My Friend Abe Diamond z"l
By BaltimoreJewishLife.com/Moshe Schecter
Posted on 01/17/11
Abe Diamond, z"l, passed away 26 years ago today, 13 Shvat. I still miss him - his humility - his guidance - his intelligence - his warmth - his sense of humor - the list can go on and on.
I was a few years younger than Abe - It may have been in my first year of college and I often met Abe on Strathmore Avenue on the way to Shomrei Emunah. Most married men would have very little patience for a college kid but Abe and I always had common areas of interest- photography, business, theater to name a few. Our friendship grew over the years and we continued to discuss these common interests.
His business was growing (eventually it became Food-A-Rama - the second or third largest chain of supermarkets in the State of Maryland), yet he always would find the time to talk and explain what was going in the business. I never knew from Abe how big the business really was because he was so modest.
Abe also loved technology. I remember him explaining about single lens reflex cameras and why one camera was better than another. He had the first satellite dish I ever saw - it was this monstrous green dish that was the size of his back yard - he would rotate it by remote control to pick up TV signals from across the US. I, of course, could not understand how this worked, but he understood all the technology. There is no doubt in my mind that if Abe were alive today he would not only understand all of today's technology but, more importantly, understand the shortcomings of each technological advance in order to predict the new technology that would correct the shortcomings in prior technology. He was always a step or two ahead of the rest of the world when to came to that confusing field.
But all the above has more to do with what Abe did and what he enjoyed - it has nothing to do with who he was. Eventually I married and our wives became friendly; my oldest and his youngest were both girls the same age. Our families grew close and I watched Abe spend time with his kids and how he enjoyed playing with them. Our families spent many a Sunday afternoon in the Diamond pool on Marnat Road - swimming, barbeques, and spending quality time with our wives, children, and parents. He was always willing to help me with anything needed - whether it was mechanical or emotional.
I remember his final illness and the courage in which he dealt with it. He maintained a positive attitude and tried to shield his parents from the depth of his illness, but we all knew, though left unspoken, that they understood. The experimental treatments that left his legs swollen and his body weak never weakened his resolve to try and beat the disease that took him so quickly, and entirely too early, from us.
Abe was kind, smart, a loving husband, father and son - he understood his role and responsibility in the community and never shirked from it.
What is unique for me is how I see Abe live on through his children. Michael - the lover of photography, technology and business; Jeremy - quietly has become a successful businessman; Cheryl - independent and strong.
I'm sure Abe is looking down on his family and shepping nachas from his children and grandchildren. I hope he knows how much his family - Adrian, his mother, brothers and sister and his friends - Kenny Breitbart, Jackie Spivack, and I - still remember him and miss him.