Chicago – Jewel Fischman Abt, who founded area retailer Abt Electronics 67 years ago with husband David Abt, died early this month. She was 96.
The Abts started out in 1936 selling radios in a storefront in Logan Square using her life savings of $800. ‘It was her idea and her money,’ said her son, Robert Abt.
The retail business grew from that tiny store in Logan Square, relocating to increasingly larger stores, culminating in the current megastore in Glenview, which opened in 2002. Mrs. Abt remained active in the business into her 70s.
Born in Hungary, she was six when her family immigrated to the United States. She graduated from Tuley High School, got a two-year degree in accounting from Crane Junior College and worked in her family’s grocery business, which by that time included several neighborhood stores.
She married David Abt in 1934 and started the business two years later.
Her husband was hit by a car in 1984 and greatly reduced his time at the store until his death in 1996. Her son and four grandsons now run the business, which she continued to visit throughout retirement.
‘She was a goodwill ambassador,’ her son Robert said. ‘People liked her.’
Mrs. Abt is also survived by two daughters, Diane Abt and Beverly Rosenberg; six grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.