Gabe Silverman Has Died

Charlottesville developer Gabe Silverman has died.

While in New York City a few weeks ago, he was hospitalized with chest pain, and required a lengthy operation to repair what turned out to be a torn aortic artery. He had been recuperating ever since, with family and friends visiting him, and seemed to be on the mend when he passed away yesterday.

With his business partners, he owned real estate throughout downtown Charlottesville (the Ix building, the Main Street Market, the Amtrak station, and dozens more properties), and was the first developer to invest towards a revitalization of downtown, starting with his 1990 purchase of the Old Michie Building. Famously cantankerous and unpretentious, Gabe clashed on ideological matters with city officials, especially when he felt that he was being prevented from serving larger community needs through his work. To his partners’ constant exasperation, Gabe regarded his real estate holdings as venue for improving Charlottesville and righting societal wrongs. In any discussion, his constant refrain was “OK, but how do we use that to—” as he tried to redirect mundane ideas towards addressing problems of poverty, racism, classism, sexism, and other societal ailments.

His wife, artist and teacher Karen Shea Silverman, died of brain cancer in 2004. Gabe is survived by his two daughters and his grandson. He was 73 years old.

The last discussion that I ever had with him, just six weeks ago, began with me telling him that I needed a small office space for a new business, and concluded with him having persuaded me to use that business to anchor an incubator-style coworking space that he’d provide the space and funding for, in order to establish a downtown hub for socially aware tech firms. He had that sort of effect on people. Before we parted, he emphasized that he didn’t just want to make a small change in Charlottesville: “I’m going to die, you’re going to die, so how do we use this to create a lasting change in Charlottesville?”

I thought there was more time.

90 Responses to “Gabe Silverman Has Died”


  • I’m really saddened to hear this. I’ve known Gabe for most of my life, ever since taking art classes from Karen when I was in middle school, and he was one of my favorite people in Charlottesville. Somehow I feel like this town will be a lot worse off without him.

  • I’m really saddened to hear this news. I’ve known Gabe for most of my life, ever since taking art classes from Karen when I was in middle school. He was one of my favorite people in Charlottesville, and I have a feeling that this town will be much worse off without him.

  • This is a devestating loss for Charlottesville. My heart goes out to Gabe’s family and friends. Gabe was an amazing character, he made me laugh and made me think. We will miss you.

  • I think James’ comment is perfectly correct! I am so sorry for his girls. I, too, was a student of Karen’s in middle school and she was a wonderful person who helped breathed life into my art as well! A wonderful couple, terribly missed…

  • I can’t even calculate the ways that Gabe affected, shaped, and enriched my world – and I only noticed because I was lucky enough to be friends with him. If I hadn’t known him, I would probably have never realized how many of the strange and wonderful pieces of my world he (and Karen) were a vital part of. His idealism, his humor, and his willingness to take risks were behind so many of the things I love about Ch’ville. He had an unshakeable belief in people, he was tirelessly encouraging, and he had a love of the unexpected that inspired me to make my life what it is…

    And I’m just one person. I can think of a couple hundred people, just off the top of my head, who can say similar things about Gabe and the impact he had. Take that, multiply it across the decades and cities and businesses and social circles that he was a part of, and the mind reels.

    But that’s kinda grandiose. That’s at odds with the essential approachable reality of Gabe Silverman: a guy who liked challenges, loved crazy ideas, had a good time, and believed in the potential of people to do great things – and who through his belief and encouragement, made those great things a reality.

  • Gabe Silverman was one of the best, most generous and caring individuals that I have ever known. I met him and Karen over 30 years ago and watched him do so much for so many. In the early years he would ask “what am I doing here, why did I leave California.” But then he turned it around and worked to make Charlottesville a better place for everyone. From supporting music and art and the musicians and artists that produced it, combating prejudice and injustice through all the work that he did and turning what others thought of as dead spaces into thriving shops and restaurants.I saw him help the homeless and people down on their luck as well as young people and struggling businesses. For those of us who knew him our lives were made richer by his friendship.His passing is a great loss to all of us and to the city of Charlottesville. Our prayers are with him and his family.

  • What we can do is carry on in Gabe’s spirit, and aspire to his authenticity. What a gift it was to know him. What a gift to have him living in our town.

  • Aw. Dammit.

    I just saw him driving down Market street a week or two ago. He looked the same as ever. Like David Carradine or Tom Waits, Gabe Silverman hit a certain weathered age and then never seemed to get any older.

    Without Gabe, I don’t think that Downtown would ever have taken off. Gabe used the Old Michie building to provide space for Live Arts and various artists. This brought artists downtown, which made it the cool place to be. The audience followed. Galleries like Bozart were able to appear and thrive because of the social scene that the nearby Old Michie Building created. The arts and music scene made the Mall worth being around, which in turn made businesses and tourists want to be there.

    My father’s company, Landers Underwriting, could have been located almost anywhere on the east coast. We located there in 1992 or so because it was a cool place to be, and it was cool because of Gabe. The company is still a block off of the Mall. A lot of other businesses moved downtown for the same reasons and the cumulative economic effect was substantial.

    I reckon that this is the sad time when one looks around at all of the people who made the place what it was, and is, and realizes that most of them are gone. Gabe and Bhudda Phil and Sue Reed and a lot of others. Some of them just left town. Tom Morgan and Michael Parent and so forth. I look around when I’m downtown nowadays and almost all of the faces are new. Which means that now *we* are the old-timers.

  • Wow. Some things just stop you in your tracks and this is one. Gabe and Karen were a very big part of my world in Batesville in the 1980’s. But one of my most cherished memories is bumping into them on the island of Patmos in Greece in 1992 – and enjoying some food and drinks and traveling together back to Athens. I always loved his irascible spirit that was coupled with a healthy dose of cryptic humor. A sad day for our community, even sadder for his family.

  • I agree with Dyan about feeling stopped in your tracks! I just recently had a conversation with someone about Gabe and what an individual he is/was! I dated Karen’s brother Brian and remember Gabe asking in about 1980ish why should he stay in Charlottesville- what was there to keep him here! Obviously he found an answer. I ran into him recently and we talked about some pictures of mine that I had loaned to him and planning to find them perhaps in his office and had hoped to do that soon. So I am just astounded to hear this. My love to the girls!!
    Catherine Zuver

  • Charlottesville has lost one of their greatest servants. Saddened by this news, and hope, Waldo, that his vision guides your efforts.

  • Gabe and Karen had a tremendous influence in Charlottesville for so many years, in so many ways. They brought a new perspective to a very traditional town and made it better. How lucky were we that they decided to land here and work their magic? My heart goes out to their family and many friends. Downtown C’ville will never be the same.

