Elliot D. Abel, founder and owner of Tobacco Corner Ltd. and affectionately known as the Tobacconist of the Mid-South, died Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, in his adopted hometown of Memphis, Tenn., from complications associated with dementia.
Elliot was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Jan. 7, 1930, and was the only son of Ivy and Maurice Abel. He served a year in the United States Army prior to beginning his employment as a traveling salesman in the women’s apparel industry. In 1969 Elliot listened to his wife, Sandra, followed his passion, and settled into a new career when he opened the original Tobacco Corner Ltd. on Highland Avenue, thus turning his pipe-smoking hobby into a Memphis institution. Tobacco Corner offered the first walk-in cigar humidor in Memphis and quickly became a popular hangout for pipe and cigar smokers. Through the years, he expanded to four stores; today, one location remains at the corner of Poplar and Mendenhall.
He was a proud supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, the Special Olympics and University of Memphis Tiger Athletics.
Elliot was preceded in death by his eldest son, Mitchell David. He is survived by Sandra (Lehman), his wife of 53 years; three children, Jeff (Laurie) of Memphis, Tenn.; Brad (Lauren) of St. Louis, Mo.; and Jennifer Abel Ferguson (Randy) of Nashville, Tenn.; as well as his four grandchildren, Makale, Alexa, Charlotte and Levi.