While working as a bouncer in South Omaha bars, Eddie A. Abraham was known for “knocking a guy down and then offering him a hand up,” his son said Tuesday.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories about my dad doing that,” said Eddie Van Sant of Omaha. “People tell me that he hit hard, but he had a heart of gold.”
Abraham, 59, of Council Bluffs, died Monday at the Nebraska Medical Center from injuries he suffered Friday in a crash on Ninth Avenue near 31st Street in the Bluffs. He was working as a driver for a cab company when his minivan rear-ended an unoccupied parked car, police said.
Abraham apparently veered off the right side of the road into the parking lane, pushing the car about 50 feet before stopping. Police said they are investigating whether a medical condition contributed to the accident.
A funeral service will be held Friday at 10 a.m. in the Korisko Larkin Staskiewicz Funeral Home, 5108 F. St. Visitation will be Thursday at 5 p.m.
Abraham, a 1973 graduate of Omaha South High, had worked as a cabdriver for about eight years, his son said. The many friends he made as a bouncer and cabdriver were evident Monday when his family invited acquaintances to stop by the hospital to say goodbye.
“A few hundred people showed up,” Van Sant said. “A 97-year-old man came up and told me that whenever he got a cab ride, my dad would refuse to take his money. Sometimes, it seemed like it cost Dad money to go to work.”
Van Sant learned many things from his dad, who loved to hunt pheasant and fish. He said the biggest lesson was “an old school thing” about treating people like you would want to be treated yourself.
“It sounds corny, but that’s really something that he believed,” Van Sant said. “He also taught me to always shake a man’s hand and look him straight in the eye.”
Van Sant said he also learned the importance of family from his father, who had eight sisters and one brother. Van Sant often heard about his dad “going all in” for family members, including the time that he drove to California to bring back a sister who had run away from home.
Abraham was also a bit of a camera bug and enjoyed taking pictures of old barn doors, sunsets and bald eagles nesting near his home. That softer side also appeared when Abraham talked about his late son, Tony Van Sant, who was just 6 years old when he died from cancer in 1998.
“Dad would talk about Tony all the time even though he died a long time back,” Van Sant said. “Tony was his world.”
In addition to his son, Abraham is survived by Sandy Van Sant; mother Janice Vopalka; father Edward A. Abraham; brothers Mark Abraham and Alan Vopalka; sisters Brenda Abraham, Vicky Abraham, Lori Briers, Christine Antoniak, Kim Reed, Jody Baratta, Roni Plescia and Sarah Jordan. A gofundme account has been set up to help Abraham’s family with funeral expenses.