Adolf I. Fabis

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Adolph Ira Fabis, CCNY 1912, longest-lived of the eight Founders of Sigma Alpha Mu, died in his sleep February 17, 1982, at the age of 92. A major in entomology at City College, he became interested very early in horticulture and agriculture. In 1912 he went to Cornell for graduate work and affiliated there with the then-new Beta chapter. He joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an entomologist, was first sent to the Florida everglades and, in 1917, to Brownwood, Texas. He served in the army in World War I. He took a liking to Texas and bought 144 acres of land near Brownwood in 1920. When the USDA wanted to transfer him in 1922, he decided to stay and so resigned his post. He became a pecan farmer of repute in the area, and he was inordinately proud of the results of his labors. He once wrote, "I would not trade my farm for all of Manhattan Island." In Brownwood he was a familiar figure and a prominent citizen, and he rarely ventured away. He said, "My presence here seems appreciated by man and beast and trees and plants." In 1959 he traveled to New York for the Fraternity's golden jubilee convention, where he appeared only briefly. In 1976, a tornado devastated Fabis Farm, destroyed the house, and nearly killed Fra Fabis. He donated the farm to the city of Brownwood to be used as a public park. He remained on the place the rest of his life. Today, the farm is called Fabis Primitive Park, where Fabis Park Lake welcomes visitors, especially for fishing and boating, and where the large Fabis pecan orchard is still intact. The park is located two miles outside Brownwood.