Morris Nace Habif, husband of Susie Habif for 60 years, of blessed memory, and father of 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren, passed after a life filled with intense passion for family, business and his community. An Atlanta native, Morris grew up during the Great Depression, while his father struggled to earn a living as a hat maker. He attended Commercial High School, where he was never without a parttime job. Because his father died when he was 16, Morris took a job as a bookkeeper as soon as he graduated high school. Morris entered the army during the waning days of WWII. His business acumen was quickly noticed by his superiors, who selected Morris to serve as assistant to the administrator at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. After returning to Atlanta, Morris worked at General Motors, where he was distinguished as the only one in the accounting department without a college degree. Soon after, he met his adored wife, Susie, while she was traveling from her home in Havana, Cuba.
Between 1950 and 1958, Morris was a serial entrepreneur, opening a number of small businesses, including a sewing machine business, barbecue restaurant and a chain of transmission repair shops. In his spare time, he attended law school at night and became a member of the State Bar of Georgia. In 1959, Morris founded APD Transmission Parts, which distributed parts to repair centers throughout the U.S. He enjoyed 47 years of success from this business until selling it in 2006 as part of a nation-wide roll up of suppliers.
Of all his businesses, Morris’s greatest passion was for commercial real estate. Beginning in the 1960s, Morris helped initiate a renaissance in south downtown Atlanta when he purchased and rehabilitated many vacant buildings that comprised Atlanta’s former garment district. State and municipal buildings now occupy much of the land that Morris assembled in this area. Morris went on to purchase office buildings, retail centers and warehouses throughout metro Atlanta. He continued to pursue his passion for real estate, working at Habif Properties through age 95, where could be found at the office 6 days a week. When he wasn’t working, Morris enjoyed boating and traveling with family.
Morris is preceded in death by his loving wife, Susie, and his brothers, Isaac and Israel. He is survived by his five children and their spouses, Larry Habif, Michael & Gail Habif, Valerie Habif & Neil Wasser, Marlene & Mark Haber and Nancy Habif & Scott Kleber; as well as 15 grandchildren and their spouses, Taylor Habif, Craig & Julie Habif, Lauren & Ben Barden, Frank & Hartley Wasser, Brent & Raleigh Wasser, Keith Wasser, Aaron Wasser & Marisa Ahlzadeh, Andrew Haber, Jamie Haber, Katie Haber, Shaun Kleber, Troy & Sara Jane Kleber, Brandon Kleber, Chase Kleber and Selena Kleber; and 8 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Susie Habif Chesed Fund at AA Synagogue, established by Morris to honor his wife’s passion in caring for the needs of others. Graveside services were held March 7 at Arlington Memorial Park. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.