Abell was born in Houston on Jan. 19, 1932, to Julia Weathers and Joseph Miles Abell of Houston and Austin.
He attended St. Thomas High School, class of 1950, and Texas A&M University, class of 1954, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Ross Volunteers. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1957 from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He served his internship and his surgery and orthopaedic surgery residencies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Abell moved to Austin in 1962 and founded Austin Orthopaedic Clinic, practicing orthopaedic surgery through 2007. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991.
He was a member of St. Austin Catholic Church for half a century and also was a Eucharistic minister for 23 years.
Abell was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He also was a member of the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Surgical Society, Frederick A. Coller Surgical Society, American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons and the Wilderness Medical Society. He was president of the Travis County Medical Society in 1989, president of the Texas Orthopaedic Association in 1994 and president of the Texas Medical Association Foundation Board of Trustees from 1997 to 1998. He also was a member of many other national and international professional organizations. In addition, he authored 59 publications and made 65 formal presentations in eight states and nine foreign countries.
In 1998, he was named Physician of the Year and awarded the Gold-Headed Cane by fellow members of Travis County Medical
An active member of the staffs of Brackenridge, Seton, and St. David’s hospitals in Austin, he served all three as Chief of Service or Committee Chair, or both. He also volunteered his services in the Brackenridge clinics and emergency room for 25 years, lecturing to student nurses, firefi ghters and the first Emergency Medical Service trainees.
He and his wife Mary served as Capital Campaign Chairs for the construction and equipping of the Central Texas Blood and Tissue Center, as well as worked on capital campaigns for St. Austin Catholic Church and many other community projects. Abell was involved in the planning and formation of Caritas and the St. Luke’s (Catholic physicians) Society in Austin.
He was a founding member of the Austin Yacht Club and of the Tarry House, Inc.; a charter member of the Austin Admirals Club and of the Austin Woods and Waters Club; and a former member of Austin Country Club and Headliners Club of Austin.
His parents preceded him in death.
Survivors include his wife; six children, Joseph Miles (Melinda Allen) Abell III, David Weathers Abell; Catherine (Thomas Jr.) Gleason, Julia (Randall Charles) Merritt, John Graham Abell and James Edward (Amber Maxwell) Abell; nine grandchildren, Bonnie (Mark Walter) Muecke, Joseph Miles Abell IV, Julia Gleason, Thomas Edward Gleason III, Benjamin Grant Gleason, Robert Staacke Merritt, William Weiland Merritt, Frank Anderson Abell and Ruby Catherine Abell; a brother, Rev. Edward W. Abell of Houston; and his first wife and mother of Joe III, David, Catherine, Julia and John, Ann Staacke Rivers.
The Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated today, Thursday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m. at St. Austin’s Catholic Parish in Austin.
Those wishing to contribute to ALS research may do so with a gift to the Mary and Joseph Abell Fund for ALS Research and Care, Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78751.
An obituary and memorial guestbook are available online at www.wcfish.com.