Reaching his goal of making it to 100, Edward Howard Abbe died April 16, catching the Vineyard southwest wind in his beloved Saba.

Ed was born on March 29, 1915 in Syracuse, N.Y. to Harry Allan Abbe and Elsie Mayhew Peck. After the death of his father in 1919, he and his brother Bill moved to Hampton, Va. to live with their maternal grandparents. Ed was sent to Rectory School in Connecticut in 1929 and graduated from Kent School in 1934. He received his B.S. from Yale in 1938 with a degree in electrical engineering. He was hired by General Electric before graduation but did not start working until 1939 because of the recession. Ed had aspired to rise to management level at G.E., but when told he needed to play golf to make it in management, he decide that creating things as an application engineer was more to his liking. He worked for G.E. for 36 years in the industrial control division, first in Schenectady, N,Y and then in Roanoke, Va. He received many patents for his designs, retiring at the age of 62 and continuing with consulting work for several more years.

Ed met his wife, Gladys Howard, in 1938 on the Queen Mary after graduating from Yale. Gladys was going to England to take a summer program at the Royal Academy of Music. They were seated together in the dining room for the whole trip and hit it off. They did manage to meet up for a few days before he returned to the United States. But they were not able to actually meet again until almost seven years later, just sending Christmas cards every year. Finally in 1945 Gladys came for a visit and they quickly decided that they wanted to get married. Much to the surprise of family and friends they married on July 22, 1945, barely five months after their seven year annual correspondence. Daughter Carolyn was born in 1946 and son David was adopted in 1950.

Aside from raising a family, they were active members of communities in Schenectady, Galway, Roanoke, and Oak Bluffs. Together they established group homes for alcoholics, non-profit organizations that gave funds and distributed household items for the disadvantaged. They also served on various boards and charitable groups over the years. Gladys died in 2004 but they enjoyed 59 years of marriage, just missing the 60 year mark

Throughout his life Ed had a love of sailboats, cars, and trains. He remembered every car he ever owned, lovingly recalling their features and faults and retaining all his sales receipts for the vehicles. He also had sailboats from a young age.

Ed spent all his summers on Martha’s Vineyard, a family tradition since the 1880s. The Vineyard loomed large in his life with sailing, swimming, and body surfing on the south shore. He only gave up body surfing at around age 87. In 1992 Ed and Gladys moved to the 1933 family cottage in Oak Bluffs. There Ed restored the gardens and gladly drove visitors around the Island, regaling them with stories of his youth and the history of the Vineyard.

His love of trains also started from a young age with large model train setups featured in most of his homes until the 1980s. His love of trains was such that he would go down to the tracks in Schenectady even as an adult to watch the Century Limited speed by.

Music was also a big part of his life and he had a large collection of music, starting with big band music from the 30s as well as his special love of organ music, an instrument he valiantly tried to master. But he did play the drums with energy and humor and along with Gladys on the piano, performed at senior centers, schools and hospitals for over 30 years. After Gladys died he still played the drums whenever given a chance. Ed and Gladys also enjoyed traveling together. They took more than 45 cruises and crossed the continent several times in their motor home, including one memorable trip to Disney World with their three young grandsons.

Ed was a devoted husband and kind and generous father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was a true gentleman with a sense of humor; he was not afraid to be silly and enjoyed donning his crazy hats or dancing to Tiptoe Through the Tulips. He took each of his grandchildren on trips they will always remember and took great joy and pride in the growing number of great-grandchildren. After Gladys died Ed decided to organize the family papers dating back to the mid-1800s. With the help of Lisa Lipshires he wrote three books, one family and personal history, one about Gladys, and one about his grandfather. The family papers were donated to the University of Massachusetts library archives

He was predeceased by his wife Gladys and his brother William. He is survived by his daughter Carolyn and husband Joseph Smith of Easthampton, his son David and wife Cynthia of Tampa, Fla., grandchildren Dakkan Abbe, Jedediah Smith, Nicholas Smith, Britta Newell and Nathan Abbe and their spouses, and six great-grandchildren. The family would like to thank all the staff of Lathrop Community in Easthampton for making his life there rich and fulfilling. and in the last few years for taking loving care of him. The family would especially like to thank his pal and aide Sarah for her devoted care, as well as all his wonderful caregivers at Lathrop.

In lieu of flowers gifts can be made to the charity of one’s choice. Funeral services were held April 19 at St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Easthampton. There will be a memorial party on the Vineyard this summer.