Gabriel Juan Salvador, was born August 22, 1972 in Santa Barbara, CA to John and Rosalie Salvador. Gabe entered the world crying and weighed just shy of 10 lbs. The Drs. and nurses couldn’t believe how big he was. They said, “he looks like he’s already 3 months old.” My dad wanted to name him Roman Gabriel after the Filipino NFL football player for the Los Angeles Rams; however, my dad’s brother’s wife, Auntie Mary, was pregnant at the same time and they wanted to name their son Roman after our Filipino grandfather. Well, they ended up having a boy too. With the help of our grandma Jessie she took hold of God’s Holy Bible and opened it up looking for a name. She came across Gabriel and our mom approved. They named their only son, Gabriel Juan Salvador.
Gabe was a big stocky kid when he was young yet very gentle and shy. As a kid growing up in the 70’s he was as free as a bird riding his black and red Huffy bike all around the neighborhood. Weekends were spent watching cartoons and as Christmas approached we loved watching all the Christmas cartoons while Gabe couldn’t wait for Santa Claus to arrive. Summer days were spent at Aqua Camp, Hendry’s Beach and Los Banos pool.
He attended San Roque School and Notre Dame. After 8th grade graduation, our parents decided it would be best for Gabe to attend San Marcos High school. There he made many lifelong friends. As a Royal he played soccer, basketball and volleyball. He was a good athlete and was a great asset to the Royals volleyball team with his blocking skills. In 1991 Gabe and his VB teammates conquered the CIF volleyball title for Southern CA.
After high school Gabe attended SBCC for a short while. He worked at Goleta Valley Athletic club before moving to San Francisco to pursue his dream of becoming a Firefighter/Paramedic. He was sure built for the profession: big, strong, courageous and caring.
Gabe had a love for the ocean which he inherited from our father. Gabe loved to boogie board and later an avid free diver. During one abalone dive he brought home a 10 inch abalone and was so proud of it. The ocean made him feel alive and forget about everything that was troubling him. He loved sharing his catch with anyone who loved seafood. The ocean was his happy place.
It took years of training and studying as he kept his eyes on the prize of becoming a Firefighter/Paramedic. He was employed by the oldest ambulance company in San Francisco, King American Ambulance for the last 16 years. Gabe was promoted to Lieutenant at King American as well as a Paramedic for the San Francisco Fire Department. He was very skilled and good at what he did, his supervisors often placed him with new naïve paramedics to show them how to do the job right. He trained countless new employees emphasizing the importance of following protocols and procedures for professional patient care and for the safety of patients and his fellow paramedics. Gabe was very passionate about teaching safe Code 3 driving techniques while navigating the streets of San Francisco. My parents are proud to know that their son was a true team player always willing to stay late and work overtime. He was incredibly motivated and always seemed to muster up the energy to go to the gym. He kept fit and it paid off. Years later he was awarded the Star of Life for his outstanding work as a paramedic.
During his years at King American he worked many San Francisco Giants baseball games. The company wanted a Paramedic who would represent the company respectfully. They always chose Gabe. He would hang out in the dug-out with the Giants and was careful not to get star struck or cross the boundary of work. He was lucky to work the years they went to the World Series, 2010, 2012 and 2014. During these years he would call my mom and say, “Mom, put on TV I am working the game and I am in the dug out. Do you see me?”
Gabe met the love of his life Nikki Maples while they both worked at King American. They were just friends but as time passed they fell in love and married on June 24, 2017. I was extremely honored that they wanted me to marry them and that I did with great pride. It was one of Gabe’s happiest and proudest moments.
It was not long after their wedding that Gabe was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. The Drs. gave my brother 3 months to live but Gabe did not listen to their timeline. Gabe was very stubborn and would not give in to anyone. It’s a good and bad trait to have but in this case it was very good for the sake of cancer. During this time my brother made the most important decision of his life and placed his trust in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The Lord gave him an extra 3 years. The Drs. saw how fit and strong he was and knew he could endure an intense aggressive regimen. He stoically endured 50 rounds of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation. He fought this battle like a true Olympic Champion not once giving up.
You may not agree but cancer saved my brother’s life. He was not a firm believer in Jesus Christ until cancer crept in to try and destroy him. However, that all changed that fateful February day when the Dr. entered the room dumbfounded that this young, handsome, fit man had stage 4 cancer. Gabe ran to the one who could save him; his God the creator. He quickly found his home church, Spring Hills in Santa Rosa and loved it. God’s word was hope and life for him.
Gabe kicked cancer’s ass and WON the battle. He did not loose. He would be mad if you said he lost the battle. He fought the battle with mighty strength with God holding him up with His righteous right hand. God never left his side and my brother is now with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forever in Heaven.
Gabriel Juan Salvador, Paramedic #1217, won the battle on Sunday evening, December 27, 2020. He grabbed hold of his Saviors hand and was healed from cancer. Gabe is ALIVE and FREE in Heaven, no more pain and suffering. Hallelujah-PRAISE GOD!!!
We are so thankful for the love and care his wife Nikki provided for my parent’s son. It was a long and arduos road especially as newlyweds. She provided Gabe with everything he needed. Gabe is survived by his wife Nikki, his son Ty, stepson Austin, his parents John and Rosalie Salvador, his sister Sharon, brother in law Alex Jegottka, nephews Milan and Gian, and his grandmother Jessie Salvador. He also will be greatly missed by his wife’s family and friends in Santa Rosa, CA, as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
We will be celebrating his life, Saturday, August 21, 2021 at 10 am. The service will be held at South Coast Church 5814 Cathedral Oaks Rd., Goleta, CA 93117.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8