The Pattaya real estate community is mourning the loss of one of its best known and most dynamic property developers.
53-year-old Rony Fest died peacefully in his sleep yesterday (Nov. 20) while on holiday in Cebu, in the Philippines.
A founding partner of Matrix Developments, his sudden death has sent shockwaves through the property industry on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard.
His business partner and long term friend Miki Haim says Pattaya has lost one of its most astute industry professionals.
“He was a hugely generous man who understood people,” Haim said. “Rony had a talent for resolving problems. He was my best friend and I loved him.”
Rony Fest 1958 – 2011
The two men co-founded Iguana Group & Matrix Developments in 2004. They had been friends from their youth in Israel where Rony Fest grew up in his family’s construction business before moving to Pattaya over 8 years ago.
Project Manager at Matrix, Julian Stanley, says the company’s staff is dealing bravely with the news.
“It’s a very sad time for us,” Stanley said. “But we have a strong leader in Miki Haim and we will move onwards with all our projects and our vision for Pattaya. If anything, this will only make us stronger.”
Julian Stanley says he will most remember Rony Fest’s enthusiasm for life. “He was my mate,” he said. “He was always telling me to take better care of myself and even paid for me to go to the gym. He used to spend at least three days a week working out but I would have to say his real passion was his job.”
Most people will remember Rony Fest for his imposing presence.
Dave Buckley from the locally based Real Estate Magazine recently wrote: “Apart from a brief chat at the opening of the Matrix offices in Pratamnak I had never previously got a chance to talk to Rony,” said Buckley. “Frankly, I had viewed him as an intimidating looking character. Never judge a book by its cover! Beneath the gruff exterior he is a very mild mannered man.”
Rony Fineman, CEO of the Nova Group said much the same. “When I first met him, I called him Frankenstein,” he said. “But underneath he was a very special person. We were good friends, and neighbors, and we traveled a lot together.”
Rony Fineman described Rony Fest as one of his best friends and his student in the real estate business. “When Rony first came to Pattaya, I taught him the trade. And then the student became the master,” he said.
“He was one of the cleverest people I ever met. He was also a man who loved life. Just a few days ago we were laughing about how good he looked and he said wanted me to join him in the Philippines on his holiday. I am very sad and particularly sad for his gorgeous children.”
Founder of the locally based Tulip Group, Kobi Elbaz, says Pattaya has lost a great guy. “He was a good friend and a very fair competitor,” Elbaz said. “I am totally shocked. He was a man who always took care of his friends and we will miss him.”
Rony Fest is survived by three sons who reside in Israel along with their mother.
His funeral will take place in Israel but a memorial service will be held in Pattaya at a date to be advised.
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