Stanley E. Abelson, a former seasonal Edgartown resident, died peacefully at home in Philadelphia on March 5, less than a week from his 94th birthday.

He was born in 1923 in New York city, where he and his late sister Lillian grew up. He graduated from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and started his retailing career on the executive training squad with Macy’s, New York. After beginning his career at Macy’s, he served in the Army during World War II and the Korean War as a First Lieutenant. He had previously told his mother that he would become the president of Macy’s, and he spent 32 years rising through the ranks to do just that when he became both president and chief executive officer.

He, Dorothy, and their family moved to Philadelphia in 1975 when he became the president and CEO of Lit Brothers. In 1983, Stanley became the chairman and CEO of Gimbels East, which included the Gimbels divisions in both New York and Philadelphia. As described so well in a note sent among his former co-workers at Gimbels earlier this week, “Mr. Abelson was an outstanding merchant, an astute businessman, and an even greater leader, mentor, and friend to all who had the good fortune to work with him. His passion for the business and his keen intellect were evident to all who met him.  He was proud of his team at Gimbels Philadelphia ... we all knew that the special environment and culture [there] ... were a direct reflection of his leadership and compassion for his people.”

Perhaps equally important to him were his community service efforts, among them being his memberships over the years on the boards of the school district of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Moore College of Art and Design, and the Seaman’s Church Institute (with apologies for not listing all of the other organizations with which he was involved).

In the 1950s he and Dorothy began spending time on the Vineyard, where Dorothy’s brother and sister in law, Arthur and Nancy Young, ran the Harborside Inn for years. In 1987 Stanley and Dorothy purchased a home on Edgartown Bay Road where they spent all their summers until 2014, when the house was sold. There was nothing they enjoyed more than looking out the back of the house at Katama Bay.

Stanley was the loving husband of Dorothy for more than 66 years; the beloved father of Ned Abelson and his wife Maureen, Matt Abelson and his wife Julie, and Ann Patrizio and her husband Chris; and grandfather of seven wonderful grandchildren, each of whom he loved very much.

Always committed to the importance of education, he was a compassionate and very bright man until the day he died. He will be greatly missed by those who knew him and many who did not.

A private memorial service to celebrate his life is planned for April. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Philadelphia Orchestra, One South Broad Street, 14th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107, which he and Dorothy enjoyed together very much, or the Pennsylvania Hospital, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Arrangements are under care of The Oliver H. Bair Co., 215-563-1580.