Bananagrams Inventor, Abe Nathanson, Passes Away

Abraham Nathanson, inventor of Bananagrams and founder of Bananagrams, LLC, passed away Sunday morning at his beachfront home at Bonnet Shores, R.I., surrounded by family. He was 80 years old.

In 2006, Nathanson, affectionately known as Abe, created Bananagrams at the age of 76. His new venture was launched with the help of his daughter, Rena, and her children, Aaron and Ava. In 2009, Bananagrams won “Game of the Year” at the Toy Industry Association’s Toy of The Year (TOTY) Awards. The company’s other games include Zip-It, Fruitominos, Oh-Spell!, Pairs in Pears, and Appleletters.

Nathanson, after serving in the U.S. Army, attended Pratt Institute where he studied graphic and industrial design. He later returned to his hometown of Pawtucket R.I., where he and his brother Morris founded a commercial design studio. After a brief stint as a jewelry designer, he purchased a historic mill complex in Centerdale and founded George Nathan Design.

Nathanson was the son of Joseph and Anna Nathanson. He is survived by his three children, four grandchildren, and his former wife and constant friend, Sandra Nathanson.

In accordance with Nathanson’s wishes, services were private and attended by immediate family members. A life celebration will be held in his honor later this summer.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts, loved ones are asking for contributions in Nathanson’s memory to Crossroads Rhode Island or the Rhode Island Food Bank.

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