Dean J. Saba
Dean J. Saba
  • 48 years old
  • Date of birth: Jan 18, 1964
  • Place of birth:
  • Date of passing: Sep 2, 2012
  • Place of passing:
    West Orange, New Jersey, United States
Sadly missed along life's way, quietly remembered every day... No longer in our life to share, but in our hearts, you're always there. Let the memory of Dean be with us forever
Dean's eulogy written & delivered by Ruthie during the funeral mass ~

Thank you all for being here. Your outpouring of support has been such a tremendous gift for Isabella and myself. It is truly moving to see how many lives my husband touched during his short and remarkable life.

People talk of the pain of losing a loved one but boy you never really know the full import unless it happens to you. You can ask my friends, I would tell them, “mangyari na ang lahat wag lang may mangyari kay Dean – let the worst happen, just please don’t anything happen to Dean.

You know that line “somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good.”.? That line would often come to my mind, because Dean’s love was unfailing. He would say “When I met you, I told God this is the girl I want to take care of”, and he embraced that vow. Although he would later joke that he had no idea how much God would take him at his word because I depended on him completely.

Dean simply did not have it in his make-up to be anxious or worried about anything. And he didn’t want me to worry about anything either. I think he always protected me from negativity. In many ways I am guileless because for all these years I’ve known only goodness. He took care of everything so that Isabella and I would be like that Austen character Emma - there would be very little in the world to distress or vex us.

Everyone who knew Dean would know instantly how much he adored Isabella. His photographs documented her every step. Honestly I often thought it was out of control, like living with paparazzi. But it seemed he knew how little time we were going to have with him, and he wanted to make sure our memory bank would be overflowing. He would say someday I’d look back and appreciate the tons and tons of photographs. Dean, with all my heart, thank you for the pictures.

He couldn’t do enough for his princess. The moment Isabella was delivered, he forgot about me, whisked her away, and gave her a bath. He knew right away how to bundle her like a little lumpia. The other folks in the hospital marveled at him and called him Mr. Mom. They hadn’t seen anything yet. This is the guy who would make sure the Easter Bunny came every year and had the bunny footprints to prove it. He loved to take her camping, and mind you, even if we were in the middle of some forest, Isabella always had gourmet food, the woods would smell of the aroma of his Korean barbecue, and I always worried that we were bear-bait. In second grade she had to be Mother Teresa for a school project. Dean called the Sisters of Charity to get an idea, then lovingly and craftily made her a costume by spray painting strips of blue paint on yards of white cloth, then he learned how to drape her in a sari. When she needed a Filipino costume for International Night, he woke me up in the middle of the night to show me that he had somehow, McGyver like, made her a drawstring skirt. He was in the YMCA with her when she was as young as 1½ so he could hold her in the water for her baby swimming class. He dutifully drove her to her piano and violin lessons. He was her tennis coach and partner. He taught her how to bike, skate, kayak, etc. They were daredevils – loved roller coasters, even flew in an open vintage bi-plane.

When Isabella was little she told her teacher “We always have gourmet food. The only time we don’t have gourmet food is when we eat in a restaurant.” He was not your typical romantic person, never knew the right words to say in that department. But he always said he showed his love for me in other ways – like simply amazing cuisine. ALL the time. And making sure our home had Christmas spirit – wood burning in the fireplace, wreaths in every window, our traditional annual trek to the Xmas tree farm with the Hagans.

He was not a complex theologian, but his faith was solid. During our most trying times, he would reproach me for not having enough faith. “God always comes through, Ruthie, when did he ever abandon us?” I can hear him saying that to me now, when the future seems unbearable. “Ano ka ba, Ruthie, wala ka bang faith?” (what’s the matter with you Ruthie, where is your faith?).

Dean LOVED people. The smile that swept me off my feet 25 years ago just kept glowing ever more brightly. He was just such a friendly guy. He remembered faces, names, sundry details about all the people he met.

I told him he should have worked for the Secret Service, because he had incredible face recognition skills. I remember the time we were in Washington DC and he pointed out that this homeless man on the street was the same homeless man he had seen in New York City months ago. He would never hesitate to go up to someone and say “don’t I know you from this and that place?’ and boom, another friendship made.

To him, every person was a joy waiting to be uncovered. He never wanted to be a professional photographer. He just wanted to take pictures of people, their smiles, the glances they give one another, their action shots, their candid moments. He loved to show his subjects the photos, as if to say “see how beautiful you are, how beautiful your life is”.

He loved his community, the parish, his neighbors. I remember once he went apple picking with Isabella, and I came home to a house wonderfully smelling of apple pies. He made pies for us, and for the neighbors as well. It gave him so much joy to deliver those homemade pies.

He loved his parents, his siblings, his nephew and nieces. The highest compliment he ever paid me was the one he told me all the time, that he married his mother. He thought the world of you, Mamita.

He loved my family as well, and felt responsible for my sisters. He was always the first to show up at the Bengzon reunions. He loved documenting how the children were growing.

I asked Isabella if she wanted me to include anything special in the eulogy, and she wanted to make sure I talk about “lambing”. This is what he always used to say to us “ you lambing daddy, make me lambing”. In our language this means sweetness, displayed in gestures of affection. He cherished the expressions of lambing, stroking his hair, his cheek, holding his hand, rubbing his arm. Isabella knew that the trick to getting anything she wanted was to show her dad some lambing. Dean, you know I would give anything in the world to be able to do any of that again.

We all know the concept in our heads, every day is a gift, make the most of every day you have with your loved ones. But stuff creeps in, bills, work, projects, deadlines, after-school activities, etc. We are constantly running about. Please, to all the married people gathered today, don’t let a day go by without showing your spouse some “lambing”. Imagine being in the situation I was in, wanting so desperately to hold my spouse, touch his hair and face, but being restrained by hospital personnel, and watching in helpless horror as a team of physicians tried to revive him, and through the commotion hearing words that no woman should ever have to hear about her husband, like “there’s still a pulse, there’s still a pulse” and then “somebody call a pastor”. So please, today, don’t pass up the chance to show your spouse the affection that you might one day be literally not allowed to give.

Dean believed in marriage, in its sacramentality. We considered it our greatest blessing and privilege. Separation would be amputation.

Dean would have wanted everyone to see marriage in the same way, something you worked on everyday, your vocation and life’s calling. A very dear friend of ours, Art Flaherty, commented during one of our Celebrate Love sessions, which by the way I encourage every married or engaged couple in and out of the parish to attend as it blessed our marriage so much, that at the end of a married person’s life, the question that will demand reckoning would be : How well did you take care of the girl or the boy I gave you?

And, Dean, when it is time for you to answer the question “How well did you take care of the girl I gave you?”, just flash your bright smile as you receive the thunderous round of applause, because boy you really set the bar.

You are an angel. I will love you always. Till we see each other again.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by carmencita bengzon on 18th January 2014

"Dearest Dean - You will always be unforgettable to me and all!!  You were goodness personified.. all too apparent esp. in your ever/over protective love towards your beloved Ruthie and Isabella. I take comfort in the thought that they have an angel in you, watching and taking care of them all the time.  We all miss and love you, Dean!."

This tribute was added by Jojo Garcia on 18th January 2014

"Happy Birthday, Dean...from earth to heaven."

This tribute was added by TG Praxedes on 29th September 2012

"i remember riding our bicycles  all day,playing basketball,the many house parties,the many friends we all share..all of us were less than 10yrs old , when we all lived in a place we call Merville,it was like DISNEYLAND for all of us,it is our special place,and you DEAN is a special friend....I will forever cherish our childhood friendship,till we meet again my friend"

This tribute was added by Ursula Rodas on 24th September 2012

"Hi Ruthie and Bella,
We will miss Dean alot... Never had the chance to say goodbye but not to worry bec. He wiil always be with us in our hearts... So soon but never will be forgotten.. Said Mass for him this Sept. 22&23 as a special intension. Take care and we love u all...Lana, Jun and family"

This tribute was added by Christabel de Leon on 24th September 2012

"Dear Ruthie, my deepest condolences.  Your eulogy says so much of your special and beautiful marriage; and, of your deep faith.  I can imagine Dean smiling at you from up above.  He's in his white high school shirt and blue long pants, like how he was when we were schoolbus mates in Merville."

This tribute was added by Maripaz Aquino on 22nd September 2012

"Our deepest condolences to Ruthie, Isabella, and the Saba family.  What I will always remember of Dean is his disarming smile.  @Ruthie, your account of Dean is one of an extra-ordinary individual.  He grew up to be a beautiful person indeed!  The world has lost a saint."

This tribute was added by Myra Lapus on 21st September 2012

"Your one-liner responses which occasionally expanded to a few more sentences often left us hanging and wanting more explanations from you. Your actions though, marked by faith and selfless giving silenced us to trust the more in God and be grateful. You have taught me well by your witnessing of love. You are where a kind and generous soul should be...... Pray for us . I love you."

This tribute was added by Marichi Castro Guevara on 16th September 2012

"Dearest Dean, Thank you for making my best friend Ruthie and my inaanak Isabella so happy, and for taking care of them so well. I know you will continue doing that from your special nook in heaven. You will always be in our hearts and will continue being an inspiration to us all. Thank you for showing us how to love -- completely, unconditionally, and with such great joy. Love, Marichi"

This tribute was added by Nestor Sagayadan on 16th September 2012

"My family, Dulce, Celina, Lester, Miguel, and Cheng, will pray for your journey, Dean, and more so,  for the loved ones who shall miss you especially Ruthie ad Isabella, Tito Purito and Tita Nora, and your siblings."

This tribute was added by Raffy Pekson II on 13th September 2012

"You will be missed, my friend. It was a pleasure knowing you all through these years. Rest in peace with God."

This tribute was added by Bocci del Rosario on 8th September 2012

"My sincere condolences to Ruthie and Isabella. Love & prayers, bocci"

This tribute was added by Meddie Rosen on 7th September 2012

"My heart goes out to both Ruthie and Isabella for their loss.  But in my heart, I know You are in the presence of our Father and all is well.  Though You were only with us for a short time, we are grateful for the time our Father gave Ruthie, Isabella, family and friends to know you, and love you as a husband, father, son, brother and friend.  We thank Him for the gift of your life."

This tribute was added by Mon Vergara on 7th September 2012

"The formative and destructive years we spent together in Merville will forever be etched in my memory. Vaya con Dios, my friend!"

This tribute was added by Eric Inigo on 6th September 2012

"You will be missed by the people whose lives you have touched. Our sincerest prayers are with you and your family."

This tribute was added by Chito Ciocon on 6th September 2012

"My prayers for you and your family. We, your Don Bosco schoolmates, will miss you."

This tribute was added by Lisa Orosa on 5th September 2012

"Dean, you were always full of life and whenever you were around, laughter always filled the air.  Your light shone brightly and warmed everyone who encountered you.  You will be missed...but we stand assured that you will be welcomed in heaven with the words, "Well done good and faithful servant.  Come share in your Master's joy!"  Pray for us as we pray for you!"

This tribute was added by carmencita bengzon on 5th September 2012

"Dearest Dean - I close my eyes and see your smile, warmly welcoming me to our family events. I console myself with the thought that you have lived your life ever ready for our Maker.  I am deeply saddened.. I wiill miss you terribly especially at our next reunion.  My heart and prayers go to Ruthie and Isabella!  Much love to your Dean!  Tita Chit"

This tribute was added by jonas pinga on 5th September 2012

"Dean, I'm very sad you had to leave so soon.  You were one of the most fun and crazy and decent fellow I have ever met.  You always lightened up my day with your jokes and laughter.  Thank you for being part of our lives even for a short time only.  We will miss you."

This tribute was added by Jojo Garcia on 5th September 2012

"We are blessed to have the chance to meet and know you through Cecile. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time...."

This tribute was added by Margaret Austria on 5th September 2012

"I am blessed to have the lucky chance to have met you.  Keeping you in my prayers."

This tribute was added by Mel Galvez on 5th September 2012

"Goodbye dear friend..Nothing will ever be the same without you."

This tribute was added by Shubee Ang on 5th September 2012

"We will miss you, Dean! You were such a cheerful, generous and kind cousin/uncle to us all. We will always think of you. We love you, Dean!"

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