Adapted from obituary in the Andover Townsman, July 11, 1985:
John Radford Abbot was born on April 30, 1893 in Melrose, Massachusetts. He was educated at Roxbury Latin School, and graduated from Andover Academy in 1910. He was also a 1914 graduate of Harvard College, and a 1916 graduate of the Harvard Architectural School. A decorated veteran of both World Wars, he joined the American Field Service in 1916, and was attached to the French Army. He joined the U.S. Army Ambulance Service as a first lieutenant and section commander a year later. He went on to serve in the French Army of the Occupation in Germany. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and the Purple Heart. He was commissioned a major in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, serving as a group intelligence officer. Part of the 319th Bombardment Group in England, North Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica, he was honored with the Legion of Merit.
A noted architect, Mr. Abbot began his career in 1919, when he joined the Boston firm of Strikland, Blodgett and Law. He started his own Cambridge firm in 1929, and later worked in Andover before he retired in 1974. Among the homes and schools he designed and renovated were Abbot, Andover and Milton academies, and the Noble and Greenough, Middlesex, Groton and Applewild schools.
Mr. Abbot was a trustee of Abbot Academy, a member and former president of the Andover Historical Society, and a trustee and member of the investment committee at the Andover Savings Bank. He belonged to the Union Club, the Harvard Faculty Club, and the Duxbury Yacht Club, where he was a former commodore.
At 92 years old, John Radford Abbot died on July 9, 1985. The widower of Helen Maxwell Abbot, and the father of the late John Abbot and Maxwell Abbot, he left one son, David Maxwell Abbot; three grandsons, John Radford, Ames, and Stephen Abbot; as well as two great-grandsons.