are received.