Cover photo for Hal J. Applebaum's Obituary
Hal J. Applebaum Profile Photo

Hal J. Applebaum

June 3, 1948 — October 6, 2023

Hal J. Applebaum

Hal Jordan Applebaum was born on June 3, 1948 in Miami, FL to Bernard and Non Applebaum. The family moved shortly afterwards to Hollywood, FL, where Hal grew up with his brother Scott and sister Harriet. Scott and Hal spent a lot of time together growing up, as they were only a year apart in age and may or may not have enjoyed sneaking into Miami Beach hotels to enjoy the pools and beaches during the summer. After finishing high school, Hal moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, where he began to develop his love of food and music. These loves would remain paramount throughout his entire life, and he loved sharing them with his family and friends. After college, Hal took a short sabbatical before starting medical school. During this time, he delivered mail for the U.S. Postal Service and became a recreational pilot. After a year in the working world, Hal decided he would attend the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis, TN. In Memphis, Hal would continue to develop his love of food and music as well as his enjoyment of hobbies, as he joined the springboard diving team as a medical student. Apparently, Hal also did some studying because he graduated from medical school with honors and began his Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Miami School of Medicine. During his intern year, Hal’s brother Scott graduated from dental school and moved to Tampa, FL to open a dental practice. Realizing how much he wanted to be with his brother, Hal transferred to the University of South Florida School of Medicine in Tampa as a second year resident to help develop their newly opened Internal Medicine residency program. In a wonderful example of serendipity, Hal decided to move into the Riverbend apartment complex in Temple Terrace, where he met his beautiful neighbor, Celia Cooper. Celia was a teacher at the nearby elementary school and was, of course, way out of Hal’s league. Fortunately, Celia admired Hal’s MGB GT Roadster and said “yes” when he asked for her phone number. It is also possible that Hal’s amazing mustache had something to do with Celia’s interest. Hal’s and Celia’s relationship blossomed from their initial meet cute and would eventually lead to marriage and a lifetime of happiness. At the end of his third year of internal medicine residency, Hal shared an elevator with the chief of Cardiology at USF and was offered a spot in the Cardiology fellowship program. Not surprisingly, Hal excelled at caring for people’s hearts and would continue to do so for the rest of his life. After finishing his fellowship in Cardiology, Hal ventured into the world of private practice, opening his own practice, the Heart Care Institute of Tampa. During the same period, Hal and Celia purchased their first home in the Hyde Park Neighborhood of South Tampa. Celia gave birth to their first child, a son named Robert after Celia’s father Robert “Bob” Cooper. Hal and Celia would continue to live in Hyde Park for over 30 years. They even purchased and sold three different homes all within the same block and a half on South Orleans Ave and South Willow Ave. Five years after Robert was born, the Applebaum family would grow to four with the arrival of their beautiful daughter Stephanie. Hal and Celia and family continued to grow and mature as part of the Tampa community. Hal continued to spend as much time as possible with his family. He helped with both Robert’s and Stephanie’s homework every night of the week. He never missed a hockey practice and even coached Robert’s youth hockey teams. He spent time horseback riding with Stephanie, as she developed into a competition level rider. He also passed along his passion for all things to his kids. He travelled with his family throughout the United States and abroad. He had a particular fondness for New York City, where he took the family to new shows and new restaurants (and new shopping areas) during visits multiple times per year. He also loved to spend several weeks each summer with the family in Estes Park, CO, where Celia’s family has had a vacation property for nearly 70 years. In Estes Park, Hal expanded his hobbies to rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking. He also spent time reading and drawing, which he was excellent at even without any formal training. As Robert and Stephanie grew up and left for college away from Tampa, they both knew that they would be returning home to be close to the family. This can largely be attributed to the constant love and support of their wonderful parents. Both kids still live within 10 minutes of their parents’ house. Stephanie returned to Tampa to finish school and become a teacher and married her husband, Tommy Moxley. Shortly thereafter, they had two wonderful boys, Mason and Tucker. Unsurprisingly, Hal would instantly become the most wonderful and doting grandfather (“Papa”) to his grandsons. They spent time playing driveway hockey, going to
Tampa Bay Lightning games, having slumber parties, reading, and just hanging out. The boys loved their Papa more than anything, and he loved them back one hundred fold. Robert returned to Tampa to follow in his father’s footsteps as a physician. Although he became an ophthalmologist rather than cardiologist, Robert modelled his career after his father’s. He still hopes to one day become as good of his physician as his father had always been. Robert eventually found and married his wife Eva. Eva loved having Hal as her father in law, and Hal felt exactly the same way about his daughter in law. They became close immediately, as Eva shared his interests in food, wine, travel, and all things hockey. At risk of sounding cliche, anyone who knew Hal would say his was a life well lived. He was truly a renaissance man, even though he would never admit it. He was brilliant and yet humble to a fault. He was loved by family, friends, neighbors, patients, and basically anyone who was fortunate enough to know and spend time with him. As the rabbi said, no one ever said a bad thing about Hal, and that is a pretty rare thing. Most of all, Hal loved his family and wanted nothing more than to spend time with them and to make them happy until the very end of his life. He was the best husband, father, brother, uncle, and grandfather any family could ever hope for. He will be missed tremendously. Hal’s
family is his legacy, and he will live on through them.

Dr. Hal Applebaum, passed on October 6, 2023. Services were held at Segal Funeral Home. You can watch the recording of the service here.  (Please download the video to your device if you plan to watch it at a later date, as it will only be accesible via this link for another two weeks.)

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