Kaleen Abel


Kaleen Esther Abel, 103, of Palo Alto, passed away on June 12, 2021, succumbing to cancer.

Kaleen was born on October 26,1917 to John and Frances Kocikowski in Michigan City, Indiana. After graduating from Michigan City High School in 1936, she went on to study Art and German at Western College for Women, achieving her A.B. in 1940.

After graduation, she worked during WWII in Washington DC for the War Effort in illustration of war information materials. This led to a similar position after the war with the Civil Aeronautics Administration as a technical and cartographic illustrator in Indianapolis Indiana. This type of technical illustration practically applied her artistic skills even as she maintained a lifelong vocation and avocation in all forms of artistic endeavor, especially oil painting and forms of Chinese and Japanese brush painting.

She met Frank Abel, and they wed in 1953, going on to have four children, Jeffrey, Jae, Jerold and Franceen. They relocated to Palo Alto in 1959 where she and her husband made a loving and supportive home for their entire family for so many years. She wore many hats across the years of her life: daughter, sister, devoted spouse, mom, artist, devout Catholic, friend. Her marriage to Frank was enduring and the mutual reliance was their source of joy and strength and a confiding identity between them.

Over the years, she had been active in several local charitable and cultural activities including the Catholic Church, Young Ladies Institute and the Pacific Art League. She volunteered for years at the local food closet. Around home she loved a good book and tending the garden. She was adventuresome into her senior years and was proud of many trips with her church groups to Europe and the Middle East. The picture of her riding a camel at 92 years young is everyone’s treat.

Kaleen was predeceased by her parents, John and Frances Kocikowski sister Mary Peters and her husband Russell, brother Kenneth and his wife Brenda, brother Norman, her husband Frank and son Jeffrey, brother-in-law Alan Abel, brother-in-law Joseph, sister-in-law Julia Eichhorn and her husband Fred. She is survived by her children, son Jae, son Jerold (Anne Langer) daughter Franceen Borrillo (Gerard), granddaughter Katie Borrillo, sister-in-law, Ruth Abel (Alan), sister-in-law Darcel Abel (Joseph) and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews.

We are grateful for the time we had with our mom, Kaleen. We draw on the inspiration of her kindness, spirit, tenacity with a sense of fun, humility, and grace demonstrated in her many varied interests and pursuits. In the latter years, her caregivers provided wonderful help and comfort. Her faith and the tremendous friendships from so many over the years were her treasured memories carrying her spirits to the end.

A memorial service is planned for July 10, 2021 at 10:30 am at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church with Father Jose Rubio conducting the mass. A link to a video stream of the service will be found at: https://everloved.com/life-of/kaleen-abel/ A reception to follow at St. Albert the Great Church Hall. Kaleen will be laid to rest beside her husband, Frank, in a private service at Alta Mesa Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you make a donation in Kaleen’s memory to one of her favorite causes: St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, YLI, Catholic Relief Services, the Pacific Art League, American Cancer Society, or a veteran’s support group of your choice.