Bonsall man (longtime Fallbrook teacher) shoots himself in Temecula, police say

TEMECULA – Passers-by found the body of a man who apparently shot and killed himself with a handgun while sitting in a rocking chair in front of the Temecula Hotel in Old Town Temecula, the sheriff’s department said today.

Adrian Lee Lafave, 50, of Bonsall, was still holding the gun when his body was found at about 2:45 p.m. Friday at the historical building in the 42000 block of Main Street, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Will Edwards.

A preliminary investigation showed Lafave shot himself in the right temple with a .22-caliber handgun, Edwards said.

Coroners listed the time of his death at 2:21 p.m. Friday.

107 Responses to "Bonsall man (longtime Fallbrook teacher) shoots himself in Temecula, police say"

  1. Janel Willis   November 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I am the student of fave and we will be remembered he was a wonderful teach and I have nothing bad to say about him he was a wonderful man ! I love you mr . Lafave I’ll miss you , love your sad student janel Willis

  2. Julie Reeder   November 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Mr. Lafave was an amazing person and will be greatly missed by so many people it would be hard to quantify. What a horrible tragedy. He put so much effort and care into the programs he had for students. We will miss working with him at the Village News.
    To see an example of how Mr. Lafave went above and beyond, go to

  3. Angela   November 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Almost speechless… this is my son’s teacher. We are beyond sad.

  4. Angela   November 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I also need to say, that this man was such an awesome teacher. This was the first year that I felt Michael really clicked with his teacher. We are so incredibly sad. He had a connection with his students and as Michael tells me "made learning so easy"… He was truly a very gifted and talented man. Such a tragedy. He will be sorely missed.

  5. Susie kessel   November 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Deep depression is beyond our understanding and cannot comprehend the ripple effect of choices so finite as what Lee made. Despite him being so kind and caring, he was unable to see beyond what he saw as hopelss; so there was nothing any of us could have done who have recently had contact with him. It is as if he could only see through a narrow pipe, his hope and "vision" were that impared. I say this from "experiencing" way too many of "these". It still hurts. I’m still sitting here crying at the senseless loss of such a kind and caring man who was such a great coworker, and who became a friend. If we go to "what could have I done?", it will only cause us more pain. Don’t go there. Please pray for his family, his two sons, his long time girlfriend and her boys, his parents on the other side of the country, and the mother of his sons, his former wife, and his siblings. But I am still just so sad and hurt so much.

  6. Janel Willis   November 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I’ll miss you mr. lAFave , he did make learning easy it was like being read your favorite bed time story, he would tell us his crazy camping storys and about his kids . He was so passionate about teaching . He was my favorite teacher. With his fun ways of teaching and his always helpful advice and personality .he was a good man , and I haven’t stopped crying sence I last heard the news of this tragic event .:( I will never forget this wonderful man
    Love your student, janel Willis

  7. Lisa Cherry   November 6, 2011 at 2:31 am

    I was the room mom in Mr. La Fave’s class. I would read to the students every Wednesday and would frequently help out in class. Mr. LaFave made my son excited when he taught about the history of Native Americans in our state and area. He also ignited a spark in my son regarding science and math. My son still loves science, math, and history. Mr. LaFave was not your typical teacher as he taught to the kids, not at them. He also taught for several years at Mary Fay Pendleton on Camp Pendleton and understood the demands and challenges of the military community. He was able to help the children of military members cope with parent absenses, deployments, and other military-related issues. He was truly a remarkable teacher and one that neither my son nor I will ever forget. I cannot wrap my brain around this tragedy and am finding myself crying and wondering what pushed him over the edge. My sincerest condolences go out to his sons.

  8. Sad   November 6, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Anybody know what brought this on?

  9. Rachel Jeffers   November 6, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Adrian LaFave was my uncle. I am the oldest daughter of his oldest brother. I want to thank all of you for the kind words, as people can be so cruel at times when it comes to this type of tragedy. Thank you for the loving words in his honor.

  10. Leland   November 6, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Very selfish to do this in front of the children’s museum. Their could be no other reason then to end your life by trying to inflict lifetime trauma on children.
    It’s so sad that people are driven to take their own life but, many times people try to leave by creating a nightmare for others.
    From the comments on here this act really seems out of character for this gentleman. It sounds like the world lost a man who contributed so much.

  11. fallbrook mama   November 6, 2011 at 8:34 am

    My heart goes out to Mr. LaFave’s family at this time. He was a wonderful man with a big heart.

  12. Angela   November 6, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I agree with Mrs. Kessel. This was his own choice and there is nothing we could have done to help him. I felt like our last conversation was one of encouragement as I expressed to him how much Michael was enjoying being in his class. These past two years at Iowa Street School have been awesome for Michael. Such a positive learning enviroment that would not be possible without wonderful teachers such as Mr. LaFave and you too, Mrs. Kessel! Going from Mrs. Kessel to Mr. LaFave set the tone for another awesome year. I cannot express how grateful we are for the growth and confidence Michael has aquired in the past year from wonderful teachers such as you both! At first we were wondering how Michael would fair with a male teacher. Turns out his love for History was sparked even further since Mr. LaFave loved it too! He recommended that Michael read, "Johnny Tremmain" since he loved history… that was the last time we spoke. Now we go forth, praying for those he left behind and now in pain themselves.

  13. Angela   November 6, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Oh yes! And how could I forget the science and the math as Lisa Cherry has said. Michael actually is doing well in math this year! When I ask him why he thinks he’s doing well, he tells me, "Mr. La Fave just makes learning so easy!" Such a gem to our community.

  14. Paulette Britton   November 6, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Lee was my daughters teacher. He was beloved in our home. Fun, caring and planning for the future classes with which we would help. We are beyond sad. Shocked. Mad. But really crazy about him and the time and attention he gave our daughter and family. God bless everyone, especially his family.

  15. Madison Britton   November 6, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Mr. LaFave was Amazing! He was the best 8th grade teacher anyone could have asked for. He was full of expression in his reading and sometimes he quoted from the Bible. We were very close, even though I only knew him for about four months. I was so devastated when I heard the news. I am still crying today. No one could ever replace him. I miss you so much Mr.LaFave. I hope you are happier when and wherever you are. You are loved and missed. From, Madison, a sad student ):

  16. Charles Lehr   November 6, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I have known Lee for 1.5 years, we have had many dinners together with other friends. Lee loved riding Floyd, a quarter horse in the Santa Margarita River Bed and he spent summers repairing miles of horse trails. Lee loved making Videos of his vacation trips, activities, and contributed to making a wonderful rock waterfall at his long time friends home.

    I spoke with Lee last Monday and invited him to Kathleen birthday (a long term friend) that occurred last night. Lee said he had something else planned. Then last Thursday, around 6:00 pm, Lee was on his motorcycle pulled to the side of the road and saw me driving home and he followed me home. We spoke in the driveway and I invited Lee to turn off the motorcycle and come into to the house and talk. Lee told me that he was in a bad place in his life and he was driving to old town Temecula. I held his arm and tried to persuade Lee to turn the bike off and again invited Lee into the house and said let’s talk. I told Lee if you ever need to talk, then I would be there for you. Lee had his jacket open and not wearing gloves and the temperature was dropping. I at least, made Lee close his jacket and put on gloves for his ride to Temecula. I regret not turning off his motorcycle. I might have been the last friend to see Lee alive. I wish his spirit happiness in the afterlife.

