Tami Aronson Abelew of North Truro died on Oct. 2, 2021 at Cape Cod Hospital after years of struggle with ovarian and breast cancer. Her death was confirmed by her daughter Bonnie. She was 80.
The daughter of the late Bruce and Rose Aronson, Tami was born on Sept. 18, 1941 in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she grew up. She earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Brooklyn College before completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Fordham University. She met her future husband, Paul Abelew, who also earned a degree in clinical psychology from Hofstra University.
The two worked side by side for decades, with Tami serving mainly children and adolescents and Paul adults in his marriage counseling practice. They had offices in Lynbrook, N.Y. and at their home in Massapequa, N.Y.
After the birth of their daughters, Beth and Bonnie, Tami and Paul settled in Plainview, another town on Long Island. They adopted Cape Cod as a second home, renting houses in Wellfleet every summer for more than 20 years. During those years in Wellfleet, Bonnie explained, “They loved the ponds and the Bookstore & Restaurant.” Then they began to spend time in Provincetown and fell in love with the place. Tami and her daughters “loved how friendly everybody is,” Bonnie said. So, they relocated their summer residence to North Truro.
The Abelew family was well known in Provincetown because of their frequent presence at shows and the long walks they took with their dog, Gryphon, and his late sidekick, Phoenix.
“They were amazing supporters of the performance scene,” said Provincetown musician Zoë Lewis. “They fit in really well. The community embraced them.” Tami and her daughters were “sort of a trio,” she said, who dressed up memorably for shows.
When Paul died in 2018, the performance community rallied around Tami and her daughters. Lewis played at his funeral, which was held at Herring Cove, and Billy Hough was there, too.
From that time on, Tami spent much of the year in Provincetown, where her daughters made a splash with their elaborate costumes and were the subject of a cover story in Provincetown Magazine this past summer. For Carnival, Tami always dressed up with the girls. They were always out, even on her birthday two weeks ago.
Lewis marveled at how Tami “battled on and kept quiet about it” to the end. On the night before she died, Tami attended her last show at the Crown & Anchor.
She is survived by her daughters, Beth and Bonnie Abelew, and their dog, Gryphon, of North Truro and Plainview, N.Y., and by her brother, Alan Aronson of Florida.
A memorial service is being planned at a date to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, Beth and Bonnie ask that donations to be made in Tami’s name to an animal welfare charity.
An online guestbook for expressions of condolence for the family can be found at gatelyfuneralservice.com.