Memorial service planned Saturday
BREWSTER — Cade Gebbers, a senior at Brewster High School, died March 17 just outside town off Paradise Hill Road.
His death was ruled a suicide by Okanogan County Coroner Dave Rodriguez.
“It’s the worst kind of call to go on” for law enforcement, the coroner and other first responders, he said.
Gebbers, 19, the son of Johnny and Nichole Gebbers, apparently had given his family concern about him earlier in the day, Rodriguez said. The family, sheriff’s office, Okanogan County Search and Rescue, Washington State Patrol and a helicopter from Chelan County all responded to search for him.
His pickup truck was located about a mile up Paradise Hill Road, Rodriguez said. His body was later recovered in the vicinity.
“We are devastated, broken and miss him so much,” wrote his mother in a Facebook post. “As we try to pick up the pieces, please pray for my family. Pray for our youth, and hug your kids every chance you get.”
Cade Gebbers’ death prompted an outpouring of support and condolences on social media for the family from the community and across the state. Liberty Bell football players added “#CG4” to their helmets for Friday’s game and Kelson Gebbers wore his late brother’s football jersey in Brewster’s football game.
“The Brewster Bear family lost on of its very own yesterday,” the Brewster district posted March 18. “Cade Gebbers will forever be remembered as a loving son, great friend and wonderful teammate. He brought so much life, joy and charisma to those that knew him on and off the court.
“He will be sorely missed and our hearts are broken. Prayers for their family and our community are greatly appreciated.”
Pateros school officials called Gebbers’ death “a tragic event,” and said it is supporting students at school. It urged parents to contact the district if a child needs support.
Both districts posted information about suicide awareness and prevention.
“Cade’s family, the Brewster School District, our community, our county and even further reaches mourn the loss of a child, student, family member and friend,” said the Brewster district. “One of the best ways to honor Cade is to do the best we can to educate others on suicide so that others are not left in this mournful state wishing we could have done something to prevent it.”
The district said suicide awareness is taught in all schools, but when a situation arises it brings heightened awareness and the risk of additional events.
“It is important to be watchful of our loved once for suicidal indicators,” said the district.
The district urged parents and caregivers to be extra watchful of children for the next six to eight weeks, not leave them alone if they don’t want to be, and slow down and spend extra time with children.
Signs to watch for include changes in the child’s behavior, isolating, extra emotions (sad or angry) and major changes in interests.
The district also encouraged community members to identify students who need more support, prevent imitation, minimize positive attention to the death, choose words carefully and keep lines of communication open.
Responses can include asking if the child is OK or is having thoughts of suicide, expressing concern over behavior, listening attentively and non-judgmentally, reflecting what they share and letting them know they have been heard, telling them they are not alone, letting them know there are treatments available that can help, guiding them to professional health, and not minimizing their experience or invalidating their thoughts, said the district.
Cade Gebbers played football, basketball and baseball in high school, and was a member of the Bears’ 2020 state championship basketball team.
In the championship game against Life Christian Academy, he led all scorers with 34 points.
He was named Central Washington 2B league basketball player of the year in 2020.
He also had competed in summer swimming and at the Okanogan County Fair.
A celebration of life will be at 1 p.m. March 27 at Brewster High School. Memorials are suggested to Only7Seconds, a non-profit group created to support suicide awareness. More information is at https://only7seconds.com/honoring-cade.
The family invited people to make videos telling stories about him or to write a memory. Tributes can be emailed to email@example.com. Videos will be viewed privately by the family, they said.