EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 9, 2013

Beach icon Fred Abdulla dies at 87


Miles said one of the things that set Joe’s Playland apart from other games arcades is that it never stagnated. Every year it had the latest games, she said, the types that were mentally challenging.

“You didn’t mind if your kids went there, because with the games they had at Joe’s Playland, the kids would learn something,” Miles said.

Born in Methuen, Abdulla grew up in Lawrence, attending local schools there. He entered the Army in August, 1944, a couple of months after graduating from Lawrence High School. He served in the 8th Armored Division’s tank battalion, he fought in the legendary German offensive, known as the Battle of the Bulge. Abdulla then took part in the Allied invasion of Germany in the Rhineland, and remained in Central Europe as part of the Allied occupation until he was honorably discharge in July 1946.

Returning to Lawrence to work at his family’s Elm Street Abdulla’s Market, Abdulla went on to work at Amesbury’s Bailey’s Corporation for years until the late ’60s, when he and his brothers opened Abdulla’s Bakery in Lawrence.

But Abdulla will always be best known for his decades at Joe’s Playland, where he was a continuing presence greeting generations of Merrimack Valley beachgoers with a smile.

Immediate family members he leaves behind are his wife Julia (Aberizk) of 64 years, daughter, Dianne Kalil, and sons, Frederick and Daniel, as well as his brother, George. He was predeceased by his parents, Joseph and Mary (Yazbek) Abdulla, his brother, Abraham, and sister, Georgette.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in his name, and contributions may be made to the Frederick Abdulla Memorial Scholarship Fund, C/O The Institution for Savings Bank, 7 Bridge Road, Salisbury, MA 01952.

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