- May 14, 2010
Tampa-based Ideal Image President Bruce Fabel immersed himself in everything he did, from personally using treatments offered by the laser hair removal firm to narrating family horseback riding videos in Utah.
And there were adventures, an adrenaline-fueled list that includes scuba diving, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount St. Helens and practicing martial arts. Fabel even took his zest for life to his mobile phone, where he would often text friends an inspirational message or quote to start their day. His two adult-aged children regularly received a motivational pre-weekend text.
Fabel died March 10 of a heart attack. He was 52.
“I learned from my dad that there's a difference between living life and experiencing life every day,” says Alec Fabel, 19. “My dad experienced life every day.”
Several other people who knew Bruce Fabel, including employees at Ideal Image and some friends in the business community, share Alec Fabel's fond memories. “We all lost someone really good,” says Tampa Realtor Stella Giudicelli, who met Fabel through a property showing and became good friends with him. “He would always see the best in people. Bruce really wanted to see me succeed.”
Fabel joined Ideal Image in 2012 after executive stints with Calvin Klein, Nike and Warner Bros. He led an expansion into more than 120 locations, when annual revenues surpassed
$130 million, before the company's parent firm, Coral Gables-based Steiner Leisure, scaled back operations in 2015. Fabel, with the Business Observer and others, often spoke about a big-picture goal to turn the customer service at Ideal Image into the Ritz-Carlton or Nordstrom of laser hair removal.
Fabel also had an high-profile social media life, promoting Ideal Image, his business insights and fun life moments. He posted a picture on Twitter of himself with actor Pierce Brosnan, for example, in November. And more recently, on Instagram in early March, he posted some behind the scenes pictures of a Fox News interview in New York City, including one with Fox News Corp. CEO Roger Ailes. Fabel also put his direct office phone number on multiple Twitter posts, for a straight line to the president for customer service concerns.
Alec Fabel says the social media image of his dad is genuine. He says his father was the smartest person he knows, and one of the kindest. He plans to start a charity in his dad's memory, under the name LLLB: Live life like Bruce. “He was our everything,” Fabel says. “He was our heart and soul.”
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. March 21, at Temple B'nai Israel, 2200 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, 33431. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Fabel's memory to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, 3329 Johnson St., Hollywood, FL, 33021.