Former Regent Abe Silver Jr., 89, Passes Away

SANTA FE, N.M. May 22, 2015 – Abe Silver Jr., a former member of the Board of Regents at New Mexico Tech, died Saturday of congestive heart failure at the age of 89.

Silver joined the Board of Regents in 2007, a position he held through 2012. Throughout his tenure on the Board, he was known for offering a new joke at each meeting during the “Board Member Comments” section.


Abe and Marian Silver

2012 photo courtesy of the Santa Fe New Mexican

Silver was a prominent businessman and a stalwart member of Santa Fe’s philanthropic community He was well-known in Santa Fe, along with his wife of 64 years, Marian. Together, the Silvers were involved in many Santa Fe charities and community causes, including The Santa Fe Opera, the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

Abe and Marian Silver were named “Santa Fe Living Treasures” in 2008 for their work with museums, the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, Temple Beth Shalom Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, and Rotary, among other organizations.

In an article from the Santa Fe New Mexican at that time, Abe Silver said, “Marian and I are a team. Santa Fe has been wonderful to us and it feels good to give something back.”

The Silvers owned The Guarantee on the Plaza, a prominent retail store with a long history in Santa Fe. Marian’s family opened the department store on the east side of the Plaza in 1912 – the same year New Mexico became a state – and the Silvers closed it in 1988.

In 2010, then-Gov. Bill Richardson awarded the couple with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Arts.

In announcing the award, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs described the couple as “tag-team ambassadors for the arts in Santa Fe and throughout New Mexico. As a result, this dynamic duo has been recognized as key players in making their community among the greatest arts and cultural destinations in the world.”

The Silvers also were involved with the founding of Temple Beth Shalom.

Other awards included Philanthropist of the Year for St. Vincent Hospital Foundation, Distinguished Community Service Award from the New Mexico Anti-Defamation League and the Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Club of Santa Fe.

Silver was born in Greenwood, Miss., on Feb. 17, 1926, to Abe and Ninny Silver. Abe Silver Jr. attended Tulane University in New Orleans and graduated with a degree in journalism. He served in the Louisiana National Guard during World War II. He then went to work as a journalist for theTimes-Picayunein New Orleans.

He met his future wife, Marian Petchesky, who was going to school there at H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College in New Orleans. The couple married in Santa Fe and later moved to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where Abe served in the Air Force during the Korean War.

The couple moved to Santa Fe after the war to run the store and had three children, all of whom remain in Santa Fe.

Silver is survived by his wife; son John and his wife, Gloria; daughter Margaret and her husband, Scott Jones; daughter Carolyn; and three grandchildren, Thomas, Johanna and Alyson.

A memorial service were at 2 p.m. Friday, May 22, at Temple Beth Shalom. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be sent to Temple Beth Shalom, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation or The Santa Fe Opera.

– NMT –