Friday, June 19, 2009

Memories of My Dad, Victor Fabian

In early February, 1999, my dad was dying. We didn't know if he would die sooner or later and I asked him if he thought he'd live to see the year 2000. "I don't know" he said, and his eyes looked off into the future for a moment before adding "That would really be something, wouldn't it?" He died two weeks later on February 15.

Victor Fabian was born in 1909 in the coal mining town of Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. His father, Matthew, was a coal miner who died in the mines when Victor was a young teenager. He quit school to help support his struggling family. Eventually he got his high school diploma but college was not in his future. He met a nurse who stole his heart - my mother, Grace - from the nearby town of Carrolltown and they were married in 1930.

Dad had always worked hard and wasn't afraid of a challenge. He moved his young family from Pennsylvania to Detroit, Michigan where there was promise of jobs in the auto industry. While working he studied a new technology, air conditioning, and eventually started his own business called Square Deal Heating and Cooling ("Let us control your temper - ature."). For many years he was a successful business man and was able to retire comfortably. Good thing, because he and Grace needed to support their eight children!

What I remember most about my dad is that he balanced his love of and commitment to his company with his undying love and dedication to his family. In the evenings I would help him with his work by sharpening pencils. After his golf game on Sunday, he would take me to the playground, the one with the "wiggly waggly sliding board." I remember him planting flowers in our yard in the spring, and shoveling snow in the winter. He was hard-working and a tad strict, but he often had a sparkle in his eyes, a song in his throat and an occasional dance in his feet.

There are so many precious memories of my dad. As I write this, though, one in particular comes to mind. When I was very young, I'd cuddle in his lap before going to bed and pretend to fall asleep so that he'd have to carry me upstairs to bed. And he did just that, while softly singing lullabies to me. He later told me that he knew I was pretending but was happy to play along.

Even after all these years, my eyes fill up when I think of how tender he was, how passionate he was in all aspects of his life and how absolutely devoted he was to our family.

He was never too self conscious of his aging process to discourage me from taking photos of him. Posing for me was such a great gift. I'm so proud to call this man my daddy; my heart is bursting.

Happy Father's Day!


  1. Jane, this is a beautiful post and tribute to your father. I'm blessed that my dad is still alive.

  2. A very touching tribute to a very special man.

  3. This is just the best -- what a tribute. I especially loved how he knew you were faking, and that was OK -- I think that moment had to be special to him, too. And a lovely photo of a handsome man. He did something right -- he raised you.


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