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Howard Falberg

Howard Falberg

Tuesday, December 13th, 1932 - Monday, February 24th, 2020
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Obituary

Howard Falberg loved people, and people loved him back. Dogs, too. In fact, there is a New Yorker magazine cartoon that perfectly summed up Howard's ability to attract love and devotion. Everybody loved Howard.

Howard filled our lives, and the lives of so many others, with his kindness, his decency, and his charm. He made you happy just by being who he was.

Howard grew up in the Bronx, born to an immigrant father who worked in the deli he and his brother owned. Howard lived in a one-bedroom apartment with his parents and his brother, Warren. That deli came in hand; when other kids brought their teachers Christmas gifts, he brought them a salami. We imagine that the teachers like the salami best.

Howard took piano lessons as a boy. He was tall, smart, and academically inclined, graduating early from the Bronx High School of Science. He earned a full-ride scholarship to Columbia University. He worked his way through college, sometimes earning money playing the piano. One of his favorite memories was a summer job playing piano at a hotel in Central City, Colorado. His leadership skills were also in full bloom during college; he was Class President for the Class of '54, a member of the Knockums secret society, as well as Toastmasters.

What made Howard so popular? There was nothing phony about him. He just had a genuine goodness and an ability to talk to people.

Howard majored in History but after a short detour toward law school, decided that wasn't for him and earned an MBA. He remained devoted to Columbia for his entire life.

Howard enlisted in the Army, and, by a matter of chance and a friend who exchanged Howard's original Chicago with his for San Francisco, was sent serendipitously to San Francisco. One Sunday, he and other Jewish soldiers were invited to a bagel brunch at Congregation Emanuel, where he met Carol May, who had gone to help her friend volunteer to serve bagels. They were instantly attracted to each other, engaged, and married within three months of that initial meeting.

Howard's career was meteoric in nature. From working in Development at Columbia University to Recruiting for A&S Department Stores, he moved up the corporate ladder of success, reaching high-level executive positions in Human Resources at Federated Department Stores and Associated Dry Goods. He concluded his career as EVP for Human Resources Worldwide for May Co.

Howard and Carol lived in many cities, from Pleasant Hill, California, to Westbury, New York, and points in between, settling in Weston, Connecticut where he commuted to work in New York City for 20 years. In these various homes, they raised five children, Lisa, Debby, Vicki, Jeff, and Stephen, who predeceased them.

Howard had always wanted a pet, not something that could easily be accommodated in the one-bedroom apartment where he grew up. He and Carol had a couple of standard poodles, but then, in 1970, bought a pure-bred Golden Retriever puppy named Cleo. The breeder suggested they take her to a puppy match the following weekend. Cleo won a ribbon and the Falberg family was hooked! Howard and Carol were involved with dog shows: showing and breeding more than 30 champions, making friends in the dog show world, and Howard became a dog show judge. He founded the Greater St. Louis Golden Retriever Club and became president of the National Golden Retriever Club and the Canine Health Foundation. Howard and Carol took the name Westmont for their kennel. Westmont is a portmanteau of two of their former residences, Westbury and Montgomery, Ohio. Howard traveled around the country and to Canada, South America, Australia, and China for judging assignments.

After retirement, Howard and Carol moved to Poway, California. There, they helped build Ner Tamid Synagogue. Howard kept up his connection to Columbia, writing a monthly newsletter for alumni, and interviewing prospective students each year as part of their admissions process.

Carol died 15 years ago, after 49 years of marriage. Howard was grief-stricken, but also a very lucky man, and in 2009 met Deborah Davis through a mutual friend. They had just begun their tenth year of marriage, a tremendous gift of renewed love.

Howard was the kind of father you looked up to, who was good at giving hugs, and who lit up when seeing his children and grandchildren. He was kind, funny, relentlessly positive, and told funny stories that put his grandchildren at the center of the story.

The family invites your contributions to any of the following charities: Ner Tamid Synagogue in Poway, Congregation Beth Israel in La Jolla, Congregation Beth Emek in Pleasanton, and the AKC Canine Health Foundation.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 |
    When
    Wednesday, February 26th, 2020
    Location
    Home of Peace Cemetery - Colma
    Address
    1299 El Camino Real
    Colma, CA 94014
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Location
    Home of Peace Cemetery - Colma
    Address
    1299 El Camino Real
    Colma, CA 94014
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Condolences

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DH

David Hubbard

Posted at 04:10pm
From David,

Howard was a giant of a man. Really, I think Lisa had to order the Pine from the Big and Tall Mortuary. Alas along with great physical stature came a human of immense proportion through life. He was the patriarch, a leader by nature and an eminent example of the affable mensch we all should aspire to.

Long Ago - as Paul Simon captured in Bookends “ Long Ago it must be, I have a photograph - preserve your memories They’re all that’s left you.

Howard was struggling to grasp his pictures as his illness melted the celluloid of his past. So I thought I could share some of mine on his behalf. Recently I watched as Vicki toured the early family albums with him on the couch in Poway before the move. He was truly joyful catching up with his past and identifying our former selves in his life's best moments together. He remembered you and you and you and smiled and pointed to the dogs in the pictures. And said “oh I remember that”. And “oh that was a nice house”. I saw my wife return the favor of her life, in her care and grace with him, as she edged him on in this adventure.

On a lighter note - perhaps, I’ll bet you didn’t know that Howard was the only relative in this room that gave me a scar. We were playing racquetball, a sport that he grabbed onto in the hope to keep up with Carol’s grand athleticism (she was running marathons at that point), and either my poor footwork or his competitive zeal landed his racquet above mine eye - and the red stains never came out of that polo shirt. His gestures “ ooh oh gosh I didn’t see you”, “ Well I don't think you need stitches, Vicki get some ice”! Just that fluster and then gracious concern while he tried to figure out if he was really to blame for this mess on the floor - it was just priceless. I think I was winning early and these things can happen with the truly competitive.

Time it was, and what a time it was.

I was reminded last night of a favorite time with Dad. We would visit with our young children and he would tell them Hasenfeffer stories. It was grand as he placed his attentive subjects in the center of the medieval tales of whoa, with the dastardly Dragon Hasenfeffer burning up the countryside, until Prince Stephen or Ben outsmarted the beast. Yeah! And so clever they were at it. I learned to carry on the tradition at home. So it was a gift passing down the generations. L’dor V’dor.

Time it was, and what a time it was.
A time innocence
A time of confidences

In His memory is a blessing




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