April Allyson Abel, award-winning photographer

September 12, 2019

April Allyson Abel, 54, of Milford slipped away peacefully just before daybreak Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. April was born prematurely March 9, 1965, to Diane Marie Dean and David Sterling Dean in Waco, Texas. 

April graduated magna cum laude from Wesley College in Dover in 2009, with a bachelor of arts in media arts, having achieved an associate of applied science summa cum laude in office administration technology from Delaware Technical Community College in 2007. 

As a young woman, April was an integral part of her family's bakery business, Cosmic Bakers, in Rehoboth Beach. She spread her wings and held positions at Crabtree and Evelyn and REDfish Designs before completing her degrees and moving into other roles that came to define her as an artist. From 2008-13, she was the assistant volunteer coordinator at Delaware Hospice. She was a freelance reporter and photographer with the News Journal from 2013 onward.

As a fine art photographer, April exhibited in Delaware, and was published in the News Journal, Delaware Beach Life magazine, Outdoor Delaware magazine and the Milford Chronicle. In 2015, she was one of only four photographers nationwide chosen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a story on wildlife photographers in the National Wildlife Refuges. April was employed with the Delaware State Parks from 2014 until the time of her death, beginning as an exhibits coordinator, and becoming a truly creative and valued state parks photographer. April was married to Jack Abel for 20 years, and faithfully supported his growth and development as a Methodist minister until their divorce in 2008. 

April was a dedicated daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She had an abiding love of nature and a deep appreciation for the wetlands and estuarine wildlife along the coastal marshes, especially Prime Hook. She had a wry sense of humor and an exceptional eye for finding beauty in her surroundings, no matter where she was. She took pleasure in reading, kayaking, gardening, singing, creating delicious food, spending time with people she treasured, and making art. 

April was featured in a 2013 News Journal article by Betsy Price, "Peace at Prime Hook," and was featured in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service video photographing the marsh and wildlife of Prime Hook. She had been a Hospice volunteer since 1997, and was the marketing chairperson and a board member of the Mispillion Art League in Milford from 2011-14. She was an exhibiting member of the Rehoboth Art League from 2009-present. Her wonderful photographs can be found at, and on Facebook and Instagram. 

She is survived by her father, David Dean; her mother Diane Dean; her sister Pam McCarthy; her brother-in-law Jack McCarthy; her niece Laura Griffith and her husband Ryan; her nephew Brian McCarthy and his wife Kristin; her nephew Mike McCarthy and his wife Stephanie; her nephew Chris McCarthy; her great-nephews Ryan Griffith and  Elie and Duncan McCarthy; her great-nieces, Molly McCarthy and Tilly McCarthy; and her beloved tuxedo cat Nicky. She also leaves behind a wonderful group of friends and neighbors she embraced as family.

In accord with her wishes, a celebration of April Allyson Abel's life will be held at one of her favorite state parks, Killens Pond, Saturday, Sept. 14, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., at Pavilion 1. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in April's name to the Delaware Nature Society, PO Box 700, Hockessin, DE, 19707 to preserve open land in Delaware. 


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter