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Welcome to the memorial page for

Mr. Melvin Stuart Abel

April 17, 1929 ~ February 22, 2019 (age 89)

Melvin Stuart Abel, son of the late Jepsie and Ira Bookert Abel, was born on April 17, 1929 in Columbia, South Carolina. He peacefully departed this life on Friday, February 22, 2019 in Dallas, Texas.

Educated at Sarah Nance Elementary, he continued his schooling at Booker T. Washington High School where he graduated in 1946. He attended Hampton Institute (University) where he received his training as tailor and later attended Allen University. Desiring to practice law and support constitutional legal advancement of disenfranchised people, he was briefly enrolled in the only law school in South Carolina that would admit black students, the South Carolina State University School of Law at South Carolina State University before its closing and the integration of the University of South Carolina. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1950 and served until 1952, where he served in the Korean War and in the 82nd Airborne Division.

As a licensed tailor he operated a small business in Columbia that substantially produced Bespoke Menswear. He later joined Lourie’s Department Store where he worked for over 30 years, followed by additional work for clothiers and entities like Owen & Paul and S&K. Within tailoring Melvin was regarded as a specialist in fabric, particularly its dye capacity, weaving and restoration and was sought by different customers for this uncommon restorative skill. His alterations reputation was exceptional enough that he was regularly called to work on clothing for public figures and celebrities when they entertained in South Carolina, maybe most famously, Janet Jackson.

Melvin was so expert at his craft that he taught tailoring for many years to protégées at Denmark Technical College, in Denmark, South Carolina.

A true sports advocate, he enjoyed all sports and if Venus, Serena or Tiger Woods was on TV, one was sure to obey the rule of “don't bother him”. His favorite teams included the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Carolina Panthers. It was widely known that he was an incredible and life-long fan of the Clemson Tigers for which he collected substantial championship memorabilia.

He was active with the NAACP and later the Elks Lodge. He was a lover of natural beauty, history, horticulture, and ornithology and he amassed a jazz vinyl collection only accorded connoisseurs of the genre.

He was preceded in death by seven brothers and three sisters.

Melvin leaves to mourn his passing: two daughters, Tami L. Abel of Dallas, Texas, and Teri O. Abel of Columbia, South Carolina; one sister, Marian Abel Jones of Dallas, Texas; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. 


In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation that provides care and services to individuals living with dementia.

Donations by check can be made payable to The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and mailed to:

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

322 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10001

Donations can also be made by phone at 866-232-8484.

 Service Information

Funeral Service
March 2, 2019

12:00 PM
St. Paul Baptist Church
4517 North Main Street
Columbia, SC 29203


Palmetto Cemetery
5050 Fairfield Road
Columbia, SC 29203

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