PALM SPRINGS, Ca.
Hotel and restaurant owner Melvyn Haber was laid to rest Thursday after losing his battle with lung cancer and pneumonia.
"Oh he was so cute. He was dashing. He was tall, handsome," said friend Dixie Lu Beck.
"Nice character about him. He always had fun telling all of his jokes. He was a great jokester. And he would go around to all the tables start up some sort of a conversation," said friend Bill Beck.
Haber was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He moved to Palm Springs in the seventies after falling in love with the desert climate and bought the world famous Ingleside Inn in 1975. Shortly after, Haber opened his beloved Melvyn’s restaurant. Both we’re hugely successful and catered to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Cher and former president Gerald Ford.
"Frank Sinatra has his engagement party here. And he said ‘Mel, I don’t want the press to know.’ First thing Mel did was call the Enquirer and when Sinatra walked in, all the bulbs went off and he got crazy. He said ‘you’re the only guy that would do this to me,’ " said childhood friend Barry Eisner.
In addition to his business success, Haber was well known for his humanitarian efforts. He served on the board of Safe House and as president of the board of Angel View.
"He gave back. He took over Angel View, which is for disabled children and he really, really built it up," Eisner said.
After spending a lifetime in the desert Haber became known as Mr. Palm Springs.
"Had a good personality, he was very well liked and people came here just to say hello to him, at the Ingleside Inn and Melvyn’s. He had a good ride, it was just a little too short," said Eisner.