Frank A. Abbott

FRANK A. “CHICK” ABBOTT was born June 2, 1896 in Camden NJ to Italian parents, Antonio and Arsola Abbatto. An athletic youth, he enjoyed boxing, and considered boxing, but did not turn pro. He received several minor league contract offers, but elected to stay close to home, and stuck to semi-pro ball with several clubs in and around Camden. By 1915 he had married Florence Smith, and had fathered two of his eight children. He was then working as a plasterer in the home construction industry, a common trade in the days before the manufacture of sheet rock. The Abbott family then lived at 919 South 4th Street in Camden, they later moved to a home at 346 Cherry Street in what was then Camden’s 5th Ward. Frank Abbott would reside in this home the rest of his life.

Entering politics as a Democrat, he became Democratic Ward Leader in the Fifth Ward in 1926. When the Democrats came to power in 1936, he became a Deputy Commissioner of the City of Camden. He joined the city as a City Commissioner in 1941 after the sudden and unexpected passing of Commissioner Henry Magin. Frank Abbott replaced Magin as Director of Public Works, and was reelected to the City Commission in 1943, 1947, 1951, 1955 and 1959. He was a close friend and long-time political ally of Mayor George Brunner. Other associates included Judge Gene R. Mariano, Judge Anthony M. Lario, Democratic activist Lena Rago, and one-time Camden County Deputy Sheriff Dominick Lombardo.

On April 10, 1958 Frank Abbott was named “Man of the Year” by the Veteran’s Boxing Association Ring 6, based in Camden NJ. His guests that night were a virtual who’s who of Camden’s political and social life. He was a speaker at the 1959 Veterans’ Boxing Association Ring 6 banquet when Sergeant Ray Smith was similarly honored.

Frank Abbott passed away in February of 1969. Frank Abbott’s first cousin, Rocco Abbott, served for over 20 years as a member of the Camden Fire Department.

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