Jeanette Abeles

Jeanette was born in Santa Monica, California in 1933. Her parents were Herman and Eda Bueller.  Both were musicians who worked in Hawaii, California, New York, San Antonio and Dallas. Jeanette grew up near the well-known Homestead Hotel in Virginia where her parents provided classical music for the guests. When her parents eventually moved to Texas to be members of the Dallas Symphony, Jeanette moved to Austin where she started college at the University of Texas and met her husband to be.  Norman and Jeanette were married in 1957. She received her bachelor’s degree from the College of Communications at Michigan State University and later received a master’s degree in Curriculum from the College of Education.

Jeanette worked as a consultant in fund raising, grant writing and program development for nonprofit organizations. In 1976 Jeanette became the Executive Director of the Michigan Dance Association (MDA), a position she held for 12 years. As Director, she created kinesthetic learning experiences to thousands of school children and developmentally-challenged people of all ages. She supervised the publishing of 15 books and other publications for art education programs sponsored by the MDA. Her credits included being the founder and coordinator of the first educational dance residency program in Michigan, first instituted in the East Lansing Public Schools.  This was known as the  “Creative Dance Movement Program”, modeled after the National Endowment for the Arts “Artists-in–Schools”. In 1990 Jeanette joined the staff of the Michigan State University Multidisciplinary Program.  In 1997 she led the development of the IDS Interdisciplinary concentration in Human Aging and presented papers at the National Academic Advising Association. She also served as a trustee on the Board of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival and served as an Adjunct Curator for the MSU Museum. She was listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment.

Jeanette loved and was very proud of her family. She was active at Congregation Shaarey Zedek where she had many friends and served on the board for many years. Jeanette appreciated arts of all kinds including dance, music, sculpture, painting, and textiles and educated her children to also appreciate and incorporate the arts into their lives. Jeanette is survived by her husband of 58 years Norman; her daughter Linda, and her husband Peter and their daughter Halle; her son Mark and his wife Lisa and their three children Elle, Bria, and Tianse. She is also survived by her sister Simone and her husband Steven. The family loved and will miss Jeanette.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 18, 2015, at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, 1924 Coolidge Rd., East Lansing, with Rabbi Amy Bigman and Cantor Pamela Schiffer officiating.  A graveside service will take place at 10:00 a.m. Monday at Evergreen Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers please make a donation to a charity of your choice or to Congregation Shaarey Zedek, East Lansing, Michigan.

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Nurit Benzvi
May 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Jeanette was my cousin. The last time I saw her was in 2003 during my stay in Columbus, OH, as a postdoc at OSU. I came to East Lansing to visit her and we had some precious time.
My Condolences to Norman and the family.
Nurit Benzvi


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