40 years later, this wife and mom is uber grateful

Farbman 40th anniversary party

At the 40th anniversary event, from left: Burton Farbman, Southfield Mayor Ken Siver, Southfield Councilman Daniel Brightwell, Andy Farbman, former Southfield Mayor Don Fracassi, David Farbman

Sometimes we’re invited to parties we know will rock. The hosts will go all out (as in the clever People Mover art tour birthday party Mary Kay Crain threw for husband Keith years ago or the recent glamorous anniversary soiree of Frances and Kenny Eisenberg).

What will we wear? Taste? Experience? Who’ll we see? But last Tuesday, Burton and I walked in to The Standard office building with no expectations. It was the 40th anniversary of Farbman Group. A business thing.

We arrived early and were shown into a room with a video camera. The cameraman asked what we’d like to say for the company video. Suddenly Burton and I were struck by what that night meant. He looked at me; I looked at him; our eyes filled with tears.

Burton and Suzy Farbman at the 40th event

Burton and Suzy Farbman at the 40th celebration.

40 years.

40 years in which sons David and Andy had grown into capable, dynamic men who now, God love ‘em, run the company. Along with the late Lee Stein, Katie Setterberg (secretary) and I (marketing and p.r.), Burton launched the firm in small offices in the Top of Troy. (He leased the building for developer Bob Sosnick.) In the 40 years since, our real estate company moved to larger and larger quarters in Troy and now Southfield, MI. In those 40 years, we’d been through multiple recessions; endless politics; financing disasters; and home runs like the Riverfront Towers, the Wayne County Building, land acquisitions for Detroit Metro Airport, the Tigers and Lions stadiums. And many more.

Burton and I had experienced ups and downs as well. No couple gets through 4 decades without facing challenges. In those 40 years, Burton and I survived marriage problems. Soon after, I fought stage 4 cancer with Burton as my champion and medical advocate. I’d written books about our struggles, true stories that gave hope to thousands. Burton and I had made it through issues which had taken down many others, issues that could have prevented our being there that night. Together. Healthy, thank God. Sharing such pride.

Guests began to arrive. Having had a long time office at Farbman Group, I was delighted to reconnect with Denise Tietze, Burton’s exec assistant for 32 years. With Thelma Hardy, Deborah Jackson and Tammy Felhandler, who’d helped me often with tech assistance, holiday cards, etc. (Deborah says Burton “rescued” her from public assistance.) With Rodney Lange, my tech guru, and retired pals like Judy Smith and Faye Yonker. With Sandra Boynton, our current assistant. And execs including Andy Gutman and Mike Kalil, whose leadership allowed our Andy to move to Chicago and expand to other markets and David to develop 2 other businesses. And many more.

Dozens of current and former staffers came up to us and said things like, “Because of your family, I can afford a house and a nice car and my kids’ education.” What a thrill to hear the pride they expressed in being “with Farbman.”

To accommodate 700 friends, employees, vendors and clients, Sandy Eisho and her Farbman Group team chose the large lower level of The Standard in Southfield, a handsome office complex FG manages and leases. Hitman Tommy Hearns greeted arriving guests upstairs. Downstairs, a DJ played upbeat music. Photos of FG properties and events showed on screens. The bar displayed a chalkboard reading “Cheers to 40 Years,” and featured beers from “Farbman territories.”

Thanks to the whole staff for making us so proud and to the party organizers for providing us such an opportunity to kvell.

“KVELL: To beam with pride and pleasure, Jewish parents are prone to kvell over their children’s accomplishments.”

40 years. The chance to watch our sons thrive, not only in business but as fathers, husbands, community members. To have survived personal and health crises and to be there that night, together. We’re counting a whole lot of blessings.

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30 thoughts on “40 years later, this wife and mom is uber grateful

  1. M and D maddin

    Suzy and Burt

    We were overseas and unable to be there personally to congratulate and celebrate with you and the boys, but did so on hearing about the event and reading your report.

