Abraham Baumel, 88, of the Bronx, a former principal of New Dorp High School and a respected educator who is remembered for his intellect, his passion for learning and his concern for his students, died Friday January 16, 2015 at home.
Born in Vloczow, Poland, he immigrated to the United States when he was a baby, moving with his mother to the Bronx, where he grew up and graduated from Townsend Harris High School.
Mr. Baumel earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from City College of New York and received his master’s degree in physics from New York University, both Manhattan. He also received a master’s degree in education from Fordham University, the Bronx.
He began his 44-year career in education as a teacher at JHS 52X in the South Bronx, where one of his students was Colin Powell. He then taught at Morris High School and Bronx High School of Science, both in the Bronx, before going to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, where he chaired the physics department.
In 1978, Mr. Baumel was named principal of New Dorp High School and served in that post until 1983. He remained very attached to the school and its students, his family said, returning each year for faculty reunions, and always loved New Dorp football.
He next became principal of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, overseeing the school’s move to its new location. He retired in 1994, after teaching several future Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur genius fellows, actors, professors, and a White House counsel, in addition to a secretary of state.
A kind, loving and decent man who took care of all he met, Mr. Baumel was adored by generations of students, family said.
He loved to travel and had journeyed around the world. His first trip in retirement was to the Galapagos Islands, and he also traveled to Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He was an avid reader and relished solving crossword puzzles. He played golf and tennis and went to the theater two to three times a week. He was a language buff and fluent in Yiddish, Spanish, French and Italian and some Chinese, Hungarian and Russian. He also was a passionate amateur photographer, with his own darkroom where he developed pictures.
Mr. Baumel was devoted to synagogue life and was president of Community Center of Israel in the Bronx.
Surviving are his wife of 62 years, the former Betty Fogel; his son, Ellis; his daughters, Judith Baumel and Sara Markowitz, and seven grandchildren.