Alan Abraham, the former lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia who served from 1984 to 1989, is being remembered for his significant volunteer work and leadership that made him "a champion" of the province.
He died on Oct. 2 at the age of 89.
Abraham was the second youngest lieutenant-governor in Nova Scotia's history.
"The Honourable Alan Abraham served our province as lieutenant-governor with grace and dignity. He was a true gentleman to all he met and someone all of us could admire and look up to," said Premier Stephen McNeil in a statement on Friday.
"He was a champion of our capital city, province and country during and beyond his tenure as lieutenant-governor."
Abraham was born to James and Marie Abraham on Feb. 1, 1931. He had two siblings, the late James Abraham and Ann Smith.
Abraham's obituary said he studied engineering at Saint Mary's University at the age of 17 before the early death of his father meant he had to leave school to work to support the family. Within the same six months, three of his father's brothers also died.
"Those deaths, he said, made him mindful of how important it was to do something good with the time you are given in life," the statement said.
Abraham made the most of that promise by volunteering for almost 30 organizations, including the IWK Children's Hospital, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo and the 2000 Tall Ships Festival.
"Alan was a great leader... his ability to work with other people made the event such a success," John Young, a representative with the Tall Ships Festival, said in a statement.
"He made everyone want to work together and do their best. He enjoyed life and enjoyed people. He looked for the best in people, not the worst, and motivated all around him to be their very best."
Abraham's obituary said he later studied corporate governance at the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University. He was also recognized with two honorary degrees: a doctor of engineering from Dalhousie University in 1984 and a doctor of civil laws from Saint Mary's University in 2002.
Nova Scotia has lost an extraordinary leader. Mr. Abraham was successful in everything he did. - Mike Savage, Halifax mayor
Abraham lived in Halifax for his entire life.
"Nova Scotia has lost an extraordinary leader. Mr. Abraham was successful in everything he did," said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage in a statement.
"And for all of his amazing achievements, accomplishments and awards he never lost his common touch.... He will forever be remembered as one of the great Nova Scotians of our time."
Abraham also served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1952 to 1969 as a commanding officer of the Princess Louise Fusiliers, to which he received a Canadian Forces Decoration.
After his time in the military, Abraham worked as a construction supervisor with Atlantic Bridge Company, then in the city's engineering department, and then as the CEO of Maritime Warehousing and Transfer until 1984.
He was then appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia by then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who felt his military work, "combined with his business and volunteer experience, made him an excellent choice for the role."
Abraham was 53 — the youngest lieutenant-governor in Canada's history at the time.
In 1997, he was also made a member of the Order of Canada and in 2001, he was one of the first people inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia.
Abraham's obituary said he always had a sense of "grace and kindness" around people.
"He loved nothing more than to ask — with sincere interest — about you. He was a lively conversationalist with a quick wit and a ready smile," it said.
"But more than that — he was a gentleman who had a deep and abiding sense of the humanity and worth of every person he encountered."
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a small, private family funeral will be held this week.
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