"For 14 glorious years, Alex Pak lived and on Saturday, August 13th 2011, Alex left us.
He was born on October 23, 1996 in Renton WA, into a loving family. He was the only boy in a house of four girls. He was called many things in his life, Little Man, Alex man, Panda man, The “Prince”, and the “Caboose”. But his real name had been chosen many years before he was born. Alex’s parents were still dating when a little old man approached them and said, “You are such a cute couple. If you ever have a boy, you should name him Alexander. It’s a good name and has served me well, all these many years.” Alex’s paternal grandmother bestowed the name Xie Hong long before Alex joined the family. With each pregnancy Alexander Xie Hong was always the boy’s name and his parents would scramble to name each new girl who came along. It was 12 years before Alex would claim his name.
In 1998 the family moved to Missoula where Alex would spend the rest of his life. He attended school at Chief Charlo Elementary and Meadow Hill Middle School. He was preparing to enter high school in a couple of weeks. He would have attended Sentinel with his many friends.
Alex was not a joiner, but a free spirit who liked to pursue his own passions. He loved to collect pandas, skateboard, ride his bike and mostly he loved to play his guitars. He was self taught and exceptionally talented. He would play those guitars until the rafters rattled and we begged him to turn down the amp. Alex spent this summer playing his guitar at the Farmer’s Market and Out-to-Lunch. Alex called his guitars his “kids”. He loved them and we fondly remember the very first time he saw his first guitar. His dad brought it home after work, late one night and Alex could not have been more excited. They sat on the couch together and his dad taught him some cords. From that moment on he would play, morning, noon and night.
It seemed that everything came quickly and easily for Alex. He learned to ride a unicycle in minutes; he could juggle without even thinking about it, if he heard a song he could pick out the notes and cords and play it. He was a wonder to us all. One day, at age 4, he asked his mom to teach him to ride his bike without training wheels. She did the standard “hold the seat and run along” bit. Alex instantly saw the flaw in this plan and asked his mom to go in the house for a minute. When she came out just 10 minutes later he was whizzing around in the street on two wheels. Before the day was over he had taught two other neighbor kids to ride their bikes. Alex knew his own mind and heart and was fiercely independent. He wasn’t afraid to go against the grain or make a wave. He spoke his own truth without a care for what was popular opinion. He had the wicked sense of humor and would use it at will.
Alex, we love you with every ounce of our being and will miss you forever. You brought us so much joy and happiness with your silly antics and wise cracks. There are not enough words to tell you how much we love you and miss you. Our hearts are shattered but we know that you are safe with those who left before you. We will see you again one day.
We want to express our sincerest thanks to all the people who tried so hard to bring Alex back to us. We are grateful for all the love and support that we have received from our friends, family and our community. We could not travel this road alone. We are humbled by all that we have received."