Hilda Mary Plumley Abelson, 81, of Gladwyne, a real estate agent, died of cancer Sunday, Dec. 11, at Waverly Heights, a retirement community where she had gone for hospice care for a week.

Mrs. Abelson was born in London and spent her early life in Newport, Wales. She attended Newport High School, and graduated in 1951 from Bath College with a degree in hotel management.

She began her career in 1952 at Middlesex Hospital in London, managing domestic services. She met her future husband, Denis, in March 1953, when she accidentally knocked him over while swinging open a large door to the auditorium.

"I am so sorry, can I do anything for you?" she asked, according to her son, Jeremy. "Yes, you can let me take you to dinner," Denis Abelson replied.

He proposed on the third date, and the two were married that August.

They immigrated to the United States in 1958 after the birth of their two sons and settled in New Haven, Conn. They moved to Wynnewood in 1961 and to Gladwyne in 2001. Denis Abelson, an internist, still practices at Lankenau Hospital at age 86, his son said.

Mrs. Abelson spent her life supporting her husband's practice and caring for their children.

In the 1960s and 1970s, she worked with several antiques dealers on the Main Line. Mrs. Abelson worked as a real estate agent for Robert Bruce Realty from 1980 to 1990.

She was a member of the Bala Cynwyd Garden Club, and excelled at gardening and flower arranging. Later in life she became an accomplished painter.

In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by another son, Simon; a brother; and three grandchildren.

A life celebration will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Merion Cricket Club, 325 Montgomery Ave., Haverford. Interment is private.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Abelson Artistry and Education Fund, c/o Lankenau Hospital, Att: David Phillips, Development Director, Wynnewood, Pa. 19096.