Morrie Kaplan Abramson passed away on Monday, the 12th of November, 2018 in Houston at the age of 83. He was born in Houston on the 28th of December, 1934, the son of the late Albert Abramson and Pearl Kaplan Abramson.
He was so loved, and is survived by his wife of 56 years, Rolaine Segal Abramson; their children, Karen Abramson Selzer, Beth Abramson; and three grandchildren: Morgan and Cory Selzer, and Matthew K. Abramson; a sister, Renee Abramson Spolane; a brother, Jay Abramson and his wife Joan, a sister-in-law, Cerie Segal; and his much-loved nieces, nephews and cousins.
Morrie was admired for his compassion, kindness, generosity, loyalty, affection, wisdom, integrity, charisma, and incredible sense of humor. He always wanted people to laugh. He taught Rolaine how to laugh at herself, as he laughed at himself. He spoke to people in a language they understood. Although his success in business was legendary, he never seemed to be impressed with himself. He taught people to expect more of themselves than they thought possible. His business and community endeavors, as great as they were, never interfered with his family time, especially traveling the world with Rolaine, Karen, Beth, Morgan, Cory and Matthew. One of the highlights of his life was completing the New York Marathon with his cousin, Ronnie Finger.
Morrie graduated from San Jacinto High School and the University of Houston. Morrie began his career at Sterling Electronics, ultimately becoming Executive Vice President and Director. In 1973, he founded Kent Electronics which became the largest specialty electronics distributor and network integrator in America. Kent Electronics was listed on the Nasdaq, the American Stock Exchange and ultimately, the New York Stock Exchange. Avnet Electronics acquired Kent in 2001, allowing Morrie the time to pursue his other passions.
Morrie devoted himself to family, friends and community. He served some of the finest institutions in Houston. He served on the Boards of Allied Bank and Texas Commerce Bank. He founded and served as Chairman of the Prostate Cancer Research Initiative, and The Abramson Center for the Future of Health. Morrie and Rolaine joined with Marvy and Elaine Finger to create the Abramson-Finger Scholars in the Masters of Clinical Translation Management Program at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in partnership with the University of St. Thomas. He served as Vice Chairman of the Baylor College of Medicine Board. In addition, he served on the boards of the Houston Methodist Hospital System, the Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation, the Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute, the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute National Council, The University of Texas Health Science Center, and the Menninger Clinic Foundation.
He proudly served as Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Houston, and the University of Houston Bauer College of Business Advisory Board. He also served many other local civic, charitable, and philanthropic organizations, including the Greater Houston Community Foundation Board, the Board of the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Police Foundation Board, and the Houston Technology Center.
Morrie received the “Outstanding Alumnus Award” from the University of Houston Bauer College of Business, and was honored as “Alumnus of the Year” by the University of Houston’s Alumni Organization. He was the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s, prestigious “Torch of Liberty” Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Technology Center.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Morrie’s memory may be made to Quality Life Limb Salvage Sarcoma Fund (LCORP) at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486, Congregation Beth Israel, or to a charity of your choice.
The world is a dimmer place without Morrie; he will be missed every day.