Dr. Gerald D. Abrams

Dr. Gerald D. Abrams, 85, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, died on 07 October 2017.

The Funeral was held at Beth Israel Congregation of Ann Arbor on Tuesday, 10 October 2017 at 12:00 PM.

Rabbi Robert Dobrusin officiated.

Click here to watch a video of the recorded service.

Interment at Beth Israel Memorial Garden in Arborcrest Cemetery, 2521 Glazier Way, Ann Arbor MI 48105.
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The family of Dr. Gerald D. Abrams will be gathering through the evening of Wednesday, October 11 at the residence of Marilyn and Martin Lindenaur, 2228 Belmont, Ann Arbor Mi 48104 . Due to the festival of Sukkot, there will be no religious services held. Immediately following the interment, the family has asked for privacy. Friends are welcome on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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Family members include:
Beloved husband of 63 years of Gloria Abrams; Cherished father of Kathryn (William Kell) Abrams and Nancy (Christopher) Deyo; Loving grandpa of Eli Kell-Abrams and Maya Kell-Abrams; Dear brother of Joan (the late Theodore) Sachs; Devoted son of the late Arthur and the late Esther Abrams; Loving uncle of Andrea Sachs and Jeffrey (Sonia) Sachs.

Gerald D. Abrams, Professor of Pathology, emeritus, at University of Michigan Medical School, died October 7, at age 85. For more than five decades, Dr. Abrams made an indelible mark on the Medical School, as a keen diagnostician, skilled researcher, and beloved teacher of nearly 10,000 medical students.

The son of Arthur and Esther (Kushner) Abrams, Dr. Abrams found science early. Growing up in Detroit, he loved tinkering with clocks, appliances and radios, figuring out their function. After starting out in the electrical curriculum at Cass Technical High School, he switched to the science-biology curriculum and never looked back. At Cass Tech, he also met his future wife, Gloria (Turner), whom he married in 1954.

Following pre-med studies at Wayne State University, Dr. Abrams earned his cum laude medical degree from the U-M in 1955. He remained at the U-M for his internship and his residency in Pathology, a specialty choice rooted in his lifelong fascination with how things work. He was appointed to the faculty in 1959, and then, after 2 years of military service, returned to spend his entire career at Michigan.

In his early years on the faculty, Dr. Abrams conducted basic research studies focused on the biological importance of the normal intestinal microflora, pioneering studies of what is now recognized as the microbiome. He then turned his attention to diagnostic pathology, becoming one of this institution’s senior surgical pathologists, with a special expertise in gastrointestinal and cardiovascular pathology. Throughout his career, Dr. Abrams was also deeply involved in the oversight, design and delivery of the medical curriculum.

A cherished teacher and devoted mentor, Dr. Abrams was honored with U-M and national teaching awards. In recognition of his exceptional contributions as a teacher, a lecture hall in the Medical School was named in his honor. “For generations of medical students, Dr. Abrams’ pathology lectures were their introduction to the world of medicine. These memorable lectures set the standard for faculty excellence,” says James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., dean of the U-M Medical School.

The Gerald D. Abrams Collegiate Professorship was established in 2014, through donations from former medical students and residents in honor of Dr. Abrams’ teaching career, as well as through gift funds from the Department of Pathology. Of this professorship, Dr. Abrams mused, “It’s wonderful, but in a way, strange; being honored for a career that consisted only of doing exactly what I wanted, and having immense fun doing it.”

Dr. Abrams shared with his wife Gloria a passion for travel, which began with a 1972 sabbatical spent in Paris, France. This shared experience led to a life of world travel and love of local art and culture, taking them to many continents, and lasting into their 80s. They were also avid art collectors, concert-goers, and supporters of the University Musical Society.

Dr. Abrams is survived by his wife of 63 years, Gloria; his daughters Kathy (William Kell) Abrams and Nancy (Chris) Deyo; his grandchildren Eli Kell-Abrams and Maya Kell-Abrams; his sister Joan Sachs, niece Andrea Sachs, and nephew Jeffrey (Sonia) Sachs.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that gifts be made to the Gerald D. Abrams Endowed Professorship, at the University of Michigan. For more information, please call 734-764-6777, or visit the website at

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