PHOENIX - John Abromavage Sr., a 52-year employee of U-Haul International, Inc. and director of the company's engineering services department for more than 40 years, passed away July 22. He was 78.
Abromavage was active in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for more than 30 years, serving as chair of its Trailer and Standards Committees. He worked closely with, and presented U-Haul Company's and the industry's viewpoint to legislative bodies, regulatory agencies, enforcement agencies, and automotive and engineering societies and organizations.
Abromavage enjoyed a national reputation for his expertise in vehicle safety and design. He received numerous awards and commendations from state governments for helping to improve vehicle safety standards. His knowledge and experience in accident-prevention methods were sought out by law-enforcement agencies throughout the country, according to the company.
His list of engineering accomplishments is impressive and extensive: 31 U.S. and Canadian patents, 75 international patents and 24 solidly proven truck and trailer designs.
In 1959, Abromavage was involved with the design and manufacturing of the U-Haul HV trailer, which was the first tandem trailer with brakes. In 1967, following the birth of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Abromavage led testing to prove that towing with a trailer was, indeed, an efficient and effective option for do-it-yourself movers.
Abromavage also played a role in the "Mom's Attic" on the front of the van box over the cab of U-Haul trucks.
In an interview in 2008, Abromavage explained. "Back in 1970, (U-Haul co-founder) L.S. Shoen went to Europe and saw what was on the road in England. During seven days in June, we spec'ed out a whole new van body. Now, of course, you see that truck style everywhere, but U-Haul was the company that brought the convenience and extra storage capacity of overcab space to the self-moving public."
"John stood up for the U-Haul customer for decades," stated U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen. "His passing is sad. He has left a legacy of work product and a work ethic. We should honor him by maintaining these standards."
Abromavage also was an Air Force flight engineer during the Korean war, flying approximately 152 missions in B-25s, B-29s, C-46s and C-119s, to name but a few.
Abromavage is survived by his son, John, and his daughter, Tammy. He will be interred at the National Cemetery in Phoenix in a private ceremony. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations in Abromavage's name be made to one of the following:
ALS Association Arizona Chapter
4643 E. Thomas Road Suite 1
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Hospice of the Valley
1510 E. Flower St.
Phoenix, AZ 85014