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Harold Farb

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HAROLD FARB, revered as a bigger than life Houston developer, fulfilled his own prophecy that he would leave this earth with a new creative project on the drawing board and a song in his heart. All too soon, and unexpectedly, he passed away at the age of 83, on October 10, 2006. At the time of his death, Harold was busy planning his next development and enjoying life to the fullest with his devoted wife, loving family and his extended family of friends and colleagues. Harold passed away at the home he built with his true love, Diane Farb, who shared with Harold his passion for helping the Houston community and spending memorable evenings filled with friends and music. Harold Farb is survived by his wife of 17 years, Diane Farb, his son James Farb, daughters Judith Farb, Janet Farb, JoAnne Jeffries, and grandchildren Laura Farb, Jonathan Farb, Rebecca Luks, Mindy Fein, Daniel Fein, Albert Farb and Jake Robichaux. Harold is also survived by his aunt Gertrude Farb and his aunt Sadie Fox. Harold adored and encouraged his family and greatly enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. Harold was born on April 29, 1923, the only child of Albert and Esther Farb, who predeceased him. Harold's beloved uncle, Sam Farb, and his daughter Janie Farb also predeceased him. Within months of Harold Farb's birth in Galveston, the family moved to Houston, where Harold graduated from Austin High School in 1940. Immediately out of high school, Harold began his four year service in the United States Army. Mr. Farb had a distinguished career in the military, serving in Europe under Gen. George S. Patton, in World War II. After his return from the military, Harold Farb worked two years with his father in commercial real estate development and then, true to his personality, he took control of his own destiny and started his own company as an independent apartment developer. He spent over 60 years in the business and never lost his passion for his life's work. Throughout his career, he never had a partner and always ran the business his way, and was always true to his own vision and standards. The Farb apartment homes have become home to over a million residents in over 60,000 apartment homes, most in the Houston vicinity, but also expanding to Dallas, Colorado and Florida. As a business man, Harold Farb believed that if he showed people respect and loyalty, it would be returned. Evidencing the success of his approach is the fact that hundreds of his management staff and residents have remained with Farb properties for over 30 years. Most of his Saturday mornings were spent walking the grounds of his Houston apartment projects to make certain that he was in touch with the residents and the on-site management teams. It was his determined goal that every project bearing his name and his famous "logo" silhouette would look and feel like a place that would make residents proud to call home. Harold Farb was a true visionary in the apartment business, as he courageously projected Houston's future need for affordable housing during the city's boom years of the early 70's. He built projects of unprecedented size, with the latest amenities, and created "no lease, no deposit" so that those coming to fill the job market could land here on their feet, live in dignity, and have a home to bring their families to Houston, even before the first paycheck came. Harold will be remembered not only for his enormous success and innovation in business, but also for his grand, though utterly unassuming, personality. He was generous in every way, giving much of his time to benefit others. He shared the success of his business career by giving back to many Houston charities and community organizations, especially including the Texas Heart Institute, The Hermann Stroke Research Foundation, M.D. Anderson Hospital, The Houston Ballet, and The Houston Grand Opera. Harold also shared with others his love for music, especially the beautiful songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter. On many enchanted evenings at the Farb home, Harold would urge others to relax and sing a few songs, and he would offer his own beautiful rendition of some of the 2,500 songs he had committed to memory. Friends and family will cherish these special times spent with Harold and his love of musiche was, in every way, truly unforgettable. Serving as Honorary Pallbearers are Dr. Milton Altschuler, Ralph Balasco, Ceron, Dr. Denton Cooley, W. W. Crochet, Marvy Finger, Gregory E. Fourticq, Sr., Jenard Gross, Jodie Hoffer, Mayor Bob Lanier, Rodney Margolis, Michael J. Mayell, Jess Moore, Lucian Morrison, Shafik Rifaat, Robert Sakowitz, Barry Silverman, James Ware, Harold Weisenthal, Gov. Mark White and Marvin Zindler. Services will be held on Friday, October 13, 2006, at 11:00a.m., with Rabbi Roy A. Walter officiating, in the main sanctuary of Temple Emanu El, 1500 Sunset Blvd. Memorial contributions may be made to the Texas Heart Institute, 6770 Bertner, Suite C 550, Houston, Texas 77030, or to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, Texas 77030.

Published in Houston Chronicle from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12, 2006
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