  17. Kathleen   November 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I know the museum had nothing to do with the choice Lee made, Lee loved temecula old town, he felt connected to the old west and said many times he was born in the wrong time.Susie, has given the best explanation with the facts as I know. Part of the reason he was such a great teacher was his compulsive/obsessive
    tendenecy, he worked many long unpaid hours to inspire his student’s. I taught Indian pictorgraph painting and many other art classes to his GATE program students and knew him 12 years. he stopped by our house on the way to temecula on thursday (I was not home) Charles tried to get him to stay and talk as was the way many times turning into dinner and a evening of conversation, he couldn’t persuade him, He also had told Charles last monday he wouldn’t be here for my supprise birthday Sat. that Charles was planning .Both times he said he was in a bad place and Charles had tried to get him to talk, Lee told Charles thursday night he had been a good friend. He loved the horses and recently my older horse Stetson (in many of his vidios had died) I hope they are together riding in eternity, and he has finally found his way home. We will miss you Lee, till we meet again my friend.

  18. Mike N.   November 6, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I came upon Mr. LaFave’s public suicide after the Police had closed Main St. From a distance (in front of the Lorimar Winery tasting room) I could see his body slumped in the rocking chair while Police mulled about … no ambulance was on seen yet. In the few minutes that I stood there watching the scene, my feelings were sadness and anger. Sadness because this person hit such a low point in their life to publicly take it and anger because this guy shot himself in the head in full view and right across the street of THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM.

    I am somewhat disappointed to learn that Mr. LaFave was a good man, father, uncle, teacher and friend to many of you. The man I saw slumped in the rocking chair was just a selfish guy that decided his life should end in a public place in front of a Children’s Museum. It makes his last act that much more tragic.

  19. Hunter Gracey(The artist)   November 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Mr. Lafave was a great teacher!!! We just have to remember him for who he was and not what he did. We shouldn’t think about why he did it because we will never know. We shouldn’t wonder if it is our fault even though its not our fault. And don’t remember him for the things he did that we didn’t like, for example homework, getting mad at us for talking, or drawing in class, and just always remember him for the person he was and how he affected us. Just don’t try to think of why he would do this because even though you think you may know why you could be wrong. He was a good man and was a TENACIOUS person who always looked for adventure. I remember him for how he knew how I learned and respected that. He would let me draw in class because he knew I was able to get a grasp of what we were learning. I respected him for being so understanding of his students and so connected and kept in contact so the parents would know what was going on. He was one of the best teachers I have ever had. He is missed greatly. R.I.P Mr.Lafave we miss you and I will always think of you as one of the best teachers I have ever had ad always will be……

  20. Alyssa Stabley and Heather Taylor   November 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    My daughter was recently a student of Mr. La Faves. I don’t think that we have ever had a teacher with such passion, care and concern. Alyssa loved him and his stories and the way he made her laugh. It’s unfortunate that the love we have for people can’t keep them with us and make them as happy as they have made us. I pray for his family…his siblings, sons, parents, nieces, nephew and friends. He will be greatly missed. Now is not the time for peoples negative comments. If you have not walked a mile in the shoes of someone hurting. Lets up lift and love his family and friends while they try to make sense of the tragedy.

  21. Alyssa Stabley   November 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Solomon’s Seasons
    Ecclesiastes 3
    There is a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to hurt and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them; a time to embrace and a time to refrain; a time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace
    You were one of the best teachers i have ever had, mr. La Fave

  22. Matthew LaFave   November 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I am Uncle Lee’s 16 yr. old nephew from Upstate NY, but i have never met him, but i wish i had prior to this tragic event. I heard he loves history, and I also have a great love of history. I will miss him!

  23. Rebecca   November 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Mr. La Fave was awesome. I will never forget him and how he cared for each one of his students. I loved how he taught and how he seemed to make everything come to life. It was an amazing four months having him for my eighth grade teacher. I will miss him a lot.

  24. Katelyn Miller   November 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    There is so much I could say about Mr. La Fave. About how he was an amazing teacher, how he was always there when we needed him. How he was such an amazing man…. But I am still speechless from when I learned he had passed. Mr. La Fave you are and always will be loved by everyone. Never will I forget all the things you have done for me Mr. La Fave… Never. God bless his soul

  25. Cindy Price   November 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Lee LaFave was a Wonderful and Gifted man filled with many talents. I have known him for several years. I worked with him at one time in his classroom at Mary Fay Pendelton a few years ago. Also, my daughter had a "Wonderful Gate Summer School Class" with him when she was ten years old. She will soon be 20. I remember him as being "Oh So Positive and Happy" … He loved sharing his photos of his "many travels" and I enjoyed seeing them …

    He will be truly missed and my heart goes out to "everyone that his life touched" especially to his two sons …

  26. Jenn Mariucci   November 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Lee, you’ve touch so many lives with your zest for life. My daughter is blessed to have had you in her life. It’s amazing the skills that you taught her in third grade that she still uses to this very day, 5 years later. Amazing teacher.
    On a personal level, I will miss seeing and talking to you. I very much looked forward to seeing you almost daily at Fallbrook Coffee. I always enjoyed talking "school" with you, as we both were broading our horizons in the 8th grade. Personal conversations were also very touching. Your family and travels were the very center of your life, countless conversations about your boys, Lorenna, and the "wild wild west."
    Lee, I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to help catch you. You will always be remembered. You, your family, and loved ones are in my prayers.

  27. observer   November 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Charles and Kathleen & Lee’s family. So sorry for your loss. May he find peace finally. Very Sad.

  28. 310 to Yuma   November 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    There are no words to describe the tragic loss of Mr. Lafave. Our oldest had him as a third grade teacher. It was both an honor and a privilege to have known him. We will be forever grateful for the time we were able to spend with Mr. Lafave. Mr. Lafave will always be loved, admired and respected by us and we will never forget him. May he rest in peace and peace be with his family during this difficult time.

  29. S.Arellano   November 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    This is so heart breaking and confusing. I did’nt know Mr.LaFave for a long time and I feel as if he was seeking out for help. Last week he called me from his cell phone after hours to remind me of how much he had faith in my son. He even walked my son to my car after school and we talked for 15 minutes. Mr LaFave seemed sincere and kept telling me how he had faith in my son and he wanted him to try out for an audition next week. I held Mr.LaFave arm and looked into his eyes and said Thank You you are Awesome with my son He lookes at me and smiled the look was priceless. If only I knew then that he was so sad and lost. Why do I feel so sad and helpless. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his students. Mr.LaFave might have felt safe at school with his students and from his videos he was a nuture man with a heart for earth and saw the beauty in Nature. A cowboy who will be missed dearly and will never be forgotten. RIP Mr. LaFave, May Heaven be as Beautiful as Earth! Till we meet again!

  30. Kathleen   November 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I think there is some confussion about when lee took his life he was on his way to temecula thursday evening at 6:00
    the cornors report stated the insident happened 11/3-11/4 maybe very late thurs or very early before light fri. then stated the death on fri afternoon, he may have been alive/unconcious many hours a 22 is a small caliber. I am upset at people that know nothing bringing up the children museum. I do not believe he did it when anyone was around, nor was he in a mind set to think it may not be found right away. If you dont know him, and have no helpful information, judge not least ye shall be judged, Lee loved kids and teaching as expressed by his students and parents alike.

  31. Jaden Arellano   November 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Im one of Mr la faves students and hearing of this incident just made me feel like i was dreaming. When i first heard i just would not stop crying and thinking why would he do this? on friday night i could not sleep i didnt know why but i thought something was wrong i could not sleep. Now hearing about this makes me so depresed and sad. Also while i was doing my homework i saw his name on my binder ,on my worksheet for this week,and on my moms voice mail made me cry . he was the one to help me at math i never got it till he taught me. he was a fun and funny teacher he also had so many stories of him camping and his family.
    He was my favorite teacher ever. R.I.P MR. La fave You will be always missed by all youre students and family

  32. Julie Murray   November 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Lee, you were such a unique, kind, thoughtful individual. You truly gave of yourself to those who needed help. You thought of others especially your students. Your love of teaching was so inspiring to your students and parents.
    You were such a great friend too! My family loved you and your many stories, pictures and videos. I just wish I could have tried to help you in your darkest time. I will never know why you did it. I can only know that you were a great friend and you will be forever in my families memories and hearts.
    I have been trying to understand why you chose the place that you did and the only conclusion is that your love of teaching and learning (he loved museums) and your love of history (that place was the old hotel built in the late 1800’s) both were there. Please don’t judge someone especially if you didn’t know them.
    I must say my friend you have definately taught me one last thing which is to always tell someone how much you love them because you never know when you won’t be able to.
    Lee you will be missed by many but especially by our family and all our animals who loved you so. Please find the comfort you were looking for. Good Bye friend.

  33. David Kootman   November 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I taught with Lee for most of my teaching career. He was such a dedicated teacher who always gave everything for the students. He had such unique and diverse interests and never stopped learning. Many thanks for all of your contributions to learners everywhere. You will be missed Lee.

  34. observant   November 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    My condolences to the family, friends, current and past students. Judging by the comments, he was a fantastic teacher and a good person.

    Please take into account all this man’s good deeds when mentioniong the children’s museum. If he was having such a difficult time, I’m sure the thought that he shouldn’t shoot himself across the street from a children’s museum slipped his mind. It sounds like he was a good man. Give him a break and let him rest in peace.

  35. Anonymous   November 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    It makes me so mad when I hear people slam those that are in so much pain that they believe the only choice is to take their own life. He sounded like a wonderful caring person who lost his way.

    Is their really anyone out there that would want to feel so depressed and alone that they would have the courage, yes I said courage because I don’t think it is an easy choice/action to take ones own life.

    Sounds like he loved history, especially the Old West so I think that is why he chose to take his life at this Old Hotel and because it was closed and for sale and he could do this without witnesses. Which leads me to comment #18 in this comment blog! Sounds like you are a morbid person to have stood there to watch what was going on and this wasn’t full view of the museum, the porch is pretty secluded. Also as friends have stated he was on his way to Temecula on Thursday night, so he most likely did this to himself sometime between late Thursday night and before Friday morning so no one would witness the act in itself. It is unfortunate for the two women that discovered him. Maybe calling 911 right before the act would have been a better choice so samaritans weren’t the ones that found him, but he probably didn’t want to take the chance to be saved.

    Sounds like the investigation is calling the time of death from when a shop owner nearby heard what she thought was a backfire from a car, how does anyone know that maybe that is what she actually herd, not a gunfire? Reports state that the blood was dried on his face, how does this happen in 20 minutes of time that went by when the shop owner heard the noise and when the two women came upon this tragic incident especially with the cold rainy day that it was.

    As far as comment #10 you bash him then you feel bad for him, which is it? This man did not sound selfish by any means and was far from trying to "inflict a lifetime of trauma onto children" you act like he waited for the museum to be full of kids and did this in the museum.

    This man could not win, if he did at home people would think he was wrong for doing it where family or friends would find him, if he did out in the wild people would think it was wrong for him to make his family worry until he was found. He could not win and we all need to remember we are not to judge other people, that is for God to do. None of us are perfect. Be thankful that you don’t feel as down as this poor man felt.

    Also remember that his family and friends have to read your negative thoughts #10 & #18 and someday this may happen in your family or with someone you care about.

    Again, I did not know this man, but I will pray that he has found peace and is in Heaven with some Cowboys from the Old Old West!!!

  36. Brittany   November 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I was one of mr.lafaves student when I heard the news I couldnt believe it because I had seen him the other day he gets coffee at fallbrook coffee on his way to school he goes there everyday I will really miss him he had so much to give he was an amazing teacher and he was a great man I remember in 3rd grade he got us a class pet we all thought it was gonna be a bunny or something soft but no he got us a scorpion and was always crazy and goofy like that but that’s what made him a great teacher he will be truly missed god bless his family and friends 🙁

  37. Liz Coulter   November 7, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Mr LeFavre loved his pupils, and they loved him. He freely chose his place to die, in a rocker on a porch, with roses and vines around him, facing Pennypickle’s Workshop…..a Children’s Science based Museum.He MUST have known many children would possibly view his body…how outrageously selfish to choose that spot, when thousands of others were available for his last act!
    While it is very sad that he was done with life, I feel my anger swelling more towards him each day.

    I work at Pennypickle’s, and both first and second sessions we had Field trips, and I was outside on our porch greeting approx 80 kindergarten kids and adults…….so that is about 160 total. The buses came down Main St, and left the same way, passing him 4 times.This was after he was dead, and before anybody realized that he had died. From our location, he appeared to be a drifter who had found a spot to sleep out of the wind on a rainy, cold day, tucked harmlessly away on the porch of a property for sale. Neither blood nor pistol were visible from our location, though we could all see him there. I believe he died much earlier as at no time did any of us in the Museum hear a shot……..and we were directly across from the chair.For his family…..he just appeared to be peacefully asleep, or we would have checked on him. When I was waiting on the porch for the second Field trip to arrive, while I certainly could not bring him over to the Museum, as it was so chilly and damp, I considered taking him something hot to eat when he woke up.

    At The Children’s Museum, we take the safety of our guests, young and old, very very seriously… what would he have done if somebody had seen him with the gun and there had been a stand-off? Our guests ( or staff) could have found themselves very much in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  38. Lisa   November 7, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Well I am one of the two women who found him. I can confirm that his time of death was probably during the 1 o’clock hour as we came across him at 2pm, and it was easy to determine he hadn’t been there very long. I am only posting so that any family or friends that read this know that as hard as it is probably to believe he looked peaceful. It was one of the roughest days of my life one that will stay with me forever but I have been praying for his family since Friday afternoon. He sounds like he was an amazing man. Im sorry for him that he chose this solution for whatever was going on in his life.

  39. Former student's mom   November 7, 2011 at 6:31 am

    I just found out. I am speechless and beyond sad. We have lost a teacher like no other. Rest in peace Mr Lafave, you will never be forgotten.

  40. Ann   November 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I am Lee

  41. Just sayin..   November 7, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I agree with anonymous. I seriously doubt he intended for any children to have seen him (childrens museum). If you are that despondent, you aernt thinking rationally and that is THAT. No one can be so dedicated to children in his job as a teacher and have such a fan club then exit purposely trying to hurt anyone. Its called pain. Depression. Its unfortunate for all so lets just say a prayer for him and his family, friends, and students.

  42. A.MOLDEN   November 7, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I am really shocked!and still in a daze! Mr. Lafave had the attitude of an adventurous, vivacious, and light hearted man. He was always smiling or cracking a joke. I remember when ever he saw me he would ask for "the delicious banana bread" I had made for him last year. Mr. Lafave had a really big heart! He was always looking for a new "adventure" to share in class. He loved his students and was eager for them to learn . We will definitily miss his energetic style of teaching. I think we all should continue to pray for his family and to learn from this tragedy! GOD is our mentor and HE is the only choice for a better way of life! Mr. Lafave, beleived in GOD, but chose a" permanent solution for a tempoary problem". I know that he is in a peaceful place with his own understanding, while the LORD forgives him. I only wish I made the banana bread sooner! We LOVE Mr.Lafave and always will!! GOD BLESS ALL HIS STUDENTS , FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!

  43. fallbrook resident   November 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Im very sad to hear this!! He sounds like he was an awesome teacher. What school did he teach at?? My thoughts and prayers are with the family friends and also his students!!!

  44. observant   November 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

    LIZ COULTER, YOUR LACK OF COMPASSION AND LOGIC IS ASTOUNDING. When someone is suicidal they are not thinking clearly. This explains why he did this act across from the children’s museum.

    SECONDLY, HOW IN THE WORLD DID YOU MAKE THE GIGANTIC MENTAL LEAP FROM SUICIDE TO STANDOFF? OMG, YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS IS SCARY OR YOU ARE ON DRUGS. Seriously, do you really "feel my anger swelling more towards him each day"? I suggest you seek help.

    You can tell from the comments that he was a good man. Give him a break. Let him rest in peace.

  45. His Oldest Brother   November 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I want to express my gratitude for the overwhelming support of so many who have commented; my faith in humanity has been restored by your support and refrain from judgement. I am most profoundly sorry for the grief and trauma being experienced by his sons, his students, his friends and personal relations, and to the two unfortunate ladies that discovered this tragic moment in a life. We his surviving family are mystified and struggling to find understanding, as are many of you as well. I feel your sympathy reaching out to us across the country and between the lines. Thank you for remembering my brother with fairness and kindness. No one who knew him knew of the depths of his soul pain. He was intensely private, and we weren’t allowed to see how he was hurting. This is how he chose to deal with his pain. My hope and prayer is that none of his students will come to see this as a positve way to deal with life’s problems. Adrain was an exceptional person, as so many have correctly noted. The son of a minister, (I myself being one also) I have no doubt that the caring and humane person he was was formed in part from his upbringing. As a child, I remember my brother as having one of the most sensitive souls of anyone I knew! My family has always reached out to try and help people; I see by your comments who knew him that he carried on that fine tradition! But implicit in this way of life, often the helper gets used to helping others but not used to receiving help themselves. I only wished that we had not lived on the opposite ends of the country, so that we could have spent more time with him and been aware of his needs. It is so important to have a support system and base in one’s life. No man is an island, and no man should be left to walk alone! As to the "why" he chose this, perhaps none of us will ever know, but in an attempt to help, especially his students understand and find closure, a few personal observations may be in order. Our family went through some very hard times when Adrain was young; he was in his very vulnerable and impressive years, but he had no control over the events that passed over us, and they marked him, I am sure. Being the oldest of his brothers, I was in a better, more mature place to process things. Adrian’s O/C behavior has been noted more than once; I don’t doubt that to some extent it was a by-product of painful times as a child. He grew up with an overwhelming need to have control of his fate. It was his great strength, driving him to excellence; it was also his private demon, from which he could find no escape! He was also a loner, a trait common to we LaFave males, but not neccessarily a good trait. People need people to substantiate and validate themselves. He was also a romanticist of the first order, thus his love of history. He loved the history of place; he loved the Old West. I think in the end this was his way of becoming part of it, but, oh, how we wish little brother, you had chosen to stay! The world lost an excellent man this week, and I lost a brother and my children an uncle and my parents a son and his sons a father; we have inherited your pain, your confusion, and the burden of your soul! I could only wish that you had indeed found peace, for you have left us with none! Love you, Tim

  46. Ally Cote   November 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I am one of Mr.LaFaves students…i am still in shock. Mr.LaFave was one of the best teachers i have ever had! He is the only one that took time and effort to put a plan in place and help me conquer the things i have always struggled with in class,and it was really working. In honor of him i’m going to try to keep it going all year. Mr.LaFave was just an amazing teacher he would tell us about all the adventures he had as a kid and made learning so much fun! i am constantly reminded of him because i see his name on my homework and on my binder…he will be greatly missed by his students,friends,and family. Love, Ally

  47. S. Lytle   November 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

    My sincere condolences to the LaFave family and the teaching community. Mr. Lafave was not only a great person, but an excellent teacher. My family came to know Lee at Mary Fay Pendleton seven years ago. We admired, respected and loved him; he did so much for his students. Lee gave his GATE students many opportunities they would never imagined doing, i.e., the opportunity to fly an airplane, escavate a whale fossil, or hunt for tourmeline fragments in the earth.

    Lee, our family will miss you and I just don’t have the words to let my daughter know about your passing.

  48. RIP Lee   November 7, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Liz Coulter – Don’t try to make yourself look better after slamming this wonderful man who was in so much pain…

    "as it was so chilly and damp, I considered taking him something hot to eat when he woke up…"

    Spare us your self-promoting hype.

    Rest in peace, Lee. You were a tremendously gifted teacher.

  49. MyView   November 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I personally did not know Mr. Lafave, but from what I have read in the previous comments, he sounds like he was a wonderful teacher with much insight and a caring person to family & friends.
    The comments written by ANONYMOUS (Comment #35) and JUST SAYIN.. (Comment #41), mirrored my own thoughts about Mr. Lafave’s reported taking of his own life, place of death, etc. Unless you personally have ever been feeling that "lost" (and I hope that none of you ever do), don’t judge the gentleman for his choice. For those of you who think that Mr. Lafave was being selfish, just look at yourself right now – Who’s the one thinking about himself/herself because someone’s death is making their life difficult? None of us ever truly knows everything that is going on with someone; even those closest to him/her. All each of us can do in this life is try the best that we can to make our life and the lives of those around us meaningful & joyful and when life gets tough to try the best we can to get through it. Whatever brought Mr. Lafave to this point is between him and his loving God.
    I’m sorry that this world lost someone like Mr. Lafave. I hope that his legacy of inspiration and caring in the classroom lives on in his students. Remember the good stuff, learn from the not so good stuff. Hopefully, we all remember to be compassionate and try to see things through another person’s eyes; not just our own.

    Wishing Mr. Lafave’s family and friends good memories of their loved one.
    "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
    -Thomas Campbell, "Hallowed Ground"

  50. Vicki Gyr   November 7, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I am new to working at his school, But I will say a man with so many who loved him will be missed. My kids brought me joy its not there fault, My spirit needed to be free from pain, So looking out one sunny day I looked up to the sky and flew way up high. I was a man a teacher now I am a angel who will always be around.

  51. In Pain also   November 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    To all those that want to criticize this man, I think you better look in your closet. You can shout all you want, in an attempt to make yourself look better that you really are, but what if your demons were on display?

    Would you want to be shown the same compassion that you now through in this mans direction? Shame on all of you, ‘UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN THERE OR KNOW THE PAIN”, then it is best to keep your opinions to yourself. Karma may just unleash those dark secrets that hide in your closet and then who will be there for you? who will be there to show you compassion?

    God Bless this whole family and from one who deals with the same issues as this, remember, there is always help out there for your demons. God Bless.

  52. Catherine Shabestari   November 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Shame on those above who have criticized Lee in any manner, especially MIKE N. You have not walked in his shoes, nor have you ever obviously lost anyone to suicide, or you would have never made such a heartless, thoughtless comment publicly where his family and friends could read it. The circumstances of hid departure are confusing, frustrating, and heartbreaking but Lee was a very intelligent, sensitive, caring man who shared his vast knowledge with many, especially his students. No matter what you think, thought or felt about this man or this tragedy, unkind words do nothing to help those who are grieving this loss. Freedom of speech does not give you the right to be cruel. We need to reach out to those who are grieving and learn how to reach out to those who, like our friend Lee, are in pain, depressed, and helpless or lonely. That is what will help us heal.

  53. S.   November 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    To Tim (oldest Brother) I am so sorry for your loss to you and your family. Thank You for telling his students about making the right choices and not to consider suicide as a easy way out. My son was in Mr. LaFave class this year and has asked me if this was his fault. I asked my son why he would think that and he said because he was talking way to much in class and that Mr. Lafave seemed upset. I keep telling him that what has happened is NOBODY"S fault. young adolescents are going to feel confused about what has happened, they will be needing much love and support from parents and teachers. Mr Rhine has grief counselors for next week and has provided families with his personal phone number as a way of support. Tuesday at school their will be many emotions shared and expressed. I am taking the day off to support my son and his peers. Fallbrook is a small but strong community and together we will learn and grow from this saddening experience. To all Mr. Lafave students his brother said it best "My hope and prayer is that none of his students will come to see this as a positive way to deal with life’s problems." If ever you feel that maybe this was your fault IT WAS NOT!! If you should feel lost and alone please seek help confined in someone PEOPLE DO CARE!! Mr. Lafve many will never understand and only you know why ….so with that we will let you Rest in Paradise.

  54. Sad   November 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Healing Begin

    by Randall Benzel

    You were my brother, you were my friend
    I don’t understand how it came to this end.
    Life seems so cruel when it turns against us
    even when we created most of the problems that haunt us.
    We have nothing but questions with no end in sight,
    when God calls one home to his eternal light.
    Our thoughts leave us empty and feeling alone,
    we can’t understand God, why you’ve taken them home.
    What comfort we find, comes only with time,
    as we try to repair our lives from despair.

    We ask you O Lord to help us believe,
    So our hearts and our minds may begin to conceive
    how only Your way is the path to our end,
    and with Your guiding light may our healing begin.

    The phone calls you made late into the night,
    were your cry for help from your troubles and fright.
    Would we have done anything different to reach out to you,
    there’s just no way of knowing what only God knew.
    I can’t help but wonder along with those left behind,
    how our enduring love couldn’t save you this time.
    Not a day will go by that we don’t think of you,
    and how different it could be if only we knew.

    We ask you O Lord to help us believe,
    So our hearts and our minds may begin to conceive
    how only Your way is the path to our end,
    and with Your guiding light may our healing begin.

    Only you knew the reasons for your depth of despair,
    but I sit and I pray that you knew we all cared.
    Your death although tragic has given us light,
    that you no longer suffer and struggle to fight
    the demons that held you so strong in their grasp,
    that the good Lord decided to take you at last.
    If we could turn back the pages in time,
    to a place you held dear in your mind,
    we’d look to the heavens and ask God above,
    to take all your pain and replace it with love.
    Love for the lives we pray you held dear,
    your family, your friends, who always were here.
    We can’t visit the future or return to the past,
    But our love for you will forever last.

    We ask you O Lord to help us believe,
    so our hearts and our minds may begin to conceive
    how only Your way is the path to our end,
    and with Your guiding light may our healing begin.

    When the end has come for those we hold dear,
    is it our place to question God for the answers to our fears?
    Is it too much to ask for the pain to subside,
    so that our heart’s no longer troubled and our soul is alive.
    Our questions to the Lord, we only pray will be heard,
    so that we begin to understand thru His deeds and His word.

    You brought us together as we lay you to rest,
    our lives changed forever but still we are blessed.
    Blessed from your soul with God’s love on high,
    we look to the heavens and know you’re nearby.
    We love you our friend and we always will try,
    to picture your face with love in your eyes.
    For this is the look that we’ll remember the most,
    as you go to rest with The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

    We ask you O Lord to help us believe,
    so our hearts and our minds may begin to conceive
    how only Your way is the path to our end,
    and with Your guiding light may our healing begin.

  55. Hope   November 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Jesus Christ is the answer to all fear, pain, loneliness and despair. Though He died on a cross, He rose from the dead, earning the power over all sin and death, He lives and can set anyone free from sin… be it their own or someone else’s committed against them. We must only surrender our will to Him.

    Romans 5:1-4

    Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.3 And not only [that], but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

    When we surrender to Christ, we stand in His grace… His power… His Glory!

    My prayers are for all who are struggling with this painful tragedy. His family, friends and the children and their parents who have had to address these very difficult issues.

  56. STUDENT   November 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    We all miss Mr.Lafave but we cant think its any of our faults or wonder why he did it because we will never know what his state of mind was or what his reasons were. We cant be mad and think how you could have changed it because there was no way for anyone to change it. It happened and we shouldnt blame ourselves or eachother for this happening. For him to do something this drastic was out of anyones control. He was a great teacher and he never seemed like he would do this, he was so happy at school when i would see him. Maybe thats why he spent so much time at school because it was the one place he was happy. Its so sad that we lost such a great passionate teacher, because in his class ive done better than I have in the past years. He was so alert and always notified me when I was having trouble with something. Unlike my other teachers in the past he actually cared how his students did, he would explain every detail a million times over just to know that we understood what he was teaching. He left this world in the one place he loved to be….. in old town. he always said how much he loved the west and all the things that had to do with it, and thats more than a lot of people can say. He had a passion for something that he loved to do when most people do something they vever wanted to do. Im inspired by his passion for what he did and just wish i could have talked to him just one more time just to get to know him better. He was a great man that will never be forgotten….We have to remember him for who he was and not what he did…… R.I.P Mr. Lafave you will be missed always………..

  57. EDWARD TIGER   November 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm


  58. caln8tve   November 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Rest In Peace Mr. Lafave. You will be greatly missed by all who knew you, loved you and the many lives that you touched.

  59. Last Year's Student's Mom   November 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I first want to thank Tim for enlightening us to Mr. LaFave’s background. The thought of "why" or the "what if I had done something to help" will not plague us nearly as much. I, like the majority of writers on this site, would like for your family to know how special of a person he was and how just in nine months of teaching my daughter how caring he was of all of his students. He had such a passion for teaching that we rarely see.

    I want his boys to know that he loved you so so much. He often talked of you to his students and myself. I’m sorry he choose this route for relief, but know that he loved you greatly.

    For those that provided criticism and hateful words on this site, you ought to be ashamed. If you were face-to-face with his family that are reading these comments, you’d never say these things. Just because you are in front of a computer screen, doesn’t make it right.

    God Bless the LaFave family! Sincerely, Janet Cusimano

  60. Janet   November 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mr Lafave. However, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his students and friends. I pray that your pain will be short. May God Bless You All.

  61. Sad student and family   November 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Rest In Peace Mr. Lafave. You touched many lives and helped to mold many children. Our prayers are with your family at this time. Soar in the heavens.

  62. Michelle Murphy   November 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I am so sad for our community to lose such a wonderful man. I hope the Lafave family knows what a positive impact Mr. Lafave had on his students and those who worked with him. What you are reading on these posts is such a small fraction of how many loved him.

    I hope that the comments on this forum will stay supportive as those who loved him are enduring much pain as they get thru this terrible loss.

    My prayers and thoughts are with the the Lafave family. May God be with you.

  63. comments about feelings   November 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I am so very sorry for the family that is left here on earth to try to deal as best they can with the grief of the loss of a loved one. This is such a tragic event for them and also for the young impressionable minds of the children who Mr LaFave touched – and from the comments, I see it was in so many positive ways.

    Although, it is human nature to have different beliefs about suicide, and more importantly a suicide conducted in public, close to where children are everyday.

    Therefore, I also feel sorry for Liz Coulter from the Children’s Museum who said she is angry with him, and what right do others have to blame her for these feelings?? Just as the overwhelming feelings of depression were with him, she has a right to express how she feels and doesn’t deserve to be told she is "hateful" or that anyone who has a different opinion should feel "ashamed", or some of you that lash out to say others don’t know what depression is….how do you know what they have been through???? I say shame on you for not tolerating the feelings of others about how they feel about this tragic event.

    Along with my deep sorrow for the family, I too feel anger over this for our children sake – because teachers are role models in our childrens eyes are hearts. And remember that Mr. Rhine did acknowledge in his email that feelings of anger along with sadness are NORMAL. So please stop trying to make others feel worse than they already do.

    We forgive, because our Christian GOD forgave us, but it is still ok to feel anger along with overwhelming sorrow.

    I do pray for the family of Mr. LaFave, and for all of our children.

  64. Kathy   November 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Lee will be missed by so many of us. He will remain in our hearts. Such a good man and large talent. We love you.

  65. matt   November 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Everyone watch the last 20 seconds of this video he made a couple weeks ago. Very odd… he ended his life in a rocking chair and just watch the end of these video

  66. A 51 yr old Grandma   November 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Matt, I connected some dots on Lee after someone posted his facebook pages on the Temecula patch, and watched all of his videos. In those videos he always had a hotel and a old rocking chair and said he was happiest sitting in one of them.
    If anyone cares to look up the Temecula Patch and the article there you wll see the links to his facebooks whch show all of his fabulous videos but with the rocking chairs and his sense of lonliness in each of them.
    I have to wonder why this man never met his nephews? Never had others with him, like his sons on his travels? There is only a slight glimpse of his mexican beauty in a video shot in Baja California, all of these recent.
    So one has to ask, if he had so many friends, and had family, how come he lists 17 friends on his facebook, and no pictures of videos of any of them?
    We can understand the rocking chair now because there is one in most of his videos with him sitting in it, and making statements under the video about his use of the rocking chairs.
    Also this youtube video you send us to Matt…Wherein he makes the following statement—–site of a great personal significance and this was on October 23, 11. It was almost like he was giving people hints and no one got it eh? Very strange indeed.

    Uploaded by leelafave on Oct 23, 2011

    "The historic El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon Village is an extraodinary site of great personal significance."

  67. Lisa Comerford   November 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I enjoyed working with Lee and I always appreciated the fact that he got my sense of humor, at least he was kind enough to always act like he did. He was a very interesting person and I lived vicarously thru him as he would describe his travels. Lee will also be missed at the Don Dornon games as their greatest announcer who gave up his entire day for the kids and families for many years. I hope we can take a moment to let our own family and friends know how much they mean to us and how much we love them while they are able to hear us express our feelings. I wish that Lee could have known how much he meant to so many. Wishing peace beyond all understanding to all of his family and friends. Lee will be missed.

  68. Emily Bashara   November 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Mr.Lafave was one of my favorite teachers when he was at Mary Fay Pendleton School for my third grade he was the coolest teacher i miss you!!!!

  69. melanie buffington   November 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    i am so sad to hear that my friend Lee was the man that took his life. I am so surprised, he had so many great plans for his future. I know he knew the Lord, so I know he is in his Maker’s pressence. As far as where he decided to rest, he loved old town, he loved children, he loved people. I believe he was not alone, he was with people. Wonderful man… My heart is broken my friend. You will be missed…

  70. melanie   November 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    51 year old grandma, Lee loved pictures of himself and scenery. Like his brother said he had a difficult childhood, he struggled with his divorce and could not seem to move past the loss of his boys and family. He was and has always been a loner, he liked going alone so he could meet new people, he loved people, all walks of life. His creative soul was so fun and free of judgement to all. He walked to his own drummer and he was very much at peace with this. He danced and was always welcomed to every event and party because of his wonderful sweet funny nature. Lee would never hurt a fly and was where he was because that was him being part of history. Fantastic tacher loving man, he was alone by his choice. To his older brother he spoke often of his family with kindness and love even his father. He was thrilled his son was living near him and was waiting to have a better relationship with his son living on the East coast. He is at peace, he will be missed and he was loved.

  71. A Friend   November 9, 2011 at 12:06 am

    To Lee’s Brother and Family:

    We bought our house from him almost ten years ago. He was a kind soul. He tried his best to be the best on the outside, but there were always things working against him that he couldn’t control.

    I lost my oldest brother (the same way but involving a train instead of a gun) about six years ago.

    I think this act is without rational thought, and I know that if he knew what impact it would have on his family, friends, and students..that he would never have wanted to hurt anyone.

    My prayers go out to you. I hope you can find peace in this difficult time.

  72. to the students   November 9, 2011 at 4:10 am

    Are you struck by the hypocrisy of Mr. LaFave’s actions? The same man who would have sincerely listened to your problems and encouraged you to find the help you need did not do the same for himself. If you had been in deep despair, you know he would have told you to have hope for better days ahead. You never know what’s around the corner, right?

    You know this, but I want to tell you at this time that no role model is perfect or even capable of walking through this life making all the right decisions. The bible tells us there is no one perfect, not even one (Romans 3:11.) We all hurt people, we all make mistakes. Parents, teachers, friends…you will be let down in some way by all of them.

    But we do have someone who will never let us down, never abandon us. In fact, he tells us "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." He is Jesus. We were made to follow him, not our own ways. Let him wash away your bad choices and get you back on the right track, and then "cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7)

    It is no coincidence Jesus Christ was often called teacher. But also Lord, Healer, Maker, Redeemer, First and Last, All in All (and more.) Jesus blessed Mr LaFave with a great ability and passion to teach. I’m glad you were blessed to have him for the time you did. It was not his intention to hurt any of you.

  73. Marqui   November 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Somewhere in Time lived a cowboy, a man of the earth, an adventurer, a scholar, who had a story to tell and lesson to teach.
    His life, with a tragic ending and a message left indelible in the hearts and memories of those he touched, will never be forgotten. Even a stranger could not forget him, he was cut from a traditional, and now, rare cloth. A man of character and grit, is lost forever.

    He was a romantic, a poet, with an eye for beauty, history, and the ways of old. Embracing the youth and infusing them with inspiration, sharing with them the intellectual lens through which to view the world, he leaves his mark.

    A man with character, soulful, magical, and dynamic he walked with us and then he left.

    Judgment will be harsh upon his way with so many wondering, why. He had so much good to share, he was magnetic. Why did he have to go so soon and so abruptly with so much to do.
    I think he time traveled from the past to visit the future-now. His mission was to deliver a message in the shape of a mystery, a puzzle to be solved. We wish we knew more, we wish we could have done more. We hate that he is gone.

    The wheel in the sky keeps on turing and he didn

  74. Mother of our children   November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for all the heart felt caring commits. Our two boys (21 and 25) are in California dealing with so much so quickly. The rest of the family are still on the east coast, keeping in touch with one another during this difficult time. The boys really need and appreciate your support and kindness you have already shared. This is an overwhelming time for all of us. It is my hope that Lee has found the peace that he has been searching for, for so many years. I know he found peace in reaching out to others. As much as some of you may be hurting, know that you were a part of the smile he wore and kept him going. May peace be with us all.

  75. H. Spataro   November 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Four years ago, our son was one of the lucky students to have Mr Lafave as his 3rd grade teacher. We got to know a teacher who was amazing, caring, inspiring. I became friends with a man who loved his sons (he told me so many times), saw greatness in every student and always had time for others. I admired a man who showed me what real dedication is, who had a rare gift for teaching and who had much, much to give. If there is a Heaven, Mr Lafave is in. Teaching. He left behind some really big boots to fill in.

  76. Mark LaFave   November 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks Marqui for "Somewhere in Time lived a cowboy" This is Adrians next older brother Mark LaFave. For the first time in the past five days you have filled my eyes with tears. You have written my brothers eulogy so, so insightfully. To Adrian, Nate and Zack we love you blood of our blood.

  77. Temecula Mom   November 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    My husband has been repairing a building in Old Town right next door to the hotel where Mr. Lafave passed. He was there Friday and called me after he realized what had happened. Even though we didn’t know him, we were both very sad. I find my self in tears over this tragedy. I wish I had the honor of knowing him.

    I am so very sorry to the family, friends, students and their parents. You all now have one amazing angel watching over you.

  78. Carol Hayward   November 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    This comment is being written especially for Lee’s brother, sons, cousin, other family members and loved ones.
    First of all, I’d like to express my deepest, heartfelt sympathy to all of you.
    I have felt compelled to write this because I want you to know what an extraordinary man Lee was. I had the honor of working with Lee when he was a first year teacher at La Paloma. I was the Assistant Principal and we had a very tight knit “family” there. On my first formal observation, Lee demonstrated knowledge of content but his delivery was very slow. We had a long discussion afterwards about pacing. On my next observation Lee’s lesson was on point. By the thrid observation Lee’s teaching was outstanding! I have never seen a new teacher develop as fast as Lee. From there on, the rest is history. Lee poured his heart and soul into his lessons and his students. His enthusiasm and positive energy was a welcome addition to his grade level team. I remember him telling the Assistant Superintendent that we were all happy at La Paloma and it was true…
    Lee was:
    Very, very funny
    A gifted teacher
    and an old fashioned gentleman.
    deeply feeling

    To his boys I say ” be proud of your Dad. He was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed by many.

  79. Micky And Vanessa Henry   November 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Mr Lafave was my 4th grade teacher.i am now a sophomore. he was my favorite teacher. hes such an amazing guy, it breaks my and my mom’s heart (Vanessa) to hear about this. My mom was his helper in the class and they would hang out a lot. Mr Lafave was always there for me. i remember when me and my mom would go to his class early in the 4th grade and he would have pop-tarts and coffee on the desk for us. the last time i got to see him was when i was probably in 7th grade. He has always been on my mind and to hear this just rips my and my mom’s heart into shreads. Our Prayers go out to his family. and if anyone out there knows if there will be a funeral please email me at [email protected]. it would mean soo much. Mr. lafave we will always love you.thank you for everything

  80. Vanessa H   November 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    If anyone out there knows if there will be a funeral or anything can u please contact me at (760)213-5062

  81. Grateful Mom   November 10, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    May your spirit live.
    May you spend millions of years
    You who love Thebes
    Sitting with your face to the north wind
    Your eyes beholding happiness.

    (written on the gravestone of Howard Carter, discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun, November 4, 1922.)

    Rest in Peace, friend.

  82. A friend   November 11, 2011 at 12:04 am

    When I lost my brother and had to deal and understand, I felt this website and group therapy was very helpful and I wanted to pass it on…I found many friends and kindred spirits through talking and working through things…

    It is SOSL-suvivors of suicide loss in case the link doesn’t work well with the news web page.

    My prayers are with you, as are many others who pray for your peace and recovery.


  83. From Gunnar, 5th grade Student of Mr. La Fave   November 11, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Mr. Lafave was a good teacher. I want to say thanks for being a fun teacher. My favorite memories about him are that he gave knuckle bumps everyday, he had building blocks in class,we had animals in class, but my favorite part in class was when we lost a snake and had to search for it (someone in class found it. I want to say sorry to his wonderful family, that I never got to meet. He must have been a fun dad. I pray for Mr. La Fave and his family everday that Lord will bring comfort to you. I hope that your heart heals when you think about him and what a great man he was. I really loved him, he was my favorite teacher!

  84. Been there....   November 11, 2011 at 11:53 am

    He told people he "was in a bad place", used a .22 gun, and did this in a public place – he was crying out for help! No one heard him.

    If someone wants to kill themselves, usually they’ll use a more powerful gun (to make sure) and not do it in public with people all around. Maybe he was hoping he’d meet someone who would make an impact on him, talk him out of it? Remember the scene in "It’s a Wonderful Life", when James Stewart was about to kill himself by jumping off the bridge? Instead the "Angel", Clarence jumped and Stewart jumped in to save him. Where was the Angel for Mr. Lafave? It must have been destiny.

    Who knows, it’s too late, he chose to do this horrible act. It is a rare human who has never considered suicide, even more rare are the ones who actually do it. Most realize the pain and anger they will inflict on loved ones and won’t do that to the people they love. He premeditated this, he knew the impact and pain it would cause, it was not a spur of the moment thing, suicide just isn’t, some people think about it for years. He must have known the inspiration and help he gave to his students, and decided to take his life away instead of continuing "living for others". The greatest gift one can give is living for others and the worst thing one can do is kill themselves, it’s not our choice, it’s God’s choice when we die. It is a waste and a very sad thing, but at this point, nothing can be done. Except to accept what cannot be changed.

    Suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem.

  85. Cherie   November 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Lee and Elsa and I taught summer school as a trio over a decade ago, then Lee and I worked at MFPendleton together for five years. He d.j.’ed at my daughter’s beach wedding. He flew me through the sky in a sesna twice. He became a friend extraordinaire. We shared a mutual love of the movie Tombstone, and a love for literature, in general. Since moving to other schools, we saw much less of one another, but 2 yrs. ago, with his truck, he helped me retrieve my daughter’s rocker from the house she abandoned when she moved away to Alaska. At my house for dinner a few weeks later, he saw the rocker beside another I’d painted antique purple, and he asked, "Can’t you just picture us rocking on a porch when we’re old?" The way he went out of this world–in a rocker–has me mourning, along with so many others who knew and loved him, this special man with a pure and special spirit. The happiest day I ever saw for Lee was when Nathan came to see him after many years of distance, which had weighed so heavily on him. Valerie and I were in the same teachers’ cohort @ CSUSM, I realized yrs. later. Lee and I had a soul connection and I could feel his pain from miles away, whether he was in Bonsall or France. I believe one day in paradise, you and I will rock on a porch in paradise. Sorry, soul brother, that we drifted apart this past year. My bad. Song 1 on the "Sigh No More" cd by Mumford & Sons is what I listen to for comfort these days. The whole cd seems a message from beyond from Lee. Tim, thank you for posting, as well as all the other family & friends & students who knew and will always love Lee. When teaching, I always use Vincent as a case in point when telling students to have hope and never give up on themselves. Never in my wildest imagination did I think Lee, like Vincent, would chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but grace and love will eventually heal all our hearts: "Serve God, love me and mend. This is not the end. Live unbruised, we are friends. I’m sorry. I’m sorry." -Mumford & Sons

  86. From Gunnar, 5th grade Student of Mr. La Fave   November 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Mr. Lafave was a good teacher. I want to say thanks for being a fun teacher. My favorite memories about him are that he gave knuckle bumps everyday, he had building blocks in class,we had animals in class, but my favorite part in class was when we lost a snake and had to search for it (someone in class found it. I want to say sorry to his wonderful family, that I never got to meet. He must have been a fun dad. I pray for Mr. La Fave and his family everday that Lord will bring comfort to you. I hope that your heart heals when you think about him and what a great man he was. I really loved him, he was my favorite teacher!

  87. supernatural   November 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve noticed that nearly all of the comments here are coming from upscale white people…..homeschoolers, perhaps?

  88. Disgusted with Supernatural   November 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Let me correct you…the majority of the comments are coming from KIDS, parents, teachers, friends. I know most of these names and they are NOT the upscale white people…homeschoolers? NO…students who had Lee as a teacher as far back as 3rd and 4th grade when they were at Mary Fay…a Fallbrook PUBLIC school.

  89. Donna Sue   November 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I last spoke with Lee on Tuesday, Nov. 1st, 7:01 PM. I was his housekeeper, and we were talking about me coming back in to clean his condo. I did not detect anything in our conversation that would have made me think that he was close to something so tragic. We rode horses together several times this past summer, and he talked on and on about all the things he was excited about. I will miss him and always wonder why he didn’t reach out for more help. He appreciated this beautiful world in his unique way, and I can’t believe that he would choose to leave it willingly. I am sad…

  90. To Disgusted   November 13, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Mr. LaFave actually catered primarily to the children of military service members. He had a pulse on the hardships that many children face when a parent is gone or an uncertain move is pending. The Department of Defense publishes military pay charts for the general public and if you think we’re wealthy (and predominantly white), you are as wrong as your post. Do some research next time before you post.

  91. To Supernatural   November 13, 2011 at 4:14 am

    I wrote this post for comment #87; I apologize “disgusted with supernatural” as I was not addressing your comment. When my son was a student of Mr LaFave, I was the room mom. There were no affluent kids in his class; there was however a melting pot of diverse ethnicities, cultures, and religious beliefs. I read to the class every Wednesday and bribed them with some goody at the end if they were quiet and participated in the discussion afterwards. I also would give the kids their spelling tests often because Mr LaFave wanted to break up the monotony of having the kids listen to his voice all the time. I would sometimes engage him in playful banter and he would try hard to remain professional and not laugh. For my birthday, Mr. LaFave bought a copy of “The Fartiste” and had the class sign it and give it to me. I finally got to read a funny, entertaining book to the class that was full of playful banter. NOW in regard to your comments,
    Mr. LaFave actually catered primarily to the children of military service members. He had a pulse on the hardships that many children face when a parent is gone or an uncertain move is pending. The Department of Defense publishes military pay charts for the general public and if you think we’re wealthy (and predominantly white), you are incorrect.

  92. S.   November 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Supernatural……….Not all students were White, my son is Mexican and was one of Mr.Lafave students. Wow you have a sick mind and what does Race have to do with this????

  93. Andrea LaFave   November 13, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I am Adrian’s niece, although I haven’t seen him in many years, he was still my uncle and will always be. I have and am walking in the shoes of depression and sadness. I am so sad that he chose this as his only option, but only he knows why and as his family we are all left w/ many unanswered questions that will now never know the answers to. To the few of those who have left some questionable messages on this page of "remembrance", I am sad for you too. To be so ignorant is sad, and obviously your head is in the clouds! He was a kind gentle man, who loved his students, friends and family!!! To his students, friends and family..please know this is not your fault and there are always ways to seek help to avoid this hurt we are all feeling! We all thank you for the wonderful memories and comments about my uncle, it does help. We love you Uncle Adrian, and may you rest in peace! luv you, Andi

  94. Daisy   November 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Mr.LaFave was my 3rd grade teacher. I am now in 8th grade and this was really sad for everyone in my class that had him as a teacher. I miss you mr.lafave and we all love you.

  95. Moe   November 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Lee was a good human being who suffered and I wish I knew more of what was troubling him and that therefore I might have helped him. At the time I thought I knew too much and did not want to know more. Would I really have made strong efforts to help? We do not think that anyone who has a life full of joy with travels, photography, and happy in his work would have such sorrow to end it all. Lee spend time in my home in Spain and though I learned from him of his life I never suspected that he needed support to give him hope in life. He tried to enjoy life and he did in its moments but when he was in despair we did not know enough to go all out to help. May God forgive me for my failure?

  96. Kathleen   November 17, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Moe, lee loved visiting you in spain! He talked of you fondly and of enjoying your company, also of your pain in the loss of your wife. As he helped me with the loss of my fiancee. None of us close to him can understand fully and only try to guess. He loved sharing his travels with videos and I remember how excited he was the last time he visited you! You were a happy place for him.

  97. Reflections.....   November 18, 2011 at 3:14 am

    As I watched your Youtube video, "The Running of the Bulls in Spain," I couldn’t help reflect that this is how you lived your life—always seeking adventure; your love of diverse cultures; your love of travel to places near and far—living life with purpose and passion—all of which you brought to your classroom and shared with friends. I treasure the postcards you sent from exotic places. I will miss the ones that I will never receive. Love to you, my friend, and to your family.

  98. Jenifer from Maryland   November 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I stumbled onto Lee’s death notice while searching the Riverside Coroner’s Press Releases. At the age of 7, I found my grandmother hanging in the basement of her home. It was a truly unforgettable moment. As I grew older the image of my grandmother forced me to acknowledge how short the healthy, sound years on this planet really are. I have forced myself not to squander my days focusing on trivial details and incidents. How lucky the students are to have had such an enthusiastic and caring teacher. Maybe some of Lee’s energy and love can be passed on to others by those people who were touched by his presence.

  99. Anonymous   November 19, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Referring to comment #87-supernatural

    I want to know how you could tell through these comments that we must ALL be upscale white people, let’s just pretend your right (which you aren’t) what the h…. does race have to do with it??? Also have you read any of these comments? Most of them are from his students, the parents of his students or colleagues so why I ask would you make a comment like maybe we are all homeschoolers he taught at a school. Get your facts straight and know what your talking about before you open your mouth and look and sound like the fool you are!!!

  100. A Friend   November 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Lee’s memorial service today was a beautiful testament to the many lives he touched. He has two beautiful sons who carry on his love and fire on this earth. I met Zach for the first time today and was struck by the brilliance, fire, love in him. I am so sorry father and son did not reunite before Nov. 4th, but it is a comfort to see that the very best of Lee lives on in his sons. Lee’s soul is free now, and some day, Zach and Nate, you’ll reunite with him, but in the meantime, I know he is so proud of you both. The beauty in both of you makes me know there were sound reasons for loving the beautiful soul in Lee.

  101. Dear Nate and Zach,   November 19, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Today I attended the memorial service given to honor your father and all that he has so generously given to others—his caring, knowledge, experience, creativity, encouragement and love of learning. It was truly wonderful to hear both of you tell all of us how much you love your father and how proud you are to call him "dad". Today I was reminded how vitally important it is to express love to those we love and how important it is to love ourselves. I count myself lucky to have known Lee and to have shared a friendship. May you find comfort in the closeness of friends and family. May God bless you, and keep you always.

  102. A friend of Lee's brother   November 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

    My husband and I attend Lee’s brother, Tim’s church back in N.Y. and we just wanted to tell you we were very sorry for your loss. Losing a family member is the most difficult thing any of us can face, and we just wanted the rest of Lee’s family to know you are in our thoughts.

  103. Ashley Loomis   December 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    When mr. Lafave first started teaching at la Paloma in fallbrook- I was in his first class.he was my 6th grade teacher. I am now 24 years old & can remember him clear as day. I thought whoa a teacher that’s a man!?!? He was my first male teacher & I have to admit I may have had a slight crush on the man. I cannot believe he is gone. & gone in such a terrifyingly terrible way. So sad. So tragic. Unbelievable & unfathomable. :'( RIP MR LAFAVE- YOU WERE ONE OF THE GREATS! Gone to soon & never will you be forgotten

  104. Ashley Perez   December 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Mr. Lafave was my 6th grade teacher and I will tell ya man had a heart and cared so much for his students. Im 24 now and still when he would see my Tia Mary he would ask her how im doing and tell me hi n wish us the best…How many teachers do that now? Whatever made him do what he did it’s cause he had a big heart and put his feelings into everything and loved with everything he had. Everytime i was slipping up in school phone call to my Tia Mary :/ i was made but he only did it for my own good. Mr Lafave If i could see you one last time i would hug you and tell you THANK YOU for everything you did for me and that you were the best teacher and made learning fun haha i still remember you had pedro’s mom or grandma come in and show us how to make home made tortilla’s that was awesome, my heart goes out to your family and you students cause we were all your lil family…p.s and i didnt throw that pencil that u made me stay in class for but i did take something out a backpack and put it into someone else’s SORRYYYY…love you mr 😉

  105. Ashley Loomis   December 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm
    (have you guys seen this video posted by mr lafave just days before he left us? )

  106. no name   June 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    it makes no sense.

  107. Route 66   February 13, 2013 at 5:26 am

    As the phrase goes- Remember him for how he lived…not, how he died.

    And yes, had anyone known he was in depressive state- anyone with means and compassion couldhave helped-or, could have formed a positive influencing circle to assist him…stop and listen to a friend or another person who may be reaching out -for help…!

    Ted Nugent is totally FRIED IN THE MEMBRANE…!


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