Abe Oberlin, age 90, passed away at his home in Ashland, Ore., on January 29, 2012, with his wife, Nancy J. Bringhurst, present. Born to Harry and Jennie Osofsky on October 24, 1921, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Abe was the oldest of eight children. Abe took on familial responsibility early.
He continued throughout his life to assume the role of provider and wise confidant for many. Abe was a successful and influential businessman. His first job, and favorite story, was in the 1930s delivering singing telegrams on his bicycle for Western Union, despite the fact he was tone deaf.
As a communication officer in the Army Air Corps, Abe was stationed on an island in the Pacific before being shipped to Japan. After the war, Abe graduated from CCNY with an accounting degree.
Though his brother Meyer founded Aileen, Inc., a New York City based knitwear company, Abe soon joined the business. During the four decades the business operated, Abe served at various times as chairman of the board, president, and CEO. The Aileen logo with a red "I" soon became iconic in the fashion industry, trading on the New York Stock Exchange. He was known for his strong values and uncompromising work ethics.
Abe was also known for his love of life and adventuresome spirit. He flew his own plane cross-country many times. In his late 70s, he took up gliding. Sailing, skiing and hiking were a big part of his life.
Forever the entrepreneur, with faith in the three Amarotico brothers' dream, Abe became a founding partner of Standing Stone Brewing Company. His love of life included love of good food, and he and his wife Nancy could often be seen at their favorite table.
Continuing his legacy of joie de vivre are his children and their spouses, Linda Bodner (Bruce), Shelley Maschwitz (Peter), Carole Richner (Donald), Elizabeth Kessler (Bryan); and stepchildren, Daniel Stoudt (Cindy), Donald Stoudt, David Stoudt (LuAnn). Abe was predeceased by sons, Bruce Oberlin and Jeremy Oberlin. His family includes siblings, Meyer Osofsky, Herman Osofsky (Audrey), Annette Goldberg, Fran Gold and Joseph Osofsky. He was predeceased by siblings, Dr. Stephen Osofsky and Estelle Singer. Abe leaves six grandchildren, seven stepgrandchildren, a great-granddaughter, and a step great-granddaughter. His former wife, Mildred Kelberman, also survives him.
Abe was a quiet, modest man. His integrity and generosity have been an inspiration to many. Respected, admired and loved, his influence will be deeply missed. His legacy lives on far beyond his DNA.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Sunday, February 26, at 2:30 at the Community Center, 59 Winbum Way, Ashland, OR.
Contributions may be made to Ashland Emergency Food Bank or the Jackson County Fuel Committee.