Born on Jan. 12, 1955 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Paul and Mary Taber, he spent his childhood and teenage years learning about the restaurant industry from his father, who owned several Waikiki restaurants, such as the Green Turtle and Hofbrau. Although he relocated to the Bay Area in his late teens, he visited Hawaii frequently.
After graduating from Burlingame High School, he studied music composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for two years. After his father founded Hobee's Restaurant in 1974, however, he realized his true passion was in food and hospitality and joined the family business. He served as president of the company for two decades and grew Hobee's from one small restaurant to 13 company-owned and franchised locations. He also formulated some of Hobee's signature dishes, such as the blueberry coffeecake.
At a Thanksgiving dinner in 1989, he met Fike, who was studying at Santa Clara University, and the two immediately shared an "intense, wonderful" connection, Fike recalled this week. They met for dinner the following night and got married on Dec. 25, 2013 in Hawaii. Taber often referred to this day as the "happiest day of his life." The couple went on many trips around the world and cultivated many lasting friendships.
After his retirement from Hobee's, he pursued his creative work through landscape design and watercolor painting. He won several commendations for his paintings and volunteered with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. Throughout his life, he also donated more than $100,000 in food and gift certificates through Hobee's community donations program to local nonprofits and served on the board of Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce for seven years. He also volunteered with Narcotics Anonymous as he battled and overcame addiction in his own life. He regularly aided and mentored those who struggle with drug addiction.
He is also survived by his sister, Connie Taber Durant of Honolulu, Hawaii; niece, Alex Fuentes of Pearl City, Hawaii. A private service will be held, with details forthcoming. Memorial contributions can be made to Cancer Commons at 5050 El Camino Real Suite 215, Los Altos, CA 94022.
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