  • A tremendous loss to his family and the countless who loved Gabe. No one has ever down so much for so many than Gabe. He has now reunited with his dear Karen.
    Rest in Peace My Friend.

  • In the spring of 1970 I was sitting in the bar of the famous Gaudi apartment building in Barcelona, which was slightly below street level, so I saw the legs of this beautiful woman up above on the sidewalk. I went upstairs and outside to investigate the legs and they belonged to Karen Shea who was sister of my old friend Brian Shea and was checking out the architecture with my other old friend Gabe Silverman. Old Berkeley compatriots. Small world syndrome. So Gabe and I have been friends since before the Beatles broke up. RIP, dove, lick.

  • Gabe! I loved living at your old pad in Batesville, man! Journey well! Love to your family!

    Soren

  • I am terribly sorry to hear this. Thank you for a wonderful description of a life well lived.

  • Without Gabe, no Live Arts. No Old Michie Theater. No epic Look3 events at Ix, arguably establishing that festival’s unique brand. No hundred other kooky things that turned out beautiful.

    I needed to argue with you a few more times, immortal Gabe.

  • The last time I saw Gabe he was riding down market st in his truck. I waved him over and we had a great hug and chat about Taije and Rafa. I feel so lucky to have known him and Karen. They will continue to inspire me in so many ways. They stayed true to themselves throughout and never settled for the status quo. Love, KJ

  • What a terrible shock. I am not processing it yet. I have so many memories of Gabe, most of them positive. He had tremendous vision. And timing. Just look at his pretty purple-hued complex on West Main. It’s just hitting its stride, about 12 years after he launched it and about 24 years after he wowed us with his first biggie: the Old Michie building. I did, however, feel frustrated that he persuaded City and RR to hand him the Amtrak property and let it devolve into a giant dust-bowl. But this was a small blot on a stellar record of transformation and innovation. On a personal note, he loved his wife and daughters and spoke of them with pride and affection. And I actually liked the way he would pepper his speech with f-bombs. The more he used, the more you felt embraced by his special brand of attention!

  • The best neighbor and mentor anyone could ask for. As we begin our company’s role as a developer here in Denver, Gabe’s memory will loom large in everything we do. The impact of his life will never end.

  • My heart is broken. My little shop is in the Old Michie building, Gabe has been so supportive of me since I moved in there. He let me do whatever I wanted as far as decorating and such. He was a supportive customer and friend to my family and Meadowbrook Hardware. He would have rather gotten everything he needed from Ronnie, than to go to a big hardware store. He was a home town guy and kept it that way. I greatly admired him and feel like I have lost a good friend even though I only met him in person less than a year ago. My condolences to his family, who he spoke so highly of, I am going to miss our talks and discussions about stuff. He was one of a kind, and will be missed by so many. Thank you for everything Gabe…

  • Gabe Silverman was one of the pillars that made downtown Charlottesville so special for me and so many. Beautiful inside and out. Charismatic. He was a force for putting creativity and hard work together to make things that were good for people. And doing it in a way that celebrated the art of business. He was like a father figure in that his actions and methods inspired me to build things too. He connected with people not on their status or wealth but on their energy. He gave wings to young entrepreneurs. We will love him forever, long after our own wings have become strong. I think a proper legacy would be to build good things and to teach our children to build good things. I love you Gabe and Karen. And thanks to Sosie for letting me know. xox

  • There is sadness and loss in knowing we have lost a treasure.
    To Kia and Taije my thoughts and prayers are with the two of you wonderful creations, now Karen and Gabe will be together watching,guiding and enjoying from above.Gabe will be missed but remembered by so many in many positive ways he has taught many directly and through his actions.
    May we all cary on by doing good as he has done for so many

  • I met Gabe back when the Michie Building was a giant shell and he and Alan were seeking tenants. Although I had ideas for a restaurant, which he heartily supported, I didn’t have the money that it required. Even so, since then whenever I saw him we never failed to engage in conversation about what would be good for Charlottesville. The other developers who have come through town in the intervening years have built properties, yes, but Gabe has encouraged soul. Thank you Gabe.

  • Gabe Silverman was a true renaissance man coupled with a compassion and passion for this city that will linger in all of our hearts. I loved bumping into Gabe on the rare occasion in a coffee shop or stepping into his truck. He always had time to say hello. He cared so much for this place, this community and we have lost a lovely man. My love to Taije and Kia. Let’s carry on in his spirit.

  • Gabe and Karen moved to Batesville from Ca. and changed the energy with ideas and talent. Their home was lovingly updated and they very generously invited the community to share the beauty. I spent hours in their swimming pool surrounded by the mountains and beautiful pine trees. I remember Gabe asking my opinion about ideas to help the arts community in Cville grow and thrive. He really listened. He and lovely Karen had such a creative force. I will miss seeing Gabe in town and asking about the girls and getting a breath of his unique energy.

  • Jenny Bandy Peterson

    Oh. My heart is so heavy for this loss. I was introduced to Gabe when looking for a space for Paradox, but boy, did I get more than a simple real estate tour. I tangoed with Gabe in his office (a passionate man!), sat on the picnic table late one night when I happened upon him when leaving the shop and always was swept away by our business, vision, life and love talks. That was always the case with Gabe. It doesn’t seem possible that he is gone. I selfishly am mad I’ll never get to have another conversation with him as my heart always sang brightly after each one. And to Spencer’s comment…. “And I actually liked the way he would pepper his speech with f-bombs. The more he used, the more you felt embraced by his special brand of attention!” INDEED! I liked that I, having an affinity for the “F” word myself, felt comfortable throwing them out around him! Hugs and kisses to you, dear Gabe. xoxo J

  • I will truly miss this man. He made this town so much brighter in every meaning of the word.

  • Heartfelt condolences to Taije and Kia for the loss of such a father, husband and creative entrepreneur working for our fair city. I met Gabe, Karen, Taije & Kia in 1998 when I started taking art classes in the Old Michie Building studio. Karen Shea & Gabe Silverman shared a dynamic, positive energy that is rare and inspired.

  • I have known Gabe for over 30 years, He was a great friend to my brother, He well miss him greatly. I sometimes would go in and help my bother with paper work, then I would smell smoke and knew Gabe was in or hear him on the phone with the city or other and yes the f-word would pop out now and then but some how you did not offended by it. Gabe was a what you see is what you get kind of guy, with a heart of gold or should I say Silver. If he believed in you were doing and you needed help, He would most likely help you. That was Gabe. C-ville has loss part of its soul. I will miss not talking to him about art or what new project he had on the board or hearing that voice or the laughter of his , I how my bother will. My prays go out go out to his family at this time God Bless.

