Robert Bret, executive director of the Florida Self Storage Association (FSSA), died June 7 while vacationing in Jamaica. He was 40.
Bret served as FSSA executive director for three years. He had more than 14 years of training experience in several fields including formulating human-resources policies and procedures, employment law, developing trainings and seminars, recruitment, testing, placement, orientation, benefits and labor relations.
During his career, Bret designed, edited and directed the development of training programs, curricula and testing for thousands of internal and external employees and managers. Officials from the national Self Storage Association said he was instrumental in building a successful relationship between the two organizations.
In April, he spoke on motivating and enriching self-storage staff during the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas.
“Robert was big guy. But, as big as he was physically, he was a softy. His quiet way and soft spoken humor belied that big physical presence. He was truly a gentle man,” FSSA President Lewis Pollack said in a letter to association members. “In our professional association, he was an extremely effective administrator and a real advocate for FSSA. In all the time we worked together, I never heard him raise his voice in anger or frustration—almost a feat of magic given the stresses of his position.”
“Robert was a great source of common-sense advice to University Self Storage earlier this year when we had to deal with the sudden passing of two tenants and how to handle the units,” posted Mary Fischer, property-leasing manager for the Sarasota, Fla., facility, to the online community Self-Storage Talk. “Robert was kind and patient and quick to respond.”
A military veteran, Bret served in the U.S. Army for two years out of high school before joining the Navy for another three years. Bret’s father, Robert E. Bret, was a 20-year career Navy officer who also died earlier this year.
“Robert was a big man with a big heart and a kind soul,” said Pollack, who is also managing principal for StoreSmart, a national developer and asset manager of self-storage properties. “Robert was truly a good man. He will be missed by everyone whose life he touched.”
Bret is survived by his 13-year-old daughter Kylie, mother Marilyn Bret, sister Nicole Handy, brother-in-law Michael Handy, nephew Ryland Handy, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial service will be held on June 27 at 3 p.m. at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. A military funeral will be held on June 28 at 11 a.m. at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth, Fla.