Abe Ispas

Feb. 11, 1934 – June 26, 2006

Abraham Lincoln Ispas, 72, died June 26, 2006 at his home, surrounded by those who loved him, after a hard and courageous battle with a glioblastoma brain tumor.

Born in Centerline, Mich., Mr. Ispas was the sixth of eight children born to Alex and Mary Ispas. He often joked that while his mother had nine months to think of a name, she named him Abraham Lincoln because he arrived Feb. 11, five minutes before Lincoln’s birthday.

His family moved to Pasadena, Calif., while he was still a child. They bought a residential hotel, which provided the setting and characters for one of the novels he would eventually write.

Mr. Ispas lived most of his adult life in California. He married Sharon Gibson in 1954 and had a daughter, Leslie Elana Ispas. They later divorced.

In 1983, Mr. Ispas married Kerrilyn Collins and became dad to Kerrilyn’s son, David. Ten years later, when illness forced Mr. Ispas into early retirement, he and Kerrilyn moved from Sierra Madre, Calif., to Sweet Home. Kerrilyn died in 1996.

Having grown up in the Romanian Baptist Church, Abe converted to the Catholic faith in 1997. He became a member of St. Helens in Sweet Home, where he met and married Gayle Chiaffino, adding Gayle’s five children to his brood.

Mr. Ispas’ work as vice president of new program development for DataTape Inc. gave him the opportunity to travel not only around the country, but to Europe, England and Japan as he worked with the military and CIA in developing recording equipment. It also provided material used in another of his novels.

While he enjoyed traveling, his favorite pastime was spending time at the computer, working on his novels. He had five completed and was working on a sixth when his illness made it to difficult to write. He enjoyed spending time outside in his yard.

Mr. Ispas will best be remembered by his family as a loving father and wonderful husband. His heart was big and knew no “steps” when it came to his children and grandchildren. He loved them all equally and without bound. His children and their friends knew they could come to him for advice and support.

His grandchildren knew that “Papa” always had room on his lap for someone who needed a story read to them. His standard morning greeting was the “Good Morning Song.” As long as he was able to drive, he enjoyed taking the little ones to Little Promises for school and picking them up again. He valued their hugs and kisses right up to the end.

Mr. Ispas was a quiet man, strong in his opinions, generous in spirit and optimistic in his outlook. He was fair in his assessment of people and creative in his business dealings. One of the family’s favorite examples of his creativity was acquiring the beloved family dog, Liberty Belle, as a deposit on one of his rentals.

Mr. Ispas is survived by his wife, Gayle, of Sweet Home; children and spouses, Leslie Ispas of Plainville, N.Y., David Collins of Beaverton, Leanna West of Sweet Home, Joseph and Misti Chiaffino of Bremerton, Wash., Will Chiaffino of Oklahoma City, Okla., Michael Chiaffino and fiancée Desiree Hoffman of Sweet Home, and Katie and Rich Silver of Sweet Home; and 10 grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters, Vicky Labay of Sun City, Calif., Marie Naidis of Bend, Lillian Dodson of Huntington, N.Y., Margie Frazier of Gold Beach; and brothers, David of Medford and Bill of Rainbow, Calif.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Alex; and grandson Alan Milton.

A funeral Mass was held June 30 at St. Helen Catholic Church with interment at Gilliland

Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Mr. Ispas’ name to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice or St. Helen Catholic Church Sacramental Fund.

Workman & Steckly Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements.