Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 15, 2013

A Wa-Nee treasure honored

Dr. Robert ‘Doc’ Abel has served Nappanee, Wakarusa for many years


WAKARUSA — “Going to my  job every day is not work. It’s my passion!”

“Being tired is just in your mind. Get up and get going.”

“Love what you do or find something else that you love.”

“Tired? I will sit down and rest when I am dead.”

These are just a few of the favorite sayings of Dr. Robert “Doc” Abel, a longtime fixture in the Nappanee-Wakarusa communities, physician and supporter of the Wa-Nee Schools.

Abel was recognized for his more than six decades of service to those same communities on Sunday as school officials renamed the football field at NorthWood Middle School after him.

School officials unveiled a plaque with Abel’s portrait that will be erected at the newly renamed facility as an obviously moved Abel watched.

Later, Abel tried to deflect credit to the community for many of the things he’s done over the years.

“I’m very surprised to get this,” Abel said. “I don’t deserve it, really ... It’s really an honor for me.”

Abel, a longtime physician, has delivered more than 10,000 babies over the years. He has served as team doctor for NorthWood athletics over the years and served on the Wa-Nee school board for 34 years.

“This is the greatest community anyone could work in,” Abel added. “What a thrill to live and work in a community like this.”

Molly Roeder, one of Abel’s grandchildren, told stories of going along on house calls with her grandfather, and later that he encouraged her to become an educator.

Mark BeMiller, Wakarusa Town Council President, said the honor was a fitting one for a man who has done much for Wa-Nee Schools over many years.

“He really is tireless,” BeMiller said.