Eric Peter Verbeeck
2000 - 2018
Eric Peter Verbeeck passed away suddenly on the morning of March 6, 2018. He was born in Tampa, Florida on April 14, 2000 and lovingly adopted by his surviving parents Peter D. Verbeeck and Patricia McKay Verbeeck. He is also survived by his brother Michael and his beloved dog, Rocky. He is also survived by his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Frances Pearson, uncle and aunt Dan and Barbara LeTourneau, aunt Peggy Pearson and many loving great-aunts, cousins and friends. Eric spent his life on Key Biscayne and attended the St. Christopher's Montessori School. He went on the to the MCA Academy for middle school and his junior and senior year where he was due to graduate on June 8, 2018 with honors.

Eric was passionate about the performing arts and loved to sing, act and dance. He performed for seven years from the age of six with Miss Angelica Torres and the Broadway Musical Theater Group. His favorite role was The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. There was nothing that Eric enjoyed more than being onstage and he loved every aspect of the theater. He also loved to attend Broadway and London musical theater shows, experimenting with new restaurants and regularly attended the Miami City Ballet with his mother. Eric was at his happiest being with people at parties, fund raisers and volunteering, especially at Rotary functions with his father. Another love of Eric's was traveling. He loved to plan out trips to the tiniest detail and anticipated his planned trips with great excitement. He also toured Europe and performed with Mr. Timothy Sharp and the Miami Children's Chorus. He relished horseback riding and a great memory for him was horseback riding in Iceland in the tundra with his mother. Eric and his father volunteered to make and provide pure water filtration systems in a small village in the Dominican Republic. Eric was a true "foodie" and heartily enjoyed trying out restaurants everywhere he went. He would order several appetizers and desserts just to experiment with the food experience. Lobster bisque and Shirley Temples were at the top of the list. Fine dining was the way to go for him and his manners were impeccable. Eric, simply put, was pure love and joy with a unique innocence about life. He was caring, sharing, empathetic, and sympathetic to those in need, loved animals, nature and school. He could always sense when someone needed an encouraging word, genuine compliment or just to say hello. His time at the family summer home on a lake in Maine was a continual family reunion in a totally different world from Miami.
He would run his motor boat around the lake, go tubing and kneeboarding and race around with his powerful four-wheel bright red ATV. He was the family "grillmaster" and proud of his culinary accomplishments. Roasting marshmallows for s'mores was a tradition. Yellow was Eric's favorite color, and how appropriate, as it represents sunshine and happiness. From infancy he carried around a small stuffed giraffe, which he still had on his bed, whom he called "Raffie". Collecting giraffes was a hobby.

While Eric lived life to the fullest, he had his own personal struggle. He was in the process of transitioning to his identity as a girl. It simply became too much for him and he sought relief from his suffering. He left a beautiful letter letting his parents know that he knew he had been loved unconditionally, but he needed to move on. As an excellent student who worked very hard for his grades, he had a nearly perfect "A" record. He had received an honors award from The National Society of High School Scholars in 2016 and was a Special Ambassador for the Society. He was so proud of receiving his award from Claes Nobel from Sweden of the Nobel Peace Prize family at his investiture in Atlanta. Eric was active in The Student Council and the Character Counts Club at his school, MCA Academy. At the time of his passing he had been accepted by eleven of thirteen colleges as early acceptance with several scholarship offers. His goal was to major in Theatre and Arts Management with a focus on fund-raising and friend-raising.

In his letter, Eric gave instructions as how he wanted to be remembered. In his words, "I would like to be remembered as a transgender pansexual teenage girl named Hope. Being transgender is my gender identity. My sexual orientation, or sexual identity, is being pansexual, meaning that I do not care about what the person is; I care about who they are. Sexual orientation is who you go to bed with and gender identity is who you go to bed as."

There is a time to give, and a time to receive. Eric gave so much of himself to everyone he met, he has now been received in the Kingdom of Heaven where he is at peace, free and experiencing happiness with no suffering.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held, 2 PM Saturday, March 17th, at the St. Agnes Catholic Auditorium, 100 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne, FL 33149.. A reception will be held immediately following the service at Fairways on the Key, 6700 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, FL 33149 on the grounds of the Crandon Golf Course. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following causes that Eric cared about and was involved with in his life:
The Yes Institute, 5275 Sunset Drive, Miami, FL 33143; The South Florida Veterinary Foundation, c/o Dr. Larry Bernstein, Treas., 751 NE 168th St., N. Miami Beach, FL 33162-2427;
The Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20036;
Published by the Miami Herald on Mar. 13, 2018.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Celebration of Life
St. Agnes Catholic Auditorium
100 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne, FL
Sponsored by Patricia McKay Verbeeck.
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57 Entries
My dear "Hope" Eric, it has been over a year, and it still seems like it was yesterday, not a day goes by without me remembering you the first thing when I get up in the morning and saying a special prayer three times in your memory, and again at night. Your 19th birthday is in 9 days. My life has lost so much without you in it daily, the hopes and dreams, and it is so hard to accept that you made the decision to move on at such a young age, I will love you unconditionally forever, Mommy
April 5, 2019
Dear Pat, I'm so terribly sorry to hear about your child. Deborah Wolf at