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Liam Thomas Gurl

Obituary for Liam Thomas Gurl

October 3, 1998 - May 26, 2020
Pelham, New York | Age 21

Obituary

Liam Thomas Gurl of Pelham, NY died unexpectedly in his home on May 26, 2020. He was 21 years old.

Throughout his life, Liam marched to his own drummer. He was always uniquely and authentically Liam, loved by his family and those fortunate enough to get to know him and his sly sense of humor.

Liam was born in New York City on October 3, 1998. In 2001, just before he turned 3, Liam and his family left the Upper West Side for Pelham NY. In Pelham, Liam attended Huguenot Nursery School, Colonial Elementary School, and the Pelham middle school and high school. He also attended the Summit School.

Liam had a wide range of passionate interests. Some were fairly common: history, astronomy, geography, drawing, travel. Some were more unique, like vexillology (the study of flags), tea, veganism, and animal rights. And some were downright quirky, like his fascination with manual typewriters, pushbutton phones, clocks of all shapes and sizes, and the color orange.

His family and friends will always remember Liam as soft-spoken, polite, sensitive – a gentle soul. His 1,400 Twitter followers will remember Liam as an outspoken, passionate activist who supported veganism and animal rights, crusaded against animal cruelty, and supported progressive causes. Liam's latest Twitter profile featured a photo of him and a large graphic of a personalized New York license plate reading "Go Vegan". His personal profile read, "Not profound, just opinionated. Progressive tea lover and voice for veganism, animals, and our planet. Please #StayAtHome and #WashYourHands if you can."

Liam's family has fond memories of watching him grow up happily in Pelham. He was a gifted student who sailed through elementary and middle school with little effort. Liam was a beautiful writer, and a talented artist. While he could be painfully shy as a boy, he always felt comfortable at home with his brothers and beloved dog Zelda, with his grandparents and many aunts, uncles, and cousins, and among old family friends. On his own initiative, Liam volunteered at the HOPE soup kitchen in New Rochelle, and always made sure that our family fully supported the Thanksgiving and Christmas drives organized by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church to help those in need.

While in high school, Liam was diagnosed with what is commonly known as Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. According to experts, people with Asperger's syndrome often have above-average intelligence but typically have difficulties with the social and executive function skills necessary for success in school. They also typically have absorbing interests in special topics that appeal to them. All of these traits described Liam.

Being on the autism spectrum presented Liam with challenges, but also gave him what his family recognized as his superpowers. Liam taught himself to read before kindergarten. His memory capacity was astounding. He memorized the flags and capital cities of every state and country in the world. By fifth grade, Liam could freehand draw a map of the world that looked like it was traced from Atlas Britannica (which he once listed in a Colonial School classroom display as his "favorite book"). On trips away from New York, his cousins recall him not only pointing out every constellation in the night sky, but also naming the individual stars within each constellation. On a family trip to Madrid, Spain last year, Liam was our tour guide, regaling us with names, dates, events, and facts pertaining to some 500 years of the Spanish monarchy and empire.

After earning his high school diploma, Liam was trained on Microsoft Office products at the Center for Career Freedom in White Plains. He excelled at this, became a certified Microsoft Office instructor, and held internships helping disabled adults and high school students learn Microsoft Office. His internships helped Liam build his confidence and overcome his shyness, and he found he genuinely enjoyed interacting with both the staff and the clients.

At the time of his death, Liam was a student at Westchester Community College in Valhalla NY studying history, art history, and studio drawing. Liam was interested in pursuing a four-year degree in either history or geography, and had toured several local college campuses last fall.

Liam is survived by mother, Anthea Perkinson, father Shaun Gurl, and brothers Aidan Gurl and Dylan Gurl, all of Pelham, NY, his grandfather John Gurl of Kensington, NH, and many beloved aunts, uncles and cousins stretching from Maine to California.

The family encourages anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution to consider the Help Our People Eat (HOPE) soup kitchen in New Rochelle, NY where Liam volunteered as a server over the years. HOPE Community Services is a well-established not-for-profit organization that provides meals and pantry bags for the less fortunate throughout Westchester County. Demand for their services has grown tremendously since the pandemic caused so many to lose their jobs. Donation information is available at www.hopecommunityservices.org/donate.

A Private Memorial Mass for family only will be held At Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

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Pelham Funeral Home

64 Lincoln Ave
Pelham, NY 10803
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