Ted Fass, a longtime Rockville Centre resident died on September 11, 2023, at the age of 71. He was a pioneering entrepreneur and blind athlete who was determined to give back to his community.
Fass moved when he was seven, from Forest Hills, Queens, to Rockville Centre, where he would fall in love with baseball thanks to the RVC Little League. When he was 11, adversity struck when a tumor severed his optic nerve, leaving him blind. Refusing to be defined by his disability, he instead used it as a springboard to greatness, overcoming every obstacle with grace and fortitude.
He pursued higher education at the University of Miami, where he met his beloved wife, Gail Fass. Their marriage in 1975 marked the genesis of a groundbreaking venture, as they invested their wedding funds into what would become the renowned, “Ted’s Disco on Wheels.”
Fass gained notoriety as the first mobile DJ, and would grace numerous TV screens, radios, and magazines as his business flourished, netting him an elite clientele and a multi-million-dollar enterprise.
In addition to his musical endeavor, he also established “Party Particulars,” a helium balloon company and the beloved “Be My Guest” and “Ted Fass Productions,” whose storefronts in Rockville Centre and Cedarhurst would become a cornerstone of the community for decades. His balloon creations adorned grocery stores, parties and events, leaving a lasting mark on celebrations across the region.
In 1989, his innovative spirit led to the creation of a talking invitation, featuring a revolutionary computer chip with a 1-800 number RSVP that earned him a Gala award. He also produced radio commercials and a documentary film that went on to win a Tully.
Fass acquired Entertainment Unlimited, a company that supplies entertainment to a diverse array of venues including performing arts theaters, corporate and private events, country clubs and gated communities.
Thanks to his dynamic personality his business grew to become a well-respected name in the industry.
He was also a beacon of inspiration to the blind community on Long Island. Fass co-founded and served as the executive director of the Long Island Bombers, a blind beep baseball team. Over the years, he dedicated himself to mentoring, fundraising and organizing exhibition games with players from the New York Yankees and the Long Island Ducks, leaving an enduring legacy of empowerment.
His boundless achievements transcended the realm of business. In 2004, he was honored as the Differently Abled Athlete of the Year in Nassau County, a testament to his athletic ability and continued dedication to the sport. Even as his knees began to falter, Ted’s competitive spirit found new expression in golf, earning him accolades as a blind golfer. He would also participate in ski competitions and enjoyed water skiing and bowling with his family.
Fass was a cherished member of the Rockville Centre Lions Club and generously shared his unique perspective through initiatives like, “Dinner in the Dark,” where he provided others a glimpse into his world by giving sighted people the opportunity to have dinner blindfolded. And his many visits to local schools and Cub Scout packs inspired countless children through the years, by teaching them about the power of overcoming adversity.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Gail; his daughters Allison Kapelner (Jordan) and Rachel Betlyon (Andrew); his sister, Roberta Kaufman; his cherished grandchildren, Jayson Kapelner, Nolan Betlyon and Trevor Betlyon; and an abundance of loving family and friends.
The song “My Way” by Paul Anka was his anthem. It epitomized his spirit as a reflection of a life lived authentically with love as the foundation and a legacy that will forever echo in the hearts of the many lives he touched and people he inspired. Fass was a beacon of strength, who never let his disability impact him from achieving his great many accomplishments, and serves as a shining example of not letting setbacks get in the way of a beautiful life well lived—and he did it his way.