  • It was so very strange that I had a dream about Gabe last night and awoke this morning to discover he had passed….What a visionary Gabe was! I remember the first time I met Gabe for a coffee on the Downtown Mall. I didn’t know what he looked like and was looking for an architect who I thought might be dressed in a suit. What I discovered was a Beatnik type who was comfortable saying “Fuck them”! and often….He was always a sweet, kind and funny fellow who never let money effect his heart or compassion. He was generous and liked to dream and one only need to look at the Downtown Mall and around Charlottesville to see how he built foundations under those dreams. He ALWAYS thought of others. And he DEARLY loved Karen, Taije and Kia. May his daughters feel strength in knowing how much their father and mother meant to so many people…..The world is better because of you Gabe….now go give ‘em hell!

  • Gabe and Karen were godfather and godmother in the generation of thinkers and doers who created downtown Charlottesville. Love to Taije and Kia.

  • Gabe was very supportive and boon to the entire community. He was a decent soul and will be missed by us here in Charlottesville.

  • Hearing of Gabe’s sudden passing has created that ache in my stomach that only happens when I feel both personal loss and community loss. I feel strengthened however reading the wonderful remembrances of so many of his friends. What’s interesting is that I was more of a casual acquaintance of Gabe’s than a close friend (only knowing each other well enough for a quick “hi how are you!” when passing on the mall), yet I’m feeling his loss as if he was a close friend. I think that’s a great testament for how Gabe’s positive energy and true commitment and caring for our community has affected so many of us… and how his legacy will continue to nurture and teach us to show kindness to others in action and deeds, not just words. To his family, I’m so sorry for your loss, but I think I can speak for so many people like myself that you don’t know… please hold in your heart that Gabe is truly a man whose kind spirit and caring for community may have passed from this life, but will not be soon forgotten.

  • I got to know Gabe when I was looking for studio space three years ago. When I first called him, he did not hesitate to invite me over, saying “bring your artwork.” He took an interest in my artmaking, and helped me find a decent space. Over the years we kept in touch, but hardly because he was my landlord. He regularly received artwork from me, and encouraged me.
    Cantankerous on the outside, but absolutely generous and kind on the inside! I will miss him.

  • This is a great loss to me as well as this community. Gabe was a throwback to the days when developers had an eye for the future and the way to take a property, upgrade it and turn it into a contributing business model to the city. God knows City Hall fought him all day – everyday on whatever he and his partner Allie wanted to do. But they found a way to persevere. Their models of excellent are all over Downtown and West Main.
    He was truly one for the ages and now he’s gone to join Karen the love his life. Gabe you will be missed and in my memories for as long as I live and in the memories of those that you touched in your life.

  • A visionary, a maverick, a rebel. Gabe was more than a dreamer — and he was a fantastic dreamer! — he was a doer. Consistently expanding his vision, while also expanding ours, he led downtown Charlottesville from the 20th century into the 21st. Would Live Arts have come to exist without him we will never know — it’s pointless to speculate — but this much is certain: he nurtured our vision for the theater in the incubator of the Old Michie Building, and encouraged us to realize our dreams. Without his support it is doubtful that Live Arts would have had such a strong start, or risen to such heights.

    He thought far enough outside the box to let us throw the raves that gave birth to Live Arts in the Old Michie! Late night seat-of-the-pants, barely-insured dance parties in building under going renovation. Show me another developer who would ever consider doing this. And that was only the beginning. In his trademark fashion he put those of us doing the raves together with those doing theater, birthing the collaborative that became Live Arts.

    Today we have all lost a great friend, a man who lived and breathed what he believed, who strove to make this town an extraordinary hub of culture and ideas. We will miss him, but the legacy he has created lives on. Love you Gabe.

  • My heart goes out to Gabe’s family and all of those who loved him. What a great leader he was. With vision and energy, he always raised others up while pursuing whatever new project or idea was percolating. Bold. Challenging. Persuasive. What I loved most about him was how he could suddenly become shy. What a man.

  • I remember meeting Gabe when we first wanted to open our antique shop. He had the extraordinary vision to help us realize our dreams for a truly unique shop. He supported and coaxed us along the way. Gabe was a true visionary, true to himself and to all those that he came in contact with. Charlottesville has lost a wonderful, creative, kind man.
    My heart goes out to Kia and Taije.
    Gabe, you will be remembered by all; you will be in my heart forever.

  • A very sad day. He was a generous man with big heart and a free spirit who always thought about the bigger picture and how to improve life in Charlottesville. Charming and challenging all at once. He will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to his family.

  • Gabe’s departure generates deep sadness. So much to celebrate in his life. We know him by his works. I wonder if everyone has a favorite idea of Gabe’s that could still be done? He had the greatest idea about the Blue Ridge TB Sanatorium…

  • Just an honor and joy to have been walking on this planet with Gabe and his wife, Karen, and in this community.

    He did it. He left his timeless imprint, in many ways. There is almost going to HAVE to be something like the Gabe & Karen Silverman Transcendence Award for Humanity, Community, and the Arts, no idiots please (Gabe might have added that last line). And it should be a big award.

    They were both, that amazing.

  • Gabe has always been a friend and supporter and it’s with great sadness that I heard today of his passing. He will be missed. Last year when I thought I’d have to move from Charlottesville in order to pursue my photography he showed me this great place that I could live and work, setting up a darkroom and class space. It’s in Karen’s old studio space. It’s just another example of his generosity and kindness he has shown me for over 30 years. My heart goes out to his family and many friends. I’ll miss you buddy.

  • I am compelled to write my heartbroken response to Gabe’s passing because he, without reason, entered my mind this week while I am abroad in Asia and I thought to myself, delightfully, that I should pay him a visit. Life is funny in these ways. Ironically, it was abroad where Gabe and I first met. I was in Buenos Aires taking Argentine tango lessons for a month. Gabe was on holiday. I was traveling alone for the first time in my life and frankly I was scared, starved for reassurance and companionship. When a mutual friend connected us, I immediately thought, yes I am going to like this man. Gabe was cool with an air of nonchalance and smoked more cigarettes than I could count. He welcomed me into his home, told me stories of the Buenos Aires he knew and loved, accompanied me to milongas, introduced me to wonderful Argentinians and instructors. Gabe was warm, casually generous and in a way a shepherd, introducing me to the world and all it’s possibilities that I would in the future explore for myself. Back then, Argentina was an elusive dream that I had barely grasped in my hands. I never knew that I could travel again. But by meeting Gabe in that unexpected and splendiferous way – he being Gabe and inspiring me to forget fear and widen my lens, I have been able since to live more freely and outside my head and into this world. And as I am again abroad, traveling this time with a little more bravery and certainty of my own capacities, it makes sense that Gabe has entered my mind again. Comme il faut. Perhaps to give me one last bit of encouragement as I remember him and Buenos Aires, before his great departure? I never knew Gabe the entrepreneur. We never talked about his accomplishments and contributions and his influence. But whatever it was he didn’t tell me, I already knew. Thanks Gabe, thank you so much

  • When I moved to Charlottesville in 1995, Gabe was one of the people that made that possible, even without him knowing it. His work with Katharine Birdsall to vision the New Dance Space on the downtown mall opened up the possibility that I could participate in a collective of visionary and remarkable artistry, basically unheard of outside major metropolitan centers at that time.

    Thanks to simple choices like a push button door code and a sleep loft above the dance space, artists could have 24 hour access to a mystically inspirational space for exploring the body and its attendant expressive possibilities. I remember fondly, many many miracles that happened in that building on 1st street and the downtown mall. One late night in particular, I like many of the 20-somethings who were hoping to make our mark on the world, had been out enjoying the festive atmosphere of the newly revitalizing downtown mall (this lifeblood quickened in no small part due to Gabe´s will and ferociousness). The body called. I slunk away and climbed the narrow staircase to the deeply inviting blond wood floor of the dance space and began to stand, silently listening to the deeper instincts that wanted for release in my cells. I began to pulse, and then I began to float, and finally i jumped, and jumped, and jumped. i jumped and lifted, jumped and lofted, over and over again for over an hour, alone in the diagonal light that poured in the great windows of that space.

    Some folks call the pews of a church their temple, others the great spires of the redwoods. For the dancer, the studio is that temple, and in it we pray with our sweat and our vibration. What Gabe understood was that the artist needs to pray through their art and that the right space can make that possible. What he did, with me and for so many others whose prayers formed in the cauldron of the dance, was help us build a church, a place of deeply resonant practice and gratitude whereby our small and innocent ephemeral beings could reach out into the atmosphere and mumble our humble offerings to the world. He believed enough in the kinds of actions that artists make to know that housing them in a community as part of an intrinsic social fabric was important.

    The New Dance Space prospered in it’s way for 7 years. 7 years in which Gabe was both architect, landlord, and audience member. Those of lucky enough to inhabit that space grew to know him and his family and were better for it. Gabe was a character, as so many have noted. He also was a man with character. Character in the way that word was meant to be used when describing someone…ethical, worldly, and full of moral fiber.

    While it has been a long time since I crossed paths with Gabe, and since my time in Charlottesville my life has taken me to the ends of the earth and back, to deny his imprint would be shameful and a half-truth. It was an honor to know you, Gabe and to have been able to contribute, even if only in fleeting moments to what you wrought and the things you made. Godspeed.

  • About two months ago I had my first, now only, conversation with Gabe. It is something I will always remember- not because he is now gone, but because it was a pretty f*ing amazing conversation. I was coming off the squash court at ACAC and spotted Gabe and said I had been meaning to ask him advice about where and how to focus the next chapter of my career in design and sustainability. Expecting a friendly brush-off from this “cold call,” Gabe instead motioned to sit and within seconds we were taking on all of the BIG questions about how to do good in the world and how do do it effectively. So that was the main lesson right – we have little time so don’t mess around- get to the important stuff, think with your heart as well as your head, and get to work. Immediately.

    We talked about New York and Buenos Aires and West Main Street, and (as Waldo notes above) how development is tool for righting societal wrongs. He was drawn to neglected places and through his vision and persistence turned them into sought-after places. So much more than the word “developer” typically conveys.
    He said that if he were younger he would be setting up shop in Detroit now- that there is so much to be done and so much opportunity. Indeed.
    So I feel fortunate for that brief contact and am very sorry he is gone, for his family and all of you who knew him well.

  • Gabe was a visionary and a doer. He balanced brashness with genuine kindness. Whenever I ran into him he asked about me, how I was doing, how business was. He made me feel good–this guy who had a million things going on wanted to know about my life. I also greatly admired his style and sense of self. He was Gabe, and he was truly a great person. My life is much richer for having known him in just the little way I did. I wish I could thank him. Godspeed is right. He did a lot of good in this world.

  • I’ll always remember my first encounter with Gabe.

    As I walked through the doors of his office in the Michie building, I was spellbound by a countless number of vintage tin toys lining the walls. Wind up robots, sparking ray guns and oxidized rocket ships, everywhere. Gabe, facing his computer, his back to me, the hair on his head jetting in all directions, he spun around in his chair. As he reached for the half smoked American Spirit in a snuffer on his desk he yelled out “How the f#ck do I send a god damn picture with this email?!”

    I stood, stunned and speechless as he lit what remained of his cigarette. He took a drag and exhaled “Who the f#ck are you?! Can you work this damn computer?” His grin and his second hand smoke both hanging in the air, forced a smile to my face. I showed him how to attach a photo of a tango dancer to his email and our friendship was born.

    Gabe was my mentor and my friend. The old man knew how to light a fire under my as like no other. His passion for the arts and his vision for Charlottesville will be remembered by all who truly knew him.

    I miss you already man.

  • What a terrible loss for the Charlottesville community and all who had the pleasure to know the incredible man! I remember his green room in Batesville and all of the wooden toys he made hanging from the ceiling. He will be truly missed.

  • Today Buenos Aires woke with an unusual grey sky and quiet tears over it. It misses you and always will! Inés.

  • What a terrible loss for Charlottesville! Gabe had great faith in the concept of community change and was a wonderful visionary and a truly kind soul. He will be missed.

  • Virginia and I share with all of you and so many others, the hole Gabe’s too early passing leaves in our lives and in our community which was made so much richer by his being here.

  • Just devastating news. Gabe was one of a kind, a true visionary and a really giving & wonderful person. I met him when we were opening the Downtown Grille. He couldn’t have been any nicer to me. My heart goes out to to Kia and Taije. He will surely be missed.

  • I would have known Gabe for 19 years this coming Thanksgiving.

    He really cared about Charlottesville – a lot, possibly more than any person in this city since Thomas Jefferson. He was a vocal supporter of the arts, and I was always impressed with his intelligence, humor, and complete generosity.

    In the winter of 2010, he was able the rent me the basement of 300 West Main street for an amazing low price. This was so that we could grow our group, the Charlottesville Photography Initiative from the modest headcount of 80 people it was then, to the 509 people we have as of today. He let us use the space rent free for 6 months until we could get on our feet, and helped us renovate the space so that we could build a home for photographers in Charlottesville. He really believed in our mission, and actually gave a damn. I have never revealed this secret to anyone, because of his love of photography, and his gracious humility.

    Thank you Gabe for giving us a home so that we could enrich the community you love so much. Some how we will pay it all back. You left your mark on the world my friend, and we love and miss you.

    Christian DeBaun
    CPI Operations Director
    The Charlottesville Photography Initiative

  • I’m probably one of many who Gabe would trade stories and insights with at ACAC – about Charlottesville, Beunos Aires, the arts – in an increasingly uniform world, he stood out by being true to himself: who else could still work out in a old T and cut off denim’s? He will be missed. He will be remembered.

  • just found out. being on a mountain in cali with no cell or wifi is actually a moment i believe gabe would celebrate….even if i means i am out of the loop as he passed from this realm to who knows where. wherever will be better off because of it. we are the ones that will be feeling the loss for years to come: except gabe was better than that. without even thinking he intuitively sowed the seeds of support for art and community, providing opportunity and inspiration for visionaries and makers, artists and world travelers who could settle down for a minute in a space he helped create and get down to making magic. i know that i would not have done 1 incredible thing in cville in the past 18 years without his direct help and our straight to business no bullshit loving and get a move on conversations. every space i made work in or taught in he owned part of and helped me be there. every friggin one. he and karen in their own unique ways helped me to call out my inner artistic ambitions, make them live and breathe. being part of the new dance space, zen monkey project, the living education center for ecology and the arts, the ix, carnivals and the unearthing of it all: gabe was always part. and for so many other folks too: there will be no stopping all the good work he helped put in play. and he raised the bar, folks. so let’s get to it. first though i plan to have a crying jag near the beautiful yuba river-toast gabe with a sip of tequila and then dance until dawn. if i was super rich i would be in cville doing that with our cville community…instead: y’all please add my spirit and laughs and tears to the group mix. i will call down something special on the ridge for the mentor of all my big works. and for my dear friend gabe. i love you gabe. my hugs and thanks and heart goes out to all the family. te amo.zap

  • What sad news. Taije and Kia, Sally (from The San Francisco School)and I send our love and condolences from Venice. There is too much to say about the decades of loving your wonderful parents, their kindnesses, and generosities, and sheer vividness. We both feel fortunate to have shared any time with them–and with the two of you–at all.

  • I have very fond memories of rowing with and laughing with Gabe. I am holding his girls and dear friends in my heart during this sad time.

  • My life is one of the many on which Gabe had a profound effect, by merely doing what he did every day. In taking just a few minutes of his time to talk to a young kid looking for an apartment on a spring afternoon in 1998, Gabe opened a door for me to discover everything downtown Charlottesville had to offer – a way of life I might have not discovered otherwise, or at least not as early on, and certainly not on such an intimate level. I rented my first apartment from him in the Michie Building, rented my first office next to his on 2nd St, and lived or worked amongst his many downtown spaces for the next 12 years. Gabe was always nearby, and always had something interesting to say (whether you wanted to hear it or not). He encouraged and enabled me to take steps I might not have otherwise because he believed in young people, in the arts, and in local business, and he supported those things in a very real way every day. I know I echo many others when I say that Gabe did so much to make this place the very special thing that it is, and I am eternally grateful to him for that. We’ll miss you Gabe.

  • I am very appreciative of all these remembrances because what I knew of Mr. Silverman wasn’t nearly this positive. As a relative newcomer to Charlottesville and an even-more-recent participant in the development scene, I knew of Mr. Silverman mostly for his apparently petulant handling of the Amtrak lot and some other properties in the West Main corridor. Without this global outpouring of affection and respect, I never would have known about his impact on people locally and globally.

  • Thank you Gabe, for two beautiful dance studios, for believing in me and my colleagues, and for your friendship. Thank you for loving dance and wanting us to be as wild, articlulate and free as we can be. You helped me grow up as an artist by encouraging me to keep being playful and fierce. My appreciation is endless. Eva and I stared in the window of your office tonight and basked in the glow of neon. I remember you wanting me to have a neon sign at the New Dance Space! Wish I had followed through and taken you up on it! Wish that I hadn’t just waved from afar last I saw you. Karl, Achim, Eva and I are missing you already along with all these other dear folks. I feel buoyant, however, standing on the wonderful sprung dance floor I insisted on the second studio round. If I insisted, you insisted, because you believed in what we need to keep dancing. tango on Gabe!

  • We will miss you and your wry smile Gabe. Thank you for all you did for downtown Charlottesville.

  • OK, I am a Vietnam-era veteran, not quite as old as Gabe by a few years, and if I can get it together to send this reflection of my dear friend and neighbor, at 11PM on this 11th day of this 11th month, that will be sweet indeed.
    Second Street, N.E, has suffered two brutal losses of late. First, Preston Coiner, my dear, dear friend, died in 2012. And now Gabe. When I heard the news, I started swearing. Goddam mother fucker!! Over and over, for about 15 minutes. I was so pissed! Not yet sad, just outraged at the loss of Gabe.
    Gabe and I had a soul connection. I came to Charlottesville over 30 years ago. I was sent here by one of my mentors, Dr. Gerold Schiebler, at the University of Florida medical center. “Andrew, where ever you go in the medical system, women and children are going to get screwed. And it is your job to protect them. And, you will make enemies. Do not worry about your enemies. Worry about the snakes. They are the ones who will try to destroy you, and you may not see it coming.”
    Alas, he was 100% correct.

    I was not the typical physician. I had grown up in the deep rural South in the 1950’s, in the heart of the Civil Rights wars. Because of my upbringing, I was a pro-labor, pro-civil rights, pro-women’s rights, anti-war Democrat. I finished college with an economics degree from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, the only Ivy League college that did not have a quoto restricting Jews during WWII.
    I came from a small town, Dothan, Alabama, which was anchored by a strong Jewish community. Any Jew worth his salt today knows my friend Larry Blumberg. His sister, Mary, was in my class at Penn, and a dear friend. She became a Wall Street banker before ovarian cancer struck her down.
    When I finished at Penn, I knew I would be an abysmal business person, so I would up in Rome, Italy, trying to make my way in the movie industry and avoid the draft. It was 1968. The eventual connections with Gabe began there. I fell in love with Karen, yes Karen, but Karen Pamper. She was about 2 years older than me, had graduated from Berkeley with an English degree, and would up in Rome, owning one of only two English-language bookstores in Rome. It was in the Piazza de Spagna at the base of the Spanish Steps. There was an American Express office on the street. It was called the Economy Book Center, and I will not mention the details of how Karen obtained books in New York City. Every ex-patriot of any not in Rome would up at the Economy Book Center, both buying books and selling books.
    Karen changed my life. I became a reader. I had grown up with almost no exposure to art, and Karen opened up totally new world to me in terms of art, architecture, and, above all, food.
    The military draft interrupted my love life with Karen. Given what eventually happened to Gabe over the past few years…Karen and I talked about leaving Rome and moving to Argentina and having a horse ranch. I had grown up around cows, horses, chickens and such, and we had seen the 1966 film “Un homme at une femme” (“A Man and a Woman”) and had both fallen in love with the extraordinary music and the scenery of the Pampas.
    I made a decision to return to America and face the draft, and left one of the great loves of my life and our dreams of Argentina.
    Zip, zip, zip, I became a filmmaker/movie-TV script writer /set builder (I was good with my hands) in Hollywood before having a life changing moment while working on a Brian de Palma film, “Phantom of the Paradise.” Unknown to me for about 20 years, Jack Fisk had been the production drector and Sissy Spacek had been involved in the costuming.
    I was a heart an artist, not a scientist. I had only taken one science course in college, and it was a summer school course called Football Fizix. Less than challenging. Also, I fainted at the sight of blood. I was almost 30 when I was admitted to the only medical school that would take “old folk,” the University of Florida in Gainesville. It took me 18 months before I stopped fainting when I saw blood. Four years later, the 20 “old folk” of 120 won almost every single award at graduation from medical school. They were all people with lives before medicine, none were science-types.
    Some years later, after staying in Gainesville to do a pediatric residency, I wound up in Charlottesville, only because my wife was a physician and had family in the D.C. Area. In 1982, I quickly learned that the University of Virginia Medical Center was the most sexist, racist, homophobic place I have ever lived in, and by this time I have lived in Dothan, Alabama; Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rome, Italy; Macon, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina, back to Washington, D.C., Palo Alto, California; Key Biscayne, Florida; Hollywood, California; and Gainesville, Florida, and had traveled all over Europe and throughout much of the Carribean basin and Mexico.
    What I faced here was a Good Ol’ Boy Christian Mafia. A small town banker named Hovey Dabny ran not only the University of Virginia but the entire University system in this commonwealth, as he the Rector of the Board of Visitors.

    Anyone who wanted to do anything major at the University of Virginia had to go downtown to Hovey’s bank and ask for his blessing. I did it one time, with a surgeon friend. By this time, I was working all over the world as a pediatric anesthesiologist, first in Gaza during the First Infitada and then in China and then in Romania, taking care of the survivors of the orphanages of Nicolae Ceaușescu, the sickest of the sick in terms of dictators. I realized Hovey did not care about women and children, just as Dr. Schienber had warned me, and I vowed never to go begging to him again.
    I will skip much of my histoy herem but I became the medical director of three patient care units at the same time, all of which were the most desirable places for nurses to work, as well as President of the Clinical Staff of the University of Virginia Medical Center, despite the fact thagt my chairman and most of the administion at the time detested me because I was not a Good Ol’ Boy Christian Mafia. I had a phrase that I often used, “Some of my best friends are white, sexist, Christian, right-wing Republican homophobes, and if you give me a few days, I am sure I can name a few.”
    I was an outstranding physician, who did more to advance the status of women at the Medical Center than any male between 1984 and 2001, when they fired me and tried to destroy my career.
    I had lived in the county for 20 years, on Ridge Road and Woodlandsm Road, and then moved downtown eleven years ago. Once again, 11.
    I bought a home at 535 2nd Street, N.E. Soon, as I would be out walking at night, I met this guy named Gabe Silverman and his huge mastiff Henry. Gabe and I never talked politics, even though I was a passionate Democrat. We talked about art, music, architecture, Karen…we had siimilar taste in music. I mentioned Keith Jarrett and he replied, “The Köln Concert,” one of my favorites, along with the Sun Bear Concerts, a 10-LP release.
    I always had big ideas, and Gabe would always say, “You are a great physician. You have no business doing anything other than being a doctor.” I was a supporter of the arts, particularly Second Street Gallery when it was in McGufffey. My best purchase was three paintings by Haley Hasler. Another stunning 1985 paintting by Lincoln Perry, and much more original art by Charles Becker, Howard Behrens, and others going back almost 20 years.
    Then, Henry died, and Gabe was grief stricken.
    Soon after, Karen died, and I wondered how Gabe would survive. His love for Karen was legendary. The house up the street from me was a reflection of the artist genius of both Karen and Gabe.
    As he slowly recovered, he talked much more about his vision for the city, especially the area from the Lewis & Clark statue on Main Street to the Amtrak bridge. 0.3 miles west, and beyond, hoping to break down much of the town-gown barrier that divided the University from downtown. Almost all the physicians at UVA lived west of town, in the country, and had little involvement with downtown. There were exceptions, such as George Bellar, who followed me as Chief of Staff, Morton Wilmhelm, Robert Chevalier, R. Scott Jones, and several others whose names escape me as the hour gets late.
    Alas, about this time, I becamed incapacitated with an undiagnosed brain tumor, and slowly deteriorated to barely more than a vegetative state due to sub-optimal medical care at the institution that had kicked me out. The best news is that those who fired me have seen all been fired or laterally transferred to a position of no importance.
    Everyone thought I was dying, and I began to divest myself of an extraordinary library, the tools from years of contruction and home remodeling, and then my art. The three Hasler painting went to Paul Victorius, and before I could get rid of anymore, I almost died.
    Finally, after incredible medical malfeasance, Dr. Edward Oldfield, who had just recently arrived from the NIH where he was Chief of Pituitary Surgery, removed the tumor from my pituiary stalk using an operation that he had created. This was in March of 2010.
    A year later, I was able to start back working internationally, but at a high cost.
    Meantime, when I was home, I would talk to Gabe a lot. By this time, he had a lady friend in Argentina, and was spending a great deal of time there learning the tango. I had visions of Marlon Brando in “Last Tango in Paris,” and “Moulin Rouge” where “El Tango de Roxanne” was breathtaking. That music led to to Rebekah Del Rio singing “Llorando” acapella in “Mulholland Drive.” This was Roy Orbson’s great hit, “Crying,” and my Dothan roots connect to Roy Orbison and John Raney Atkins and Bobby Goldboro.
    I will miss Gabe enormously, but I am now coming back, and will carry on.
    His area of Main Street needs to be named “Gabe Silverman Way.”
    11 PM, and I leave you to griever our loss….

  • There is a special moment that stayed with me from a 1966 Sidney Lumet film where James Mason answers a ringing phone and learns of an unexpected death. In shock and grief he bellows a simple line: “But I LIKED him!”

    I thought of that moments after reflexively yelling at the news of Gabe Silverman’s death. Back came the taste of 1990’s Charlottesville churned up by it’s impact. I worked in the converted attic offices of his renewed Old Michie Building back when the walls were still drying. I remember him dragooning Brian Maughan and myself to help paint faux marble patterns on the concrete first floor hallway fueled by Pie in the Sky pizza. I remember his unyielding support of Live Arts and the Coffee House series of Fran’s original ensemble.

    There was always a cool new project unfolding downtown that displayed his funky, creative, rough-hewn character. There were his succession of whimsical toy-filled offices that sprang up in whatever spaces were available in his latest building. There were endless Nine-Lives-of-the-Arts Galas that we never missed. There were countless smiles and waves in passing.

    Gabe left his positive mark throughout our favorite metropolis. He had vision and grace and whimsy and follow-through and cool to spare. We who care about C’Ville and appreciate it’s progression from Old South to New South, cannot help look at what Gabe left us with appreciation. With this news we flinch, shake our heads disbelieving and yell out loud, like James Mason.

  • Our landscape is dotted with Gabe’s creations. Let’s keep his spirit and his vision alive and not let his light go out. Hear his voice, as he asks, “ how do we…?” Ponder what could be, and then work to make it happen. Gabe we love you, and miss you so.

  • Gabe Silverman walked the walk. An impresario with a unique stamp on the culture of downtown Charlottesville, he had the visionary’s ability to infuriate and inspire — sometimes simultaneously. He left an imprint, which is probably all any of us can hope for in this life. Rest in peace.

  • Having just heard the news of Gabe’s untimely passing is like getting hit by a large meteor. One never is prepared for news of an icon being struck down so quickly. Every memory of Gabe is alive in his mannerisms from his puff on his cigarette to his wry smile and twinkly eyes. He was an original in a town that embraces originals. It was my privilege to have known, argued, laughed,worked and been his friend. Gabe, along with all of Charlottesville, I will miss you. Dance well my friend.

    Lee

  • In 1995, Gabe Silverman allowed a group of UVa studio art students to have their senior show in the soon-to-be renovated structure which was to become Hamilton’s restaurant. Here’s a poster of that art show: http://tinyurl.com/msd9n5x

    The following year, Gabe lent me the former Advance Auto Building on the Downtown Mall: he said “you demolish the inside of this thing, and you can use it for a sculpture studio!” I readily accepted of course – what an unbelievable deal! Countless trips to the Ivy landfill were made with his Toyota T100 because I didn’t have a vehicle to haul the old plaster, bricks, and wood. The space was gradually reduced to an empty shell – within which the Rapture restaurant and club was created.

    Gabe and his support for the Charlottesville arts community and in this case UVa’s art students are greatly missed.

  • Thinking through Andrew Woods excellent posting, I would suggest that the downtown street should not be simply “Gabe Silverman Way” but “The Gabe Silverman Way”. And I’d further suggest that it be Main Street.

  • My heartfelt condolences go out to to Taije and Kia for the loss of their loving father.

    Gabe Silverman and Karen Shea were dynamic, positive and compassionate couple that transformed my world by there conviction and actions to serve and create not only beauty but social change for the underserved. When I would see Gabe, he was always open hearted, and inspiring in his concern for our community and how we might collaborate with UVA to value the wisdom of the elderly with the energy of our youth creating greater meaning and connections.
    Sending much love to his family and friends during this time of loss.

  • This is a devastating loss for Gabe’s family, friends, and the Charlottesville community. His spirit illuminated every person he touched. We shall truly miss him.

  • Somebody better put a security detail on Oliver Kutner or this town will be out of super cool rich people. Then all we will be left with are developing douchenozzles and the blue blood horsey set.

    Big ups Gabe, you walked the walk.

  • It appears heaven needed some revitalization. He has the right man for the job. God speed Gabe, god speed.

  • Gabe,

    You were the most interesting man in the world.

    Nathan

  • Gabe and I met at a concert through friends in common. He had that sort of charm and ease that makes you think you’ve known the man your whole life. He welcomed my son and I into his beautiful home in Buenos Aires over the holidays and we instantly became family. He was a father figure, a hoot to hang with, and a good friend. Love and heartache is felt, until we meet again.

  • Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell

    Gabe was the Lou Reed of Charlottesville real estate development. There will never be another like him. He profoundly affected my life as an artist and member of our community. Just about everything I’ve been a part of here is connected to him. He was always providing our poor theater company Foolery with free (ever-shifting) rehearsal and performance spaces in his empty buildings. He made it possible for PEP and Zen Monkey Project to use the Ix for the carnivals. He was our landlord when I co-owned a web design firm, Category 4. My last real interaction with him was at ACAC in the weightlifting area. We chatted briefly then he took my arm and we tangoed in front of the astonished and amused clientele. I closed my eyes and followed.

  • Gabe was a curmudgeon with a heart of gold. He’s the one who encouraged me to buy my house when it was a wreck. We used to compete to determine who could use the most swear words in a conversation. He usually won. But not by much. His passing is a blow to Charlottesville. I will miss him.

  • Gabe gave his all to help artists do their work. It always seemed to be his mission in life to me. I was one of the lucky beneficiaries of his limitless generosity in Buenos Aires. He opened his home to me, my colleagues, and my students to rehearse, perform, and even stay at times. We shared a love of tango music, and he was always eager to learn more about it. I helped him buy his piano in Bs. As., and then he made us come and play it for him! I will miss him terribly, but I also celebrate all his great contributions to life and art.

  • While I never really knew Gabe Silverman personally, I do remember that almost everything he touched turned to something very good. He was a brilliant business person, I know that. This news traveled all the way to Texas today. I remember the good old days as Marketing Director of Barracks Road Shopping Center. I’m sorry for the families & the town’s loss.

  • Harvest moon-
    walking around the pond
    all night long
    (Matsuo Basho)

    Gabe shinig and planting … Gratitude from a kindred heart

  • The first time I met Gabe was when he drove 80 miles and spent an afternoon interviewing me for a project that I had expressed interest in. So typical of Gabe to get to know the person more so than the work. And for all the years of working with him it was by far his out of the box thinking and architectural vision that gave me my greatest challenges as well as deepest satisfaction. Funny now, when I see the facades and spaces that he created I think of the man more so than the work.
    Miss you Gabo

  • The first time I met Gabe was about 20 years ago at Estouteville for a Buddhist fundraiser when he came over to chat with JD, my date at the time. After our conversation had wandered around eastern philosophy for a while Gabe turned to me and said, “So, it sounds like you believe all the same shit Karen believes.” I nearly fell off my seat laughing, and have had a friendship-crush on him ever since.

    Gabe did not need to foster my career, he was not my landlord, nor did we share a romantic interest. We were simply friends without an agenda who went out to dinner about 10-12 times over the last 3 years, and just talked. I called him ‘Angel’ (for the Angel Gabriel). Today I feel bitterly sad and crushed to think we won’t be able to talk again, it hurts and it sucks.

    Walking down the mall with Gabe was like cruising with a rich, gypsy rock star who stopped to greet his fans and friends on every block. He hugged both men and women alike and would jump straight into a confrontative camaraderie with them as if they were picking up a lively banter from 20 minutes ago, bypassing all the usual conversational courtesies. Half the time I couldn’t tell if the exchange was an argument or a chummy inside-joke jostling contest. It’s possible the other person couldn’t tell either, which was part of his allure…it was never easy to pin him down.

    Most of the things people have written about Gabe seem to be commonly felt, that he was motivated by social betterment through his real estate projects and that he took a broadly-reaching and genuinely-felt interest in the people he knew, liked and supported. But I think the essential attribute that secured his widespread popularity was the unique mix of contradictions that shaped his personality. He was both light and dark, interested and bored, adored some people and hated others, he cared and he didn’t care, he could be open and helpful but was often unavailable or absent. Gabe was intriguing because with him, it was hard to know what was coming next.

    Any meaningful reference to Gabe’s life would have to pay tribute to his long-term and socially radiant marriage to Karen, whose musical laughter rang like silver bells. And it would also have to acknowledge that Gabe loved women (and by that I do not mean to suggest anything inappropriate). He simply Emanated appreciation and attraction that made nearly every woman he met feel beautiful and desirable. At the age of 73 he was still a handsome man, still making women of all ages feel special everywhere he went. I imagine there are those in Charlottesville (and probably in other parts of the world as well) who are grieving at this very minute for the lost opportunity to go out with him one day, or grieving with a broken heart over their unrequited love for him in these later years. My feelings and sympathy go out to each of you.

    Gabe told me once that he used to hate to fly but that it didn’t bother him anymore as he no longer cared if the plane crashed or not, since he had come to terms with death (spoken with an off-handed detachment rather than depression). He said he had succeeded in business because he never cared if they made money or not. I often wondered if that was really true and whether he was born detached or had learned it along the way. His friendships with his wife, his two daughters and with Allan and Gery were clearly of the heart, deeply felt and lifelong. Yet alongside those solid and loving bonds lay a desert highway of the dark loner….Gabe the smoker, the traveler, the innovator, the husband and father, the pugilist, the lover and the man who just didn’t care.

    The last night I saw him over dinner was in late Sept. During the meal he took a call from his girlfriend, Dana, and afterwards commented how great it was to have her in his life, with Karen passed away and his daughters married and living elsewhere. He described her as a no-drama girl who made him happy. When he and I parted company later in the evening I saw him pick up the phone to give Dana a call as he walked away, and could hear that easy tone in his voice that we use when speaking to someone we love, ‘Hey Sweetheart….just calling to say goodnight”. Wherever you are, dear Dana, you have my real and felt sympathy for the loss of your dearest and irreplaceable best friend.

    My warm condolences as well to Gabe’s two daughters, Kia and Taije, to his close circle of old friends, and to his grandson, who may be too young to ever really remember his wild and crazy and magnificent grandfather.

  • As a LightHouse student in 1999, Will McCutcheon and I made a video that was, in part, a documentary about construction and development downtown (mentored by Will Kerner – Hi Will!). We wanted to interview Gabe — we were part of a group renting an arts/tech studio space from him, at the time — and asked for a quick, 5-to-10-minute interview. Gabe got into a monologue and filled the whole 60-minute tape, with his thoughts on community, the arts, development, construction, technology, etc. We were kicking ourselves because we were only able to use a small part of it in our 4-minute video.

    I wish I could find that and revisit it — there’s a 50% I still have that original interview on tape somewhere, but like much of my stuff from HS, it’s on an obsolete format (Digital 8) that I no longer have the means to play back. From that same era/format, I also have some footage of Gabe and US Poet Laureate Rita Dove dancing a tango in a parking lot outside the 1999 Virginia Film Festival… Just a few of many very fond memories of Gabe.

  • I met Gabe in 2008 in Buenos Aires, and he immediately became a great friend, full of kindness and generosity. I have such fond memories of running around Buenos Aires with him looking at architecture, listening to tango concerts, and discussing life in general. He opened his home in Buenos Aires (with or without him) to me and my friends on several occasions. We played piano, listened to tango music, drank Nespresso, and even crafted a book on his couch. He will be deeply missed, but remembered always.

  • Gabe will be sorely missed by many. He helped Charlottesville become more vibrant with integrity and finesse. I enjoyed lively engaging conversations with Gabe, receiving the warmest of hugs, huge grins and shared laughter.
    Gabe and Karen leave us with their greatest gift, daughters Kia and Taije, kisses to both ladies.
    Hats off my friend,
    Carlin

  • We’re all sad because we feel we have lost something important … and we have. We’ve lost Gabe Silverman.

    We all owned a piece of him. Gabe loved that and he freely gave himself to anyone who would just stop and talk with him.

    You didn’t have to be rich, poor, black, white, or anything in particular. You just had to care enough about something … anything … and talk to him about it. It could be a grand social cause … or a cheap stamped tin robot.

    You could talk for 5 minutes … or 5 hours. You were in the Gabo-sphere. And it was a great place to be.

    But the reality is that all of us are still in the Gabo-sphere – that’s we we’re all on this blog adding our thoughts. We still have it. That hasn’t changed.

    In fact, we all probably understand and treasure it better today than we did before he died. That’s the nature of grief and reflection.

    And that’s the true value and greatness of Gabe Silverman.

    Not the bricks and mortar, but the example of how to care, how to bond, and how to be a devoted and supportive friend.

    So, even though it hurts today, we all have the rest of our lives to remember Gabe and honor him by applying his lessons to our own daily existence.

    And that is so much more valuable to me than anything else he leaves behind.

  • Gabe, superb dreamer and gardener, you will be missed and appreciated and dreamed on.
    Tread carefully now… I’ve got your back.
    love,
    ida

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