    Our relationship spans the entire 40 years and we couldn’t be happier for you to have made it through all the trials and tribulations of those years and wound up on “top of the world” with good health, fortune, family and friends.

    Congratulations and many more years of the same.

    M and D

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks, Mickey and Donna. So pleased you’ve been on board from the get go. Appreciate your comments.

  2. Lynn Buehler

    F = Friends and Family
    A = Affable and Artful
    R = Reasonable and Relevant
    B = Business Brains
    M = Mentors and Managers
    A = Affiliation and Affection
    N = Nimble and Notable

    F A R B M A N
    Describes the Farbman Group over the years. Congratulations All!

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      This is so clever. Many thanks from the whole family to my capable, original and much appreciated sistah.

  3. Linda Milne

    Congratulations! Tremendous accomplishments! You’re wonderful people with HUGE hearts – a real gift to all who know you. Love you both – Bob & Linda

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks, Bob and Linda. High praise from some very talented, also big hearted friends.

  4. Deborah Lemons-Jackson

    My years at Farbman, has helped me become a better, parent, coworker and adult. I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I could, thank you so much for the opportunities.
    Much love and sincere gratitude
    Deborah Lemons-Jackson

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      You are a remarkable woman and an inspiration. We’re honored to have been part of your process. Thanks for your very sweet comment.

  5. Sandra Boynton

    Thanks for sharing your story Suzy. It was very special night for so many of us as I heard one touching story or comment after another from people who have such appreciation and respect for your family. You’ve all built an extraordinary company with a great team and I’m so proud to be part of it! Congrats again on 40 years!!!

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      And we are lucky to have you as part of the team. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  6. Elaine Greenberg

    My dear Suzy and Burt–our friendship doesn’t go back 40 years–our friendship is a fairly new one (about 14 years) and based on the fact that some cells in your body (Suzy ) and mine went “out of whack”—-but I have such admiration for both of you for all you have done in your lives. I feel blessed to be among your friends.
    xoxox (as you always sign off, Suzie) Many more anniversaries—for business, for weddings, for whatever milestones you choose to celebrate.

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks, Elaine, for the thoughtful comment. We are sisters in survival. Thanks for all you do for all your sisters. Know this year’s Jazzalot will be stellar. Break a leg.

  7. Sue Kleinpell

    Congratulations Suzy and Burt!! You are such a dynamic duo in marriage and business!

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks, Special K’s. From one dynamic duo to another: look forward to seeing you soon.

  8. Rodney

    Congratulations, Suzy. You know, I didn’t realize for the longest time that you were THAT Farbman. I love the kvelling!

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks, Rodney Guy. I’m proud to be part of THOSE Farbmans. You can see why. Keep wondering. And WANDERING. 🙂

  9. Delin bru

    Congratulations ! To the Farbman family !
    And to be an example to follow for many !
    More blessing wishes going your way from
    The Brus !

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks for the sweet comment. I know you understand, super mom that you are.

  10. Destry Ramey

    Suzy, you & your entire family are amazing. All of you have come through so much with bountiful success both personally & professionally. You are the core of this family with your heart, perseverance, love & courage. Major kudos to you. You are definitely an example to follow. I so look forward to the privilege of meeting you one day. Wrapping you & your family in more sunshine.

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      What a lovely comment from one of my favorite blog subjects. Thanks so much.

  11. Sharon. Haggard

    Fantastic. two wonderful people that I feel honored to count among my most beloved friends, sh

  12. Denise Tietze

    Sweet and poignant reflections, Suzy. I was so happy to be there to enjoy a very special evening.

  13. Karen Dowejko

    Dear Suzy and Burt,
    Congratulations on your anniversary and the positive outcomes your business and friendships have made in the world; you may never know some of those outcomes but on such a milestone, it warms the heart to hear the stories and see the smiles and have your two wonderful sons working along the same path. God is good. Best wishes to the whole family.
    Your friend,
    Karen Dowejko

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