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Remembering Gabe Lilienthal

Originally published October 25, 2019

Deborah SavranSenior Gabe Lilienthal “had a rich and full life” that was sadly cut short due to fentanyl poisoning

Deborah Savran

Senior Gabe Lilienthal “had a rich and full life” that was sadly cut short due to fentanyl poisoning

He’d come home every day — from school, from work, greeting his family and his dogs with infectious joy. Some days he’d cook, other days he’d play the drums, guitar, saxophone, or any game that came to mind.

Gabe Lilienthal passed away from fentanyl poisoning on September 29, 2019. In response, his family and friends have created the Gabe Lilienthal Foundation. The foundation website describes it’s goal as to “provide real education on the dangers of these drugs to middle and high school students.” His passing has been the topic of much discussion regarding the fentanyl epidemic, but his life was about so much more.

Deborah Savran, Lilienthal’s mother, knows that he was a lot more than just another statistic. “Gabe was somebody who had a lot of light in him,” Savran said. “He wasn’t partying hard, he wasn’t an addict.”

Lilienthal saw the adventure in life. His interests ranged from flying planes to dancing, long walks to climbing. He loved music; anything from jazz saxophone to Eastern European hip hop fusion. And he was never one to shy away from a new experience.

“Gabe had a real adventurous spirit,” Savran said. “Even here, he didn’t know that many people, but he just go walking all over the city and him and his dad would go bike riding. He just liked to explore.”

Each challenge was something to be overcome, though Lilienthal struggled with anxiety and ADHD, he never let that get in the way. “He worked so hard to make sure that he was able to show his intelligence even though he had struggles with anxiety and ADHD,” Savran said. “He was strong.”

We all make mistakes in our lives, even more as teenagers. But mistakes shouldn’t cost lives. “When I was a teenager sometimes I did risky things and stupid things, I think that’s a pretty common thing,” Savran said. “but those mistakes shouldn’t kill you. You should have another chance.”

In his last year at school, Lilienthal was a great student; before his passing he was taking running start classes at North Seattle College, studying for the ACT, and preparing to attend college in Australia.

“He wanted to study finance or commerce and live on the beach and learn how to surf,” Savran said. “He was very focused on going to college somewhere where he could have a good lifestyle … he wanted to be out in nature and near the beach.”

You can’t ever fully capture a life in words. There’s no way to fully describe his laugh, his humor, the sense of wonder and adventure he saw in the world. The people we’ve lost live on through our stories and our memories. Remember his joy, his passion, the lives he touched and the countless memories he left behind.

Lilienthal may have only lived in Seattle for a year, but he had a tremendous impact on the community around him, and will be dearly missed by the people whose lives he touched.

“We had gatherings and people couldn’t even get to the door, there were just so many people whose lives he touched,” Savran said. “He had a rich and full life that was only 17 and a half years.”

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Remembering Gabe Lilienthal