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February 4, 2016

Obituary: F. Gary Haberle

obit.HaberleA funeral mass is set for 10 a.m. today, Feb. 4, in Heinz Chapel for F. Gary Haberle, assistant dean of business and finance at the School of Pharmacy.

Haberle, 77, of North Versailles, died Jan. 30, 2016, in McKeesport Hospital. He had been diagnosed last spring with a serious illness and became acutely ill shortly before his death, colleagues said.

A longtime School of Pharmacy administrator, Haberle was known for his unfailing generosity, his devotion to the school and his support of its staff.

Haberle was recognized in December for 51 years of service. He began at Pitt in the University’s research accounting office, but spent most of his career in the School of Pharmacy.

Colleagues said his lengthy tenure was rooted in a love for his work and his colleagues, rather than financial need. “He continued to work because it was spending time with family,” said Kellie Mitchell, the pharmacy school’s director of finance.

She and Janie Bradish, the school’s director of space management — both of whom were hired by and mentored by Haberle — recounted his many acts of kindness and generosity. “He was so supportive,” she said.

“He never had a bad day, was never angry, never yelled at anyone,” said Mitchell.

A difficult week in the office often called for a group pizza lunch — and Haberle would insist that staff put down their work and attend.

He brought flowers and holiday gifts and doted on staffers’ children, remembering kids’ birthdays with well-chosen gifts, they told the University Times.

Since Haberle’s death, more tales of his generosity are emerging: He would welcome new faculty — often young and strapped for cash — by treating them to dinner each night for their entire first week on the job. He would reach into his own pocket to loan money to staff or students in need.
“If it weren’t for Gary, I wouldn’t be a pharmacist,” is a common refrain among alumni who benefited from his encouragement, empathy and support.

In announcing Haberle’s death, School of Pharmacy Dean Patricia D. Kroboth stated: “His fierce loyalty, ability to get hard things done, caring nature and sense of community contributed greatly to the success we know at the school today.”

She likewise cited his generous nature, noting that he established a scholarship fund for pharmacy students whose parents work in the school. In addition, the school’s Gary Haberle Endowed Fund provides scholarship support for PharmD students.

Golf and a love for sports filled Haberle’s time outside the office. He was a fan of Panther football and basketball, often traveling to cheer Pitt’s teams in tournament play, Bradish said.

Rich Henderson, budget director in the Office of Administration, Health Sciences, told the University Times: “On a professional basis, I knew that any time our office needed any financial information from the School of Pharmacy I could always rely on Gary to get us accurate and comprehensive information in a timely manner.

“On a personal note, he knew that I had a teenage son, so from time to time he offered me use of his personal season tickets to various sporting events so I could attend with my son, always refusing any reimbursement for use of the tickets.

“In recent years, he would rent a suite at PNC Park and take his friends to a game on a summertime Friday evening. Whether the Pirates won or lost really didn’t matter. Everyone had a great time and Gary just enjoyed seeing everyone having fun together.

“He was just a terrific individual that I am thankful I had the opportunity to know and call a good friend,” Henderson said.

Haberle is survived by a brother, Edmund; a nephew, Edward and his wife, Karen, and their children Hayden, Evan and Vincent.

The family requests memorial donations to the Haberle scholarship fund, 1100 Salk Hall, Pittsburgh 15261.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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