Fabian marks turning 104 with grace
Max Fabian of Niles celebrated his 104th birthday on March 9 at the Northbrook North Suburban YMCA. Right, Howard Schultz, NSYMCA CEO/executive director introduces him to well-wishers. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 15, 2013 10:24AM
NORTHBROOK — For a guy who’s 104 years old, Max Fabian of Niles sure can hop aboard a bench like Fred Astaire did in the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn.”
Bing Crosby’s character would be impressed.
Yes it’s true. Nimble toes really did happen at the North Suburban YMCA in Northbrook March 9 at Max’s 104th birthday party.
When Fabian was asked to please sit down on a gym bench, as a basketball court was being cleared (of players) to make way for his wheeled-in birthday cake – Fabian stepped up to the cake plate so to speak.
He stood on top of the bench.
A mortified Ali Friduss, NSYMCA director of marketing & communications, quickly flagged down help.
Get. Max. Down. Safely. Now!
Ahh, a birthday surprise…
Frank Lenardi, NSYMCA senior director of aquatics, camp, and facilities, came to the rescue.
Fabian, a 30-year Niles resident, needed no slice of birthday cake to be the cut up to make this celebration hilarious, but heartfelt.
Fabian, who stuck his right finger in the cake to lick icing, can cry if he wants to.
But he smiled instead.
Howard Schultz, NSYMCA CEO/executive director, a guy who’s always up for a good joke, said this at a news conference when asked why Fabian is an inspiration.
“Because he survived this long without somebody killing him, I think,” deadpanned Schultz.
Fabian is also known for telling it like it is. Consider a recent Chicago radio interview (Ask Howard…).
Seriously, Schultz also said, “Max is a wonder, without a doubt.
“He really exemplifies the values of healthy living that we all admire.
“I think Max’s secret to a long life is healthy living at the NSYMCA.”
Added Schultz who promotes www.nsymca.org: “He’s an inspiration to all of the people in their eighties and nineties.
“Max is like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps on going and going and going...”
See and hear Max for yourself at www.northbrook.suntimes.com where Karie Angell Luc also interviews Schultz.
There you’ll see Fabian toss the ball for the ceremonial tip-off at the Y’s annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
And can you guess where Max likes to exercise? Be ready to read the titles for the answer!
In Max’s words: Who is Max Fabian?
Who am I? Well, I am a friend of the people. My name is Max Fabian and I’ve been around for a long time. And I don’t know how I did it, but through the people I’m surrounded with, help me.
What’s your secret to a long life?
Breathing. Keep on breathing. Don’t stop breathing otherwise you have a change in your physical condition.
Do you like the North Suburban YMCA where you have been become a symbol of longevity?
I love the Northbrook community. It brought me back to civilization.
Does exercise help you with breathing?
Oh definitely. Makes me active. Makes me want to be a kid again. I love life. That’s all I ask. Do the right thing. And be trustworthy (points right hand up to make a point).
Max, who would you like to say thank you to?
Oh, I appreciate everything that people do for me. Sometimes I don’t know if I should cry or laugh. And I appreciate all of these accolades I’m getting now. Why do I deserve them? Because I am living longer or because they love me? You know? I am an example. There’s just a few of us (centenarians plus) left…