top of page

Donald Knowles Abbott

Donald Knowles Abbott (1918-1986)

Donald Abbott was a tenth generation descendant of George Abbott and Hannah Chandler (Fred9, Arthur8, Justin7, Benjamin6, Benjamin5, Jonathan4, David3, Benjamin2, George1). Donald was the fourth oldest of the six children of Fred and Vera Abbott. He received a B.A. from Drew University in 1948 and a B.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 1950. He continued his education with a M.Ed. from Boston University in 1958. He worked as a missionary for the Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) throughout his career.

Donald married Jeri Schachterie in 1948. He and his wife were appointed as missionaries in Southern Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) in 1950. They served as missionaries in several locations from 1951 to 1976, but the largest part of their work was in Southern Rhodesia. Donald served as superintendent of a primary school in Rhodesia from 1951-1955, the principal of Mt. Selinda Institute in 1956, and was principal of Chikore Secondary School from 1959-1960. He was instrumental in founding the Chikore School in 1955. This school is located in a remote area 300 miles southeast from what was then the capital Salisbury. He was named Acting Field Secretary of the Rhodesia mission in 1964. It was in this role that he ran into difficulty with the ruling government (Ian Smith) of Rhodesia and he and his family were deported in December, 1965. Six missionary families were expelled from Rhodesia from 1962 to 1965 due to their opposition to the government’s racist policies. One of the factors that led to the deportation was the racial integration of the Chikore school. This had upset members of the European community in Chipinge 25 miles away as it was felt Africans were being too educated. Don, Jeri, and their four children were declared “prohibited immigrants” by the Smith government on 29 December 1965 and given seven days to leave the country.

Following some time back in the U.S., the family served at missions in Zambia (1968-1968) and in Tarsus, Turkey (1972-1976). After returning to the U.S., he settled at Koinonia Farms in Georgia. He had one additional short assignment in Africa in 1986 and returned just before his death.

Donald and Jeri had four children, all born in Africa.


American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Memorial book entry for Donald Abbott. Retrieved from

First Congregational Church of Reading, Massachusetts. Retrieved from

Newspaper report of a press conference with Donald Abbott

For additional information, you might locate God at Work in Gazaland, 1993, by Jeri Abbott, Joy Lowe, and Allen Mundeta.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page