“He was the leading philanthropist for Roswell for as long as I can remember. He was always there if someone needed a sponsor. He was a hero for Roswell,” Wood said.
Abreu “did not do this for self aggrandizement or advancement. Peter just had a very generous heart,” Wood said.
Born in Brunswick to Francis L. and May P. Abreu, he attended Admiral Farragut Naval Academy and Middle Georgia College.
After college, he moved to Roswell and joined the city’s zoning division, eventually becoming director of the Roswell Historic District.
His primary vocation was philanthropy, most recently as chairman of the distribution committee of the May P. and Francis L. Abreu Charitable Trust. Among the trust’s beneficiaries over the years have been the North Fulton Community Foundation, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Atlanta History Center and the Shepherd Center.
Roswell resident Bob Hagan, who knew Abreu for more than 25 years, said Abreu built his home on 15 acres on Coleman Road more than 40 years ago.
“His home was open to multiple charity events for many years to raise money for these charities or to thank the sponsors,” Hagan said.
“He and his wife Carol were gracious hosts for these events and were always appreciative to those who attended and supported the charities.”
Hagan said Abreu was instrumental in the success of the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, the Roswell Historical Society, the Chattahoochee Nature Center and Bulloch Hall. He served as the chair of Bulloch’s Magnolia Ball three times and was a former trustee of the Cottage School as well as an active member of the Roswell Rotary Club.
Abreu’s brother-in-law, Elwyn Gaissert II, said Abreu “was a kind and gentle man. When he made friends with you, you had a friend for life.”
As much at home at a white-tie charity ball as weeding in his vegetable garden, Abreu was an avid quail hunter and fisherman.
“His love of the outdoors and travel were true delights for him. Sharing these hunts and travels with friends gave Peter much joy and happiness,” Gaissert said.
In addition to his wife, Carol Gaissert Abreu, Peter Abreu is survived by son Michael (Michelle), daughter Claire (fiancé Jeffrey Webber) and daughter Katherine, all of whom live in the Atlanta area; grandchildren William Avery Abreu, Aeryonne May Abreu and Grayson Michael Abreu; and his cherished dog Cricket.
Visitation is today, from 1 to 2 p.m. in the parlor of Roswell United Methodist Church, 814 Mimosa Blvd. Funeral service is at 2 p.m. in the church’s chapel. Graveside services for the family will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent in Abreu’s name to the Piedmont Hospital Women’s Auxiliary, Piedmont Hospital Foundation, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Friends of Bulloch Hall or a charity of the donor’s choice.