It is with devastating sorrow that we announce the sudden passing of our son, Gabriel Zacary Sparks Rodrigo, age 21, on Saturday, April 24th, 2021. Gabriel was born on May 12, 1999, and was raised in Charleston, SC.
Gabriel's words and deeds reflected his intense love for his family and far too many friends to number. He never met a stranger and he had a heart overflowing with love and kindness and gave selflessly to them. Gabe was a high school 3 sport athlete, including being a member of the Furman football team. He had a passion for all things Kentucky, especially UK basketball, as well as his family and friends who hail from there. Gabe was also passionate about cooking, food in general and had the mind of a future business entrepreneur. Gabriel attended First Scots Presbyterian Pre-school and kindergarten, Mason Preparatory School, and freshman year at James Island Charter High School, before attending & graduating from Charleston Collegiate High School. He attended Furman University and Trident Technical College as a Business Major.
Gabe is survived by his Mama and step-dad, Melissa Sparks-Rodrigo (Cope) and Brian Cope, of James Island, grandparents Elliott L. "Butchie" Cope and Susan Long Cope of Ridgeland, SC, his father Joseph Rodrigo and step-parent, Laura Rodrigo of Charleston, Sondra Rodrigo of Austintown, OH, uncle Jeffrey W. Sparks and aunt Crystal J. Sparks of Andrews, NC, Paige Cope of Hilton Head, SC, and Seth Cope, of Savannah, GA. On his father's side, he is survived by three aunts, Deneen Rodrigo Haefke of Florida, Lisa Rodrigo, and Cindy Rodrigo Payne of Kentucky.
In special addition, he is also survived by four honorary family members, aunt Christina Young of Summerville, SC, auntie Celeste Cole of Georgetown, SC, and aunt Wendy S. Campbell of Maryland. Gabriel is further survived and loved by many cousins around the country whom he also adored.
Gabriel was preceded in death by his grandmother, Marie Nichols Sparks, and his grandfather Bernard R. Sparks, with whom he had a very special relationship, his uncle B. Ramon Sparks II, his cousin Caelan J. Sparks, his grandfather Angel Rodrigo and two cousins, Robert and Brittany Haefke.
The lives of Gabriel's family and friends will forever be changed by this unimaginable loss, but he filled our hearts with an infinite supply of love, laughter, kindness, and memories.
It is only goodbye for now, until we meet again, my sweet angel Gabriel.
The family will receive family and friends on Friday, April 30, 2021, from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM at McAlister-Smith Funeral Home, 347 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29412.
The Graveside Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at 11:00 AM at Magnolia Cemetery, 70 Cunnington Ave., Charleston, SC.
Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at https://www.mcalister-smith.com/.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to McALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL & CREMATION, James Island, 347 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29412, (843) 614-8494.