Family members develop bench to honor Abrahams



The memory of a longtime Hillsboro optometrist is being honored by his son-in-law on the Bethel College campus in North Newton.

Norman Epp, a Denver-area sculptor, created a limestone bench, the placement of which he directed June 4 in Memorial Grove on the Bethel campus.

Epp carved the bench following the death of his father-in-law, Norman Abrahams, this past January. The family of Ray Abrahams, Hillsboro, commissioned the bench.

Ray and Norman Abrahams were brothers.

Norman Abrahams spent his career as an optometrist in Hillsboro. He was born at Goessel in 1923 and was married to Ethel Ewert in 1944. She survives, along with daughters Nan (Doug) Graber, Monument, Colo., and Nadine Abrahams (Norman Epp), Wheat Ridge, Colo., and son Dwayne (Ruth Regier) Abrahams, Newton, as well as brothers Ray and Chuck Abrahams (also of Hillsboro), six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Norman Abrahams graduated from Bethel in 1949 and was a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of the college all his life. He was especially interested in Sand Creek Trail?he was a member of the committee that helped build and maintain the trail.

Epp?s bench uses a Canadian limestone slab embedded with fossils for the seat. These fossils are crinoids?animals that resemble flowers, with a cluster of arms atop a long stem.

Crinoids flourished up to 500 million years ago when shallow, marine environments blanketed much of North America.

The bench legs are carved from Silverdale limestone from Ark City?the same limestone used to construct the upper part of Bethel?s Administration Building.

Memorial Grove is located in the northeast corner of the Bethel College campus, past Thresher Stadium and the tennis courts, and is open to the public. It was established at the main trailhead of Sand Creek Trail in 2003 as an area for small groups to gather and as a place to memorialize individuals who have had a relationship with Bethel College.

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