gabe farewell

my brother gabriel (korean name: geon, from chinese letter, 'to establish') lee was born as the third child, the baby of mr. and mrs. lee on 25, august, 1981 in seoul, south korea.  i dont remember much since there's only two years of age difference, but from pictures, he was a rather chunky little happy baby.

he grew up in seoul with granny, mom/dad and mike and i.  because we are all close in age, we have much bickering, beating, punishing and general tomfoolery.  the third kid was the one who had the fleet feet, keen nose for trouble and lightening-fast action for mischief.

we movedto toronto in 1992, and to my dismay, i was put into same school with gabe once again (right before that, i just started junior high and was pretty excited about going to school by myself).  at st. gabe's, we made much fun of our ESL classes and often tried to express 'academic' supriority over one another.  i went off to loretto abbey and he eventually went to brebeuf.

while in highschool, we were briefly concerned because the kid was so witty and smart (to dodge school etc), so we sent him offto robert land academy, a military-style private school.  so though he dodged the mandatory service in korea, he still served military culture, somewhat.

he went off to george brown college to study hotel management.  from there, he went to work as coffee export manager, sushi man@ ken sushi and eventually became a store manager of starbucks branch in 2004.  23 years old manager received many awards: bravo award, green apron award, numerous 5 stars from internal reiew and 100% customoer snapshot award.

apparently coffee wasnt enough. so he went to work for torotonian resto chain, oliver & bonacini, for french resto auberge du pommier.  he worked at flow@yorkville, fuzion house@church st, and recently the rooseelt room @financial district.

the recent trip was taken to go see some friends and wickannish inn@vancouver island.  wickannish inn was voted as the most excellet romantic hideaway spot in north america for 2010 and he was curious for some changes and the place sounded exciting.  so he hopped to west with the usual zeal for life.  after spending two days at the kitchen, he started the drive: tofino-vancouver-kelowna, 400 miles, to see friends in westcoast.

but unfortunately, on 26 april 2010, local time 2-230am, about 30 min away from kelowna, gabe lost control of the vehicle.  it was  a fatal accident. 

however, the police concludes that the death would have been instantaneous and he was wearing seatbelt (yay), wasnt speeding (hooray) nor consumed any alcohol (cheer).

we fought quite a bit.  but he's such a warm kid that i couldnt help but to think of him first at the mentioning of the word 'home' while i was away.  he was involved in the church as a kid and among his friends, the funny antics of gabe was legendary.  hard to forget.  at home, he was the most charming (not so hard to beat me, i know), most annoying (at times), the typical 'baby.'

his smile and joke toward mom/dad (which resulted in occasional annoyance on their part, as calculated and carefully caliberated), the beaming smile and all that,  i am going to miss it painfully.

but it is also great to think that he had a good visit in tofino, that he wouldve been excited to see his friends (though bit too sleepy).  the best thing, i think, is to live with the same enthusiasm for life, and to not to forget to smile or to laugh during the days to come, whenever he pops into our minds.

a loss would be terrible.
a headstart is bearable.
so no tears, but just lots of warmth for gabe.
he left much warmth for many people.

he fed the people with fire, and now he's cleansed by the pyre, starting ahead, just couple steps.  fiery kid, who loved much, laughed much and joked much, i will continue to live with that same mad enthusiasm.  and i hope you would.  and that you wont forget to send him a small laughter.

thanks all for making the time for him and attending this service,
fr. john who led the service,
fr. choi who helped with the arrangement for the cemetary,
mrs. roh for doing much work while i was bringing gabe from west,
and every single one of you, though i wont mention at this time individually,
the help and support of the choir and everyone,
i thank you sincerely.

after the service, the burial will take plae in holy cross cemetary at highway 7 and bayview section.  we will bury gabe's last bit of weight, and take all the heat for life with us.  then our family would like to welcome you to a lunch at the mandarin buffet located at 7660 woodbine ave., near 404/407.  please do come and say hello, especially to my granny.
love to you all and thank you,


  1. Beautiful post, CC. Thinking of you today.

  2. Breaks my heart .. a bright spot he marked in all of the world he occupied it sounds. if he was anything like you I am sure he was a very very warm person. I didn't even know him, but my thoughts, prayers, and tears are with him, and you and your family..

  3. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May Gabe and all of the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I will offer Holy Mass for his eternal rest and your consolation. God bless you!