Gabriel “Gabe” Rodriguez, 45, of Shelburne, VT passed peacefully on June 8, 2019 surrounded by so much love and admiration. The average man’s obituary won’t do, because this obituary isn’t about the average man, it’s about an exceptional man.
Gabe grew up in the Bronx, NY and attended St. John's Kingsbridge where he met his first love, basketball, a cornerstone in his life. A Hall-of-Famer at Fordham Prep, he earned a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Colorado Boulder. As countless teammates, the coaching fraternity, and players can attest, there was no one who knew the game better. But Gabe’s true gift wasn’t how he played the game, it’s how he shared it. Ever selfless, Gabe’s lone goal in basketball – and life – was to make others better. Make the extra pass. Share the ball. Share the love. Share it all, and share he did.
Gabe’s deliberate kindness, gentle way, and exceptional gift for friendship and conversation made him invaluable wherever he was. Gabe's career at the University of Vermont left a lasting mark. Gabe was the ultimate utility man, coaching the Men's Catamounts basketball team, advancing the University’s diversity agenda, and lastly as the Coordinator of Transfer Admissions, sharing his passion for creating connections and helping to welcome and enroll the most qualified students. In the final year of his life he called UVM Women’s basketball games on the radio with his son, Will, sitting by his side. UVM clearly recognized the rare individual in their midst, by creating The Gabe Rodriguez Award, ensuring that his spirit and dedication will never be forgotten. No surprise, the award will be given annually to someone who gives themselves fully to University, someone who shares their gifts beyond a mere job description. Someone like Gabe.
Gabe was easy going, kept life simple, and maintained perspective. He did not complicate things and stayed incredibly positive. He always leaned in, embracing whomever and whatever crossed his path. Gabe was exceptionally close with his family, both immediate and extended, and they were a guiding force throughout his life. Gabe’s kids were his whole world. Nothing was more important to him than Macie “Mae Mae” Jane and William “Champ” Robert. His love, kindness, patience, and empathy made him a phenomenal Dad. Though the years were short, he will leave a lifetime of memories and a lasting impression on all.
“How you doing…What you got going on?” Even in his last days, Gabe conjured up the strength to share his love, asking these questions to those by his side. He lived his life caring deeply about others and carving out the space to relish in his relationships. Inquiring about the people in his life and making them feel important was one of the many ways he showed his selflessness. Perhaps these parting questions were his ultimate gift. Delivered with a classic lilt that only Gabe possessed, they remind us to share, to give, to love.
Gabe is survived by his wife, Sara Wool Rodriguez and his children, Macie and Will. He shared a special bond with his in-laws Michael and Martha Wool. His beloved siblings Miguel Rodriguez and wife Tricia, Queenie, Joyce, Georgina, Henry and Sean Ogirri adored Gabe. His special “Tity” Georgina Then, brother/sister in-law Travis & Kate Gardner and Andrew & Ali Hirt and a huge network of extendedfriends and family. Gabe will join his dearly loved mother, Griselina and father, Miguel as they predeceased Gabe. Gabe collected people, not things and will be missed by countless friends and family both near and far.
We would like to give special thanks to Dr. Jesse Moore, Dr. Meredith Collins, Dr. Chris Anker, Dr. Paul Unger, Jess Langer and the Nurses on Baird 6, Ali Waltien, Tara Graham, Dr. Jaina Clough, and everyone at the McClure Miller Respite House. You provided expertise, compassion and friendship through this long process and we consider you friends.
There will be no calling hours. A service in memory of and to celebrate Gabe will be held on Saturday, June 15, at the University of Vermont Davis Center in the Grand Maple Ballroom at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the following: McClure Miller Respite House, 3113 Roosevelt Hwy, Colchester, VT 05446, Children’s Miracle Network at UVM, Attn: Ali Waltien, Child Life Specialist, UVM Campus Children's School, https://www.uvm.edu/cess/ccschool.