Fabio Velez’s siblings, Diego, Lucy, and Maritza Velez, remember him as “an amazing son, brother, uncle, and friend who lived life on his own terms,” his family wrote. He particularly enjoyed the beach and the ocean, and “along with his signature smile he always had a perfect tan.”
Mr. Velez, who in recent years worked as a real estate agent with Corcoran in East Hampton and also in South Florida, died at Stony Brook University Hospital on July 2 following a short illness. He was 66 and had liver cancer.
As a friend, real estate agent, and tennis player, he had “the most astonishing ability to focus on the task at hand,” his colleague Diane Saatchi wrote. “On the tennis court and as a real estate agent he was fiercely competitive, and he was especially adept at both. Out of the office and off the court Fabio was all heart.”
Jackie Dunphy, another friend and colleague, remembered Mr. Velez showing up to help shovel her driveway without being asked, helping to transport food to the food pantry, and delivering Christmas presents to children in need. He also helped her daughter get her first job.
“Fabio was always generous with his time and ready to give whatever anyone needed,” said another colleague, Jan Jaeger. Sheila Smith recalled his infectious smile and thoughtful soul.
Mr. Velez had a great love of animals, especially dogs. He was an excellent cook who enjoyed sharing this talent with friends and family — at home and on the beach. “He was the life of the party in high school, loved sports, and was a good artist,” his family said.
Mr. Velez was born in Colombia on Sept. 24, 1955, to Lucero Jimenez Velez and Efrain Velez. He immigrated to America when he was 7, settling in Port Washington with his grandmother Maria Luisa Blano and his three siblings. He moved to Manhattan after high school, studying acting and working as a real estate agent there.
His three siblings survive. Diego Velez lives in New York City, Lucy Velez in Florida, and Martiza Velez in Kentucky. He is also survived by his dear friend Ernest Leatherwood, who was like a father to him, and by three nephews, a niece, and a cousin.
His family has suggested memorial contributions to Serving Up Hope, a foundation providing starter tennis programs for underserved children, at servinguphope.org/fort-lauderdale-fl.