Rand Robert Frank Gaber
September 12, 1951 – August 16, 2020
Rand Robert Frank Gaber
Rand Gaber left this earth on Sunday, 16 August, at home in the loving embrace of his family. A longtime resident of the City of Fairfax, Rand made an enormous impact on so many people – both professionally and personally – and will be sorely missed.
Rand was born in Rhinelander, WI on 12 September 1951. He was the third of eight children born to Bob (Robert) and Dolores Gaber. Rand spent his adult life in public service.
Rand joined the Coast Guard when he was 18 years old and served on the Great Lakes for four years. He left the Coast Guard and moved from Michigan to Fairfax, VA in 1973 to pursue a career in law enforcement on the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD). While there, Rand re-enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve. He also started a home improvement and commercial renovation company, Homeworks, Inc., that he successfully operated with his partner for more than 25 years. After five years on the FCPD, Rand transferred to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, where he served as an EMT, Firefighter, and Fire Marshal. He retired after 25 years of service. Upon retirement, he “walked across the street” to the City of Fairfax as a Building Inspector. He utilized his expertise in code enforcement, general contracting and fire safety to guide and lead commercial projects in the City of Fairfax. Rand achieved the designation of Master Code Professional in 2008. He retired from the City and came back to work as a contractor for five more years.
Rand served 29+ years in the Coast Guard/Coast Guard Reserve, and retired as a Warrant Officer (CW04) and Special Agent in the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS). Rand was instrumental in building the efficacy, success and reputation of the Special Agent program by recruiting Reserve Agents that had extensive law enforcement experience in the private sector.
Rand was very active in the American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax City, VA, and served on the Corporate Board. He worked very closely with developers, architects, Legion members, and the City of Fairfax on expansion. Rand worked tirelessly to improve and update the Legion for its members. One of many projects Rand worked on, and took pride in, was the retirement of old and worn flags. The American Legion Post 177 is a drop off point for retired flags in Northern Virginia. US Flag Code, Title 4, Section 8k: states, “The flag when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning”. Boy Scout Troop 1887 and Legion members would oversee the burning of the flags at Post 177. Due to the high volume of retired flags (approximately 1000 per year), and in the interest of safety from toxic fumes and ecological concerns, another solution seemed necessary. Rand collaborated with Covanta Fairfax (Lorton incinerator) and Fairfax County Public Works to provide a safe, respectful and honorable flag disposal at Covanta, according to the US Flag Code.
Rand Gaber garnered great respect in all of his public service careers with his professionalism, his desire to bring people up and see them succeed, the ability to see and implement creative real-time solutions to challenges, his mentorship and most importantly his talent to connect in a meaningful way with all whom he came in contact. Rand never met a stranger and was always there with a helping hand, building lifelong friendships. He was viewed as a leader, and all counted on him to lead the way. He was a mentor and encouraged those he worked with to develop their education and move ahead in their careers. In his Building Inspector role, he guided business owners on how to accomplish code requirements so they could be successful in opening their businesses.
Rand loved life, his family and friends. Rand was a loving and generous husband (my best friend) and father of three. He adopted Heather and Sebastian in 2019. Rand was a devoted and awesome Papa. He adored his grandchildren and they adored him, recalling stories of their time with him. “Remember Papa, when….” Rand was blessed with many friends. Whenever there was a project to accomplish, Rand would step up to help out – “no problem, piece of cake. It’ll take 20 minutes!” Or if you needed something, “I have a guy”. He had the habit of taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary! And he had an exceptional smile, sense of humor, and voice that lifted up everyone when he walked in the room – larger than life. Rand valued getting out with his buddies for a round of golf and a little wager. He was often in charge of setting up day trips and golf outings. He enjoyed having “yuks” with his friends and recounting golf stories. Rand loved to travel and we spent 33 years traveling the world. We were like kids, excitedly exploring new and different places and cultures, learning we are all very similar. Life was truly an adventure! So many wonderful stories and (lifelong) friends met along the way!
Rand is survived by his loving wife, Melinda; two children: Sebastian and Heather (Naiem Saffoori); four grandchildren: Alexa, Brayden, Isabella, and Zoey-Phoenix. He is also survived by seven brothers and sisters: Scott Gaber, Cynthia Johnson, Mona Snow, John Gaber, Nancy Bowling, David Gaber, and Rebecca Spencer. Rand was pre-deceased by his son, Matthew Gaber.
Rand’s life was so full and the stories are endless, so we invite you to share your stories and “Gaber-isms”.
A service will be held on the front lawn of Truro Anglican Church, 10520 Main St, Fairfax, VA, on Saturday, 26 September at 2:00 pm. A celebration of Rand follows at the American Legion Post 177, 3939 Oak St, Fairfax, VA, at 3:30 pm. Both events will be outdoors in order to comply with guidelines for social distancing. Face masks are required. Please take the weather into consideration when choosing attire since weather could change throughout the day. (umbrella, jacket, sun hat, etc.) Donations may be made in Rand’s name on pancan.org, in lieu of flowers.
Truro Anglican Church
Celebration of Life
American Legion Post 177
Rand Robert Frank Gaber
September 11, 2020
To all of the Gaber Family -
May you find peace at this time of sorrow, and let your memories bring comfort to your heart.
My husband did not realize that he did not have Gaber hyphenated onto his last name, as he always cared for every Gaber like he was related. Both of us were always treated like family. My condolences to all. If Bill were here, he would be so sorry. He is still the other "bookend" to Scott in spirit, no doubt. May Rand rest in peace. God bless you all.
September 5, 2020
My condolences to the Gaber family. I was so privileged to have known this gentleman from friends of his. He was always wearing a smile and very kind to me. Melinda, thank you for sharing him with us. Love you.
September 2, 2020
Rand has been my best friend for over thirty five years. I will miss him terribly, as we have been through so much together. We have had our share of good times, along with some bad. This photo I have attached is just one illustration of when we couldn't be together on the golf course and on just how much he missed me. We both knew the outcome of his diagnosis, but I never realize how difficult it would be without him. He will never truly be gone as long as I have him in my memories. God bless you my friend. Love you always!
Gerry and Dana Pfeifer
August 24, 2020
God has welcomed a special loving man into heaven🙏
He will be missed but never forgotten ❣️
Love and Prays are with you all😘
August 22, 2020
My condolences to the Gaber family. A true first responder and a valued friend. From the family of Master Patrol Officer Gary Gulich, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington D.C.
August 20, 2020
Love you Rand, the family is missing a limb from the family tree. Our hearts are broken. Prayers for Melinda and family , we know how they will miss you forever. We will all meet again. No words are enough to thank you for all you have given this world in the short journey you had here on Earth.
Jim and Marsha Rutherford
August 20, 2020
Melinda and family
We don’t have the words to express our sorrow for your loss.
We think and pray for you every day. Stay strong.
Bo and MARSHA
August 18, 2020
Dear Melinda and family,
Our deepest condolences to you all at this very sad time. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Georgia and Vic