Bananagrams inventor, Abraham Nathanson dies

Abraham Nathanson, of Narragansett and Cranston, R.I., has passed away at the age of 80. He was inventor of the word game Bananagrams.


He died peacefully with his immediate family at his bedside at his beachfront

Image of Abe NathansonAbe Nathanson
home at Bonnet Shores, a home he cherished. His last days were spent by an open window with a view of white roses and the sound of the surf. Consistent with his nature, his wit and irreverent humor was with him to his final days, much to the joy of his family and friends.


Nathanson is survived by his three children, Brenda Moore of Devon, Pa., Dana Nathanson of East Providence, R.I., and Rena Nathanson of London, England; four grandchildren; and his former wife and constant friend, Sandra Nathanson.

Following his high school graduation, Nathanson fulfilled his service obligation to the nation as a member of the U.S. Army. After his discharge, he attended Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn, N.Y., 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. Nathanson subsequently decided to change professions and pursue jewelry design. He designed jewelry for several years before purchasing an historic mill complex in Centerdale, and founding George Nathan Design.

After many successful years, he sold the business to pursue his lifelong passions art and photography, his life-long passions. His stunning photographs have been displayed in a number of art galleries and collected by many of his fans. He also wrote and illustrated several children's books, which incorporated his photographic and artistic talents. He was a celebrated member of the Providence Art Club.

Always active as an industrial designer, inventor and entrepreneur, in 2006 Nathanson created a new company, Bananagrams, at the age of 76. This new venture was launched with the help of his daughter, Rena and her children, Aaron and Ava. The success of his word game was immediate and sensational, and in 2009 Bananagrams was the recipient of the "Game of the Year" award from the Toy Industry Association.

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

In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please consider contributions in Mr. Nathanson's memory to Crossroads Rhode Island or the Rhode Island Food Bank.

Playthings Staff | Playthings Staff

We cover the latest news and information for the toy industry.

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