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“There isn’t a waterway in Florida that I haven’t been on…”

Fran Abeel shares her happy memories of boating on the St. Johns River, the community of St. James Cathedral and the wonderful life her family has here in Orlando. She recalls her boys learning to ski on the lake at the Sportmen’s Club, the group picnics, and trips with friends taking their boat down to Sanford, putting it on the St. Johns River and going for the weekend to Jacksonville or down to Miami. From the beginning, St. James was their home as she shares in this excerpt from an oral history interview at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando on September 3, 2011.

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Fran Abeel, Saint James Cathedral

Photo of parishioner Fran Abeel at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, September 3rd, 2011.

Fran Abeel, St. James Cathedral School

Fran Abeel worked at St. James School on Ridgewood Avenue in downtown Orlando  from 1948 to 1975. In this 7  minute  excerpt from an oral history interview at Saint James Cathedral on September 3rd, 2011 she details the improvements and  expansion  of  the school  as the needs of the Orlando community have changed through the years. 




First Fridays with Hot Chocolate & Donuts

For many who grew up in Orlando, the memory of walking down Robinson Street for First Friday Mass at St. James Cathedral is a special school memory. After church the kids had hot chocolate and donuts for breakfast in the St. James School cafeteria served by cafeteria manager, Fran Abeel. From spaghetti dinners to fall festivals and dinner with the bishop, Mrs. Abeel always had a crowd in the school cafeteria on Ridgewood St.

In this excerpt from an oral history interview on Sept. 3, 2011, Fran shares her happy memories of community life and the surprise call she received from the St. James School graduates of 1964 asking her to serve them their hot chocolate and donuts for their reunion!




Fran Abeel, Saint James Cathedral

Fran Abeel shares her happy memories of boating on the St. Johns River, the community of St. James Cathedral and the wonderful life her family has here in Orlando. She recalls her boys learning to ski on the lake at the Sportmen's Club, the group picnics, and trips with friends taking their boat down to Sanford, putting it on the St. Johns River and going for the weekend to Jacksonville or down to Miami. From the beginning, St. James Cathedral was their home, as she shares in this excerpt from an oral history interview at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando on September 3, 2011.




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