Arthur S. Averbook, 76
Art Averbook, age 76, passed away on July 2, 2020 at home in Hollywood, Florida, just two months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It took everyone by surprise, as Art was otherwise in perfect health, playing tennis four times a week and eating a healthy, nearly vegetarian diet.
Art was born in Austin, Minnesota, the middle son of Mae and David Averbook. Growing up, Art had tons of friends, was an excellent student, and was a superior athlete, participating in tennis, baseball and placing third in the State High School Wrestling Championship. In college, Art pursued his interest in hospitality, receiving his undergraduate degree from Michigan State’s highly regarded College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, and then enhancing his skills with an MBA in International Business from George Washington University.
During his career, Art parleyed his education into a variety of opportunities, including: Director of Market Research for the Bahamas, Assistant Professor of Tourism at the University of Hawaii, President of American Express Cruise Line Division, and President of his own company, Co-OP Promotions, where he helped found the cross-promotion industry, speaking at seminars and writing two books along the way: All About Sampling and Demonstrations and Ultimate Guide to Sampling.
Living in Florida for 40 years, Art developed deep friendships with his tennis and skiing buddies and was actively involved in the Big Brother organization. During the last several years, Art spent most afternoons with his absolutely favorite people — grandsons Sam and Simon Kaplan, and Ayden and Parker Gilbert. On any afternoon, Art could be found teaching the kids every sport ever invented, visiting nature centers and bird sanctuaries, or just reading and playing games on a rainy afternoon. Art continued to be happy to share grand-parenting with his good friend and their children’s mother, Roz Averbook.
On vacations, Art and his fiancée and 18-year partner, Marcy Ribman, enjoyed traveling everywhere and visiting with Marcy’s New York area family, in particular grandkids Emma and Zach.
Over the years, everyone who came in contact with Art was buoyed by his natural ability to teach and motivate, his constant interest in learning new things, and his enthusiastic spirit. He signed every email and Facebook posting with his motto: Carpe Diem! And he lived his life accordingly.
Art is survived by, and will be greatly missed by his fiancée Marcy Ribman, his two daughters, Sara Kaplan (Jarret) and Rebecca Gilbert (Bryce), his brothers Dan Averbook (Ellen) and Chas Averbook (Debbie), Roslyn Averbook, nieces and nephews Margo Rosman (Jonathan), Joey Averbook (Danna), Amy Karnilow (Jon), Jennie Kaylie (Matt), Michael Averbook, Marcy’s kids Alisa Freeman and Eric Freeman (Nikki), all the grandkids, and 13 great-nieces and nephews, as well as his two birds, Zoe and Romeo.
Donations in Art’s honor can be made to Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, a Miami bird rescue sanctuary where Art and his grandsons spent many wonderful afternoons. www.pelicanharbor.org. Arrangements by Levitt-Weinstein Blasberg-Rubin-Zilbert Memorial Chapel (305) 932-2700
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