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124 E Diamond Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Phone: 301-495-4950
Fax: 301-977-6930
About An Amazing Life|Help

Mary Ellen "M'El" Abrecht

December 18, 1945 – August 16, 2018

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Mary Abrecht

Obituary for Mary Ellen "M'El" Abrecht

Mary Ellen Abrecht died at home on August 16th from complications of metastatic breast cancer for which she had been in treatment since 2009. She was born Mary Ellen Benson in 1945 in Massachusetts, the youngest daughter of Don and Mary Benson. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and studying for one year at Union Theological Seminary, she married Gary Lorne Abrecht and settled in DC in September1968. She became a plainclothes Policewoman in the Youth Division of the Metropolitan Police Department, studied law part time at Georgetown (JD 1974), and lectured around the country urging police departments to expand the role of women in law enforcement to be the same as men. She left the Police Department in 1975 as a uniformed Patrol Sergeant and became a criminal prosecutor in the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia where she served in a variety of assignments until 1990 when she was appointed by the President to be a judge on the Superior Court.

As a judge she served in turn in the Family Division, the Civil Division and the Criminal Division where she presided over murder cases at the height of the crack epidemic. In 2003 she took on Senior Status for twelve years in order to work part time and travel with her husband who had retired as Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police. She also became a colored pencil artist and had many pieces selected for juried art shows on Capitol Hill. She was a docent at the Supreme Court where she gave lectures and tours.

She is survived by her husband of almost fifty years, Gary Lorne Abrecht, two daughters Karen Tompros (Louis Tompros) of Massachusetts, Rachel Abrecht-Litchfield (Todd Litchfield) of DC, five grandchildren and three of her four siblings, Sally Benson (Steve Nichols) of California and DC, Margaret Benson Walker (Ben Walker) of Georgia and Donald D. Benson (Ann Giles Benson) of North Carolina, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

A funeral will be held at Christ Church + Washington Parish (where she and her husband have been members for nearly fifty years), 620 G Street, SE, on Friday, August 24 at 11:00 a.m. followed by reception and burial in her great-grandfather’s plot at Congressional Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the music program of Christ Church, 620 G St. SE Washington DC 20003

To send flowers to the family of Mary Ellen "M'El" Abrecht, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.


Memorial Service Information

Friday, August 24th, 2018 11:00am
The Rev. Cara Spaccarelli
Christ Church Washington Parish
620 G St SE
Washington, DC, District of Columbia

Interment Information

Friday, August 24th, 2018
Historic Congressional Cemetery
1801 E. Street
Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Interment Extra Info
Immediately following the funeral.