It’s a popular spot along the San Juan River for tourists and locals. Now, the community is mourning the loss of its founder.
There’s a turquoise GMC pickup truck that sits along the San Juan River beside a decades-old motel and beneath a sign that reads, “Abe’s.”
If you look around Navajo Dam, the name “Abe” is not hard to find. Timothy Chavez says since his father, Abe, was a kid, he loved the outdoors and wanted to one day own his own tackle shop. In 1954, he married the woman who would help make that dream come true.
“They had no business experience whatsoever,” Chavez said.
But that didn’t matter. They opened up Abe’s Tackle Box in 1958.
“The neighbors were kind of making fun of them a little because the odds of them failing was tremendous,” Chavez said.
It was at a time when construction crews, building the Navajo dam, flooded the area and relied on the small store.
“They picked up milk and bread and that’s the way the business took off,” Nadine, Abe’s daughter, said.
Abe’s Motel quickly followed.
“They need a place to eat so things evolved with people’s needs,” she said.
The couple had three kids, and for the last 60 years, their family has catered to tourists and fisherman along the San Juan.
Then, “Eight years ago my father was given the diagnosis of Parkinson’s,” Nadine said.
She says it was a tough fight. Then on Sunday, the 84-year-old died surrounded by family.
They say they’re at peace because they know he has a lot of fishing left to do.
“I can’t imagine what heaven is like but boy, if there is any trout streams up there, there isn’t going to be any trout that is safe,” Nadine said.
One of Abe’s sons is now running the business. The family says some of the grandchildren work there too.