On Wednesday, December 11, Gabriel LaChaise Hieb unexpectedly passed away. He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Jennifer Hieb, and his three children: Rowan (6), and twins Finnley and Remy (3 years). He is also survived by his mother Laura, father Richard, and brothers Joshua and Jeremy.
Gabriel was an amazing father and loving husband. He couldn't have been more playful and caring towards his children, building them tree forts, creating treasure hunts, playing music and being a wise teacher about everything from moon phases and plant anatomy to math and French. To their delight, he teased them with mischievous affection. Gabriel was always a burst of love and positive energy when he walked through the door, bringing warmth and light to everyone.
Gabriel went to Monte Rio Elementary School and El Molino High School. He had a degree in plant biology from UC Santa Cruz and a master's in sustainable landscape design. He followed in his father's footsteps by expanding his father’s rare plant collection. Started in Jenner in the 1960's, the garden is now an established protea farm.
Gabriel started his farmer’s market journey in Sebastopol, then Marin and eventually found his home at Grand Lake in Oakland where he developed a large following of protea lovers. I was privileged to go with Gabriel to his first market. A symbol of change and transformation, proteas were his passion. He tended each blossom in the garden with tender attention and felt joy in sharing them with others.
Gabriel also adored global travel, exploration and adventure. He was the image of good health. People often commented on his incredible physical strength, speed, stamina and endurance. Anyone who encountered him also knew his gentle, kind eyes and manner.
We are profoundly affected by this loss and forever will be. We are in deep grief, sorrow and shock. We are going back and forth between states of grief, needing to be present for the kids and taking care of all the logistics with the family and farm.
Thank you for letting me share this with you. It is healing for me to share about Gabriel. I want people to know what he accomplished and who he was to us.
I have received a number of messages via text (please say who you are!), emails, Facebook, cards, etc. I don’t have the ability to respond to everyone right now or right away but just want to express how much each and every one of these messages means to me. I read them, and when times are hard, I reread them. Your messages really are helpful and powerful and they renew my strength. Thank you for writing and reaching out. Love, Jennifer