He was born Oct. 2, 1935, in Morehouse, Mo., son of James Herbert and Cordia L. Abernathy. He and Conna Kerr were married June 23, 1957, at Gipsy, Mo. She died Sept. 7, 2006.
Abernathy attended Southeast Missouri State University. He was a technician 35 years with Southwestern Bell. He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, Telephone Pioneers of America, Masons and Scottish Rite.
Survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Jim and B.J. Abernathy of Cape Girardeau; a daughter, Janet Ratliff of Union, Mo.; three brothers, Herbert Abernathy of Nesbit, Miss., Rodger Abernathy of Olive Branch, Miss., Randy Abernathy of Oran, Mo.; four sisters, Bonnie McCool of St. Charles, Mo., Carolyn Lane of Paragould, Ark., Barbara Dodge of Copperas Cove, Texas, Brenda Moore of Sikeston, Mo.; and a granddaughter, Brandi Ratliff of Union.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Funeral Home, with a Masonic service at 7.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Berrong Cemetery in Gipsy, with the Rev. Jim Cooper officiating.
Memorials may be made to American Red Cross.