Remembering: Gabe Cox

Glenn Rohrbacker

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On June 28, 2016, University of New Haven lost one of its students due to a fatal car accident near his home in Delaware. Gabriel Lee Cox was an Interior Design/Pre-Architecture major at UNH who loved his friends, classmates and professors and could not wait to return this fall.

A message from President Steven Kaplan went out on July 1st to students, explaining the tragic news. Cox was loved by all of his friends and family, who expressed their gratitude to the university in giving Cox one of the best years of his life.

(Photo taken from Facebook)

(Photo taken from Facebook)

Both of Cox’s parents were killed in separate car accident when he was very young. He was then adopted by his older brother, Dane, who is 29, and his wife, Maggie, who is 27.

In a touching tribute to Cox on Facebook, Maggie says, “For the last 7 years you’ve been like my son. We have so much pain, anger, and heartbreak, but I promise you we will carry on your legacy. We love you Gabriel. In this world, and in the next.”

Cox also has a 23-year-old sister, Kaylee, who was there for him as well. In addition to his immediate family, Cox had many aunts, uncles, and cousins who will miss him dearly.

A friend of Cox’s was driving a SUV when it hydroplaned around a corner. Cox, sitting in the back passenger seat, received the most direct impact. The car veered off of the road and the side of his door collided with a tree.

The other two passengers and the driver received additional injuries, with the front passenger experiencing a coma that lasted about a month. The driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, only received minor bruises. The passenger behind the driver was Adrianna Marvel, Cox’s girlfriend. She received serious injuries including a fractured elbow, stitches in her head and arm, and a severe concussion.

Adrianna was also a student at UNH, who will not be returning this fall. Adrianna’s roommate, sophomore Kristin O’Connor, says Gabe was one of the most amazing people she had ever met.

Cox and his girlfriend Adrianna.  (Photo taken from Facebook)

Cox and his girlfriend Adrianna.
(Photo taken from Facebook)

“Gabe was the kind of person that lit up a room. No matter where he was, he was always the life of the party,” she said.

Kristin, along with several other of his friends, reflected on his uniquely positive attitude, despite the loss he had suffered in his life.

“No matter what we were doing or what time it was, he was always in the best mood. Even when other people weren’t in the best mood he would do something to make them laugh,” says Jaimy Rippe, a junior at UNH.

A close friend of  Cox’s, Danielle Ferguson, is almost unable to put words together to describe how much Cox meant to her.

“That boy had a capacity to love more than anyone I’d ever seen,” she says.

It was obvious that Cox made an impact on all of his friends and classmates.

“He is the most genuine and strong soul I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Thanks to him, I look at life in a completely different way and cherish every single moment,” said sophomore Michaela Pietrangeli. 

Cox’s was death almost immediately used to bring good to children in need. His family began donating to a charity called Independent Living Services that gives hats to children who age out of foster care, a cause Cox and his family are very close to. So far, they have donated over 350 hats and are actively looking for more donations.

If you are interested in donating, please contact Danielle Ferguson at

A funeral service was held near Cox’s hometown in Deleware, where at least 30 fellow students from UNH attended, some from as far as California.

It is obvious how much Gabe Cox meant to so many people, both from his short time at UNH and at home. Cox was the leading technical drafting student in Deleware and 4th in the nation. He received straight A’s his last semester at UNH. According to his brother Dane, he was a natural sportsman and thoroughly enjoyed making people laugh.

Pietrangeli recalls one thing Gabe said to her once, that has stuck with her and will for a long time: “Positivity is key, even when you feel like it’s impossible to have.”


Glenn Rohrbacker, Editor-in-Chief

Glenn Rohrbacker is a junior at the University of New Haven studying communications with a concentration in journalism and minors in Political Science...

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Remembering: Gabe Cox