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July 8, 2013

The story of Abdo, Eick & Meyers can be traced back to 1915, when Naiff Abdo, a Lebanese immigrant, opened a store to sell dry goods in Mankato, Minnesota. It was in this store that Naiff’s young son Joe—who would later become the founder of Abdo, Eick & Meyers—learned the importance of hard work and perseverance.

In 1940, when Joe was ten years old, a tradition began: Each day during the summer, Fadwa Abdo, Joe’s mother, would load the store wagon with vegetables from her garden. Joe’s job was to travel throughout Mankato, sell the vegetables, and return only when the wagon was empty. Sometimes Joe would sell vegetables well into the night.

Joe continued to work at the family business and graduated from Mankato’s Loyola High School. The next year he enrolled at Mankato Commercial College to study bookkeeping.

It was during this time that he met a young woman from Bancroft, Iowa, named Meredith Austin. Joe and Meredith made for an interesting couple considering the times. Joe was a Lebanese Catholic Democrat, and Meredith was a Swedish Lutheran Republican. For the sake of family and marital harmony, they compromised: Joe became a Republican and Meredith a Catholic.

Joe and Meredith were married on July 13, 1949. Joe soon joined the National Guard, as he needed the five-dollar per week pay. In 1950, President Harry Truman called up Joe’s National Guard unit. Joe knew he would be leaving his pregnant wife for the Korean War.

On January 22, 1951, Joe was ready to board a train to begin his active military duty. As fate would have it, his son Jay was born on the same day. Joe was allowed to leave the train station for the hospital where he saw Meredith and Jay for five minutes, before returning to board the train for active duty.

To be continued in Chapter 2…

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