Peter Taber, longtime co-owner of Hobee’s California Restaurants, died peacefully Jan. 30 following a yearlong battle with melanoma. He was 63 years old.
Mr. Taber passed away at his Los Altos Hills home with his husband and partner of 28 years, Edward Fike, and their Jack Russell terrier, Sydney, by his side.
Born Jan. 12, 1955, in Honolulu, Mr. Taber, his younger sister Connie (Durant) and parents, the late Paul and Mary Taber, spent many years on Oahu. During that time, Paul owned and operated several Waikiki restaurants, including the Green Turtle and the Hofbrau. Mr. Taber and his sister learned the restaurant business from a very young age. The family embraced Hawaii’s “aloha spirit” and were inspired by the beauty of the island and its people.
The family moved to the Bay Area when Mr. Taber was a teenager. Following graduation from Burlingame High School, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston for two years, majoring in composition. After his father founded Hobee’s in 1974, however, Mr. Taber decided that his true passion was food and hospitality. He joined the family business in Mountain View and began helping to mold what would become a Silicon Valley institution.
Mr. Taber contributed greatly to the success of Hobee’s, serving as company president for nearly two decades. A talented chef, he formulated many of the chain’s signature dishes, including its blueberry coffeecake.
He loved the people part of the business, getting to know his regular customers by name and taking an active interest in nurturing employees at every level. Over the years, he grew Hobee’s from one small restaurant to its peak of 13 company-owned and franchised locations.
In 1989, Mr. Taber met Fike at a Thanksgiving Day dinner in Palo Alto. The two spent the remainder of Mr. Taber’s life together and moved to Los Altos Hills in 1994. Fike joined Mr. Taber at Hobee’s and served as company president following Mr. Taber’s retirement in 2005.
The couple took many trips throughout the world and cultivated dozens of lasting friendships. Mr. Taber often cited their wedding in Hawaii on Christmas Day 2013 as the happiest day of his life.
After stepping away from Hobee’s, Mr. Taber pursued landscape design and watercolor painting. He received several commendations for his watercolors and enjoyed sharing his talent with friends, many of whom display his paintings in their homes.
Among Mr. Taber’s most notable achievements was overcoming his battle with drug addiction in the early 2000s, after which he regularly aided and mentored those who continued to struggle.
Mr. Taber was grateful for the final year of his life. Because of advances in medicine, he was given the chance to extend his time. He made the most of his time and spent it with family and friends. He and Fike made three trips to Hawaii in his final year.
A private celebration of Mr. Taber’s life will be held at a future date.