North Andover, Salisbury — Frederick "Joe" Abdulla, 87, of North Andover and Salisbury Beach, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at home, surrounded by his family. Fred was born in Methuen on March 31, 1926, and was the son of the late Abdulla "Joseph" and Mary (Yazbek) Abdulla. He grew up in Lawrence, attended Lawrence schools, and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1944.
After graduating high school, Fred entered the U.S. Army in August 1944, and served in the tank battalion of the 8th Armored Division during World War II. He fought to defeat the German offensive in the Ardennes-Alsace campaign known as the "Battle of the Bulge," and then took part in the Allied invasion of the Rhineland in Germany. Fred remained in Central Europe as part of the Allied occupation until his honorable discharge from the military in July 1946.
Following the war, Fred returned to Lawrence to work at his family's business, the former Abdulla's Market on Elm Street. During that time he spent many years working at Bailey's Corporation in Amesbury. Many years later, Fred and his brothers opened Abdulla's Bakery on Lawrence Street in Lawrence during the late 1960s.
Fred was probably best known for his more than 75 years at Joe's Playland in Salisbury Beach, Mass. Starting as a young teenager, Fred worked there every summer for his uncle and aunt, Joseph and Jenny Haballa. In the late 1940s, Fred and his wife, Julia, began operating the ice cream stand and by the 1960s, together they owned and operated all of Joe's Playland. Over the following 50 years, Fred was a continuing presence at Joe's, greeting generations of Merrimack Valley beachgoers with his kind smile and humble demeanor. Fred's kindness and generosity to others reflected his true spirit and character to family and friends alike. Fred was and always will be the "Joe" of Joe's Playland.