Abner Silver, Owner of Legendary Jim’s Steaks, Dies

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Abner Silver, owner of the iconic Jim's Steaks on South Street, dies at age 79.

Abner Silver, whose famous creations at Jim’s Steaks on South Street proved mouth-watering attractions to local customers and Hollywood celebrities for close to four decades, died Jan. 13 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease at age 79 .

In 1976, the lawyer went into business with William Proetto to establish a little bit of cheesesteak heaven at Fourth and South sts., a part of the city that was undergoing a renaissance at the time. Their shop had its roots in West Philadelphia dating to 1939; Proetto, who died in 2011, had bought the original site in the 1960s before joining with Silver to establish the South Street location.

The South Street site soon became a hit with locals and tourists and its cheesesteaks  were voted as the best of the best in some surveys, often battling for the title with those Philly classics offered up by pioneers Pat’s and Geno’s in South Philly.

But while Silver was offering the ultimate treif food, he was also much involved with Jewish life, both locally and in Long Beach Island, N.J. There, he and Joan, his wife of 51 years, were involved with the Jewish Community Center, a small synagogue whose structure had seen better times. He and his wife were major donors in the effort to raze the building and build a new temple, where Joan Silver is also on the board.

The two of them were active members taking part in the JCC’s social calendar, having a summer home on the island, with winters spent in Phoenix.

They were also members of Main Line Reform Temple.

Contributions to honor Silver may be made to the JCC, 2411 Long Beach Blvd., Spray Beach, N.J., and the Delaware Valley Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association, 399 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19106.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Lizabeth Kelsey; two sons, Ken and Michael; and four grandchildren.

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