Abe Wise

It is with great sadness that we report that Abe Wise, one of our founders and a remarkable supporter of our mission, passed away on September 26, 2013.

Abe was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October 24, 1922. After serving in WWII, Abe settled in Orlando and started a real estate and construction business with his twin brother, Zelig. Their company initially built low cost housing for returning GIs, investing in groves and vacant land to create neighborhoods and build industrial warehouse complexes. Among the Wise Brothers legacies are Palomar subdivision in Orlando and the College Court area of College Park and the region’s popular Parade of Homes.

Abe was a community leader for greater Orlando, serving as President of the Homebuilders Association and as a member of the Orlando Planning and Zoning Commission. He worked diligently with his wife Tess in the founding of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center in 1982, and served as a member of its Board of Directors until his passing. Additionally, he was one of the original founders of Temple Israel, the Jewish Community Center, the Hebrew Day School (now known as the Jewish Academy of Greater Orlando) and Kinneret Senior Housing. His support for these efforts included finding the land and overseeing construction of the original buildings for each of those institutions.

Together, the Wises have championed numerous causes through the years, playing a key role in the furthering education at both the Holocaust Center and at the University of Central Florida and Valencia College. Since 2004 the Judaic Studies Program at the University of Central Florida has had an endowed professorship in Judaic Studies named after them, and thousands of students have benefited from that gift. An Abe and Tess Wise endowed chair was also established at Valencia.

Abe is survived by Tess, his loving wife of 63 years, their daughter Ellen Lang (with husband Mark) and son Steven Wise (with wife Leora), six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. More than his family grieves this loss. The entire community has lost a strong mentor and dear friend, and his warm smile and kind words will be missed by many.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Holocaust Center through this website.

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The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida · 851 N Maitland Ave · Maitland, FL 32751 · Phone: 407-628-0555 · info@holocaustedu.org