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John Fabian

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John Fabian Obituary
John Ogden Fabian was born in New York City to Edward L. Fabian and Jane Ogden Fabian on November 21 1945 and Passed peacefully at his home in Texas on January 17 2010. A very special loving soul, his presence will be missed by many.

John always seemed to know just the way to ask the question or phrase his comments so as to spark intrigue and resolution in his conversations with others. John loved nature in all its splendor (especially tropical fish, birds, and wildcats). He enjoyed solving complex mysteries and puzzles. His optimism was contagious and his relaxed, welcoming attitude was refreshing.

John's kindness and gift of teaching with wit and humor allowed many people clear access to his knowledge and his ideas. He delighted in learning new things and never stopped looking for ways to improve his products or make life easier or more pleasant for someone else or innovating until the day he passed.

John grew up loving music and entertainment; he eagerly soaked up all the introductions and contacts he had while working at his family's Fabian Theaters in NYC. When he was a young adult, John began seeking and found several other great loves of his life: pedal steel guitar educator Jeff Newman and personal transformation coach Werner Erhard were among John's most important mentors, while pedal steel guitar great, Buddy Emmons, was one of his strongest John's inspirations.

He also loved going places, by car, train, air -- and visited 49 of the 50 states in the USA, some of them several times. He loved exploring new countries such as Singapore (his very favorite), Italy (his next favorite), England, France, Ireland, and South Korea. He called his October 2009 visit, to Italy "the vacation of a lifetime".

When John discovered in his 30's what a difference he (one human being) could make on this planet, he took it literally and used nearly every opportunity he saw to do so. While using his innate good humor and wit to build and encourage strong, innovative teamwork among the various volunteers and employees he led and coached, John was highly respected by all those for whom he was responsible, as well by as his peers and superiors, alike.

As Founder and President of the largest pedal steel guitar company in recent history, World Class Steels, Inc. dba Carter Steel Guitars, John endeavored to bring and maintain the highest level of integrity, honesty, education, and support in the industry. He was the designer and creator of many of that Company's innovations, including various educational seminars and presentations (both live and virtual online), the selling of very high-priced items (pedal steel guitars) via the Internet direct to the consumer (sight unseen) when virtually no one was yet doing so (1996), early adopter of interactive internet displays such as 3-D and configurators to more explicitly give his customers a real feel for the product, interactive trade-show booths for a hands-on intro (1992), design of the Carter-Starter beginner pedal steel guitar which changed the lives of many wanna-be pedal steel guitarists so that they could easily afford to learn to play (2000), design of the Magnum pedal steel guitar, and even co-designing several aspects of the Carter pro model with his partner Bud Carter. In the last few years of his life, John worked very hard to have Bud Carter inducted into the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, which happened in September of 2009.

Possibly John's most powerful contribution to the steel guitar world came from his Marketing and Product Management skills, which he brought from his years of working in the disk drive industry and extensive volunteer work supporting people who desired to reach their full potential. John's use of his business skills, talented networking ability, distribution channels (existing and those he created), promotion and value engineering concepts, and his constant empowerment of others (resulting in his everyday interactions often eliciting from people the highest expression of their abilities and aspirations in the manner most natural to them) were unique among pedal steel guitar builders. This enabled the masses to have access to a quality instrument at an attractive price. This is an important part of his legacy.

John adored using technology of all kinds to better his life and that of those around him -- he knew it was meant to enrich us all and sought to discover all the ways he could find that would do so. Inspirations were a common occurrence for John: he found them everywhere and frequently. He would wake up daily happy, joking, inspired (such arising one morning with the idea for this video which made pedal steel guitar far more understandable, and therefore accessible, to many musicians: www.steelguitar.com/resource/videos/vids6string.html) and "ready to rock and roll".

And, John truly had good manners, class, great taste, attention to detail and style. He so appreciated intricate, artful expression whether in tasty foods, gorgeous inlay, finely finished wood pieces, dancing, singing, musical performances, and nature itself. He even sought to learn new skills so as to present his vision for web design, wood & inlay work, authorship, engineering designs, and future plans in such a pleasing, clear, accurate, and inspirational manner, time after time.

Service to others was of utmost importance to John, even throughout his 8-year heroic, valiant, and periodically-very-successful battle with Stage 3 and then Stage 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer. The one piece of advice he would have for anyone age 50 or under: "Have a colonoscopy at 50 years of age (or even earlier if you suspect you need it earlier)."

Undergraduate and Engineering Degree earned from Missouri Institute of Technology; MBA from Calif State University, San Jose.

Survived by his wife Ann, mother Jane, sister Barbara, cousins, nieces, and nephew. Preceded in death by father and grandparents Harry & Bertha Ogden and Sy & Anna Fabian. John was cremated according to his wishes.

Memorial Service/Celebration of John's Life will be held Sat, Mar 13 2010, 9:30 am, Sheraton Grand Hotel DFW, Galleria 2 Room. [Sheraton Grand DFW Address: 4440 West John Carpenter Freeway Irving, TX 75063]

Condolences may be sent to psgbuilder@steelguitar.com or to The Family of John Fabian, PO Box 851324 Mesquite TX 75185-1324 USA. Donations may be sent to www.GildasClub.org , www.pricepottenger.org, or Scripps Institute of Oceanography www.aquarium.ucsd.edu .

Published in Dallas Morning News on Feb. 28, 2010
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