Former Farmington resident Avram “Skip” Rosenthal, who for 20 years owned Books Abound on Grand River, died on September 11 in Israel. He was 93.
An avid banjo player, Rosenthal often performed in front of his used book shop, playing classic tunes like “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby” and “Bye, Bye, Blackbird”. For a time, Rosenthal also performed 15-minute sets before movies shown at the Farmington Civic Theater. Books Abound closed in 2005; the space is now occupied by Farmington Brewing Company.
Raised in Detroit, Rosenthal earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Wayne State University, then a master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan. He served as the Livonia library system’s first librarian and opened his shop after retiring as head librarian for Henry Ford Community College.
The Farmington City Council in 2000 recognized Rosenthal as a business innovator. In the late 1990s, he began selling books around the globe through two websites.
After closing his store, Rosenthal and his friend Derek Channing gathered a collection of donated banjos and taught lessons to kids ages 7-17 at the Masonic Hall in Farmington. Their “Next Generation Banjo Band” performed locally and at banjo conventions.
After making a number of extended trips to Israel, Rosenthal made the country his permanent home and settled in Tel Aviv, where he pursued his love of music.
Rosenthal’s son, Joshua, died at age 44 in the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. Another son, Daniel, died in 1976 at age 22, due to a heart condition. He’s survived by his wife of six years, Jackie, a daughter and two grandchildren.