In Memoriam: Larry Abels
Larry Joseph Abels, founder of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based supplier Selco Custom Time, passed away on September 21. He was 82.
Abels was born in Healdon, Oklahoma, the first of three children, and went on to attend the University of Oklahoma for three years before leaving to work in his family’s business. He married Felice Seligson Abels in 1960. Jack Seligson, his father-in-law, was the founder of Selco, a regional jewelry store chain based out of Tulsa, and Abels joined the business in 1962.
In 1976, Abels became president of Selco and in 1980 he sold the company’s jewelry division, consisting of 59 stores and salons, to Zales. This allowed him to follow his passion by spinning the promotional division to focus on recognition watches and clocks. He devoted the rest of his career to growing this division, maintaining the integrity of the company and the trust of his customers.
In 1989, in consideration of Abels’ love of boating, waterskiing and being on the water, he and Felice purchased a condo in Florida. This, in turn, compelled him to start the Blue Water Yacht of South Florida in 1991 with his brother, Chuck. In 1995, he and his wife became permanent residents of Florida, and Larry continued to successfully run the company until 2000, when he appointed his son, Mark, as president and assumed the title of chairman of the board.
Professionally, his involvement with Selco continued by regularly attending shows until 2019 and counseling Mark until his passing.
Abels is survived by his brother and sister, Charles and Cheryl; three children, Jerome, Lisa and Mark; along with Mark’s wife, Tami McBrier Abels, and four grandchildren, Keagan, Cody, Tiffany and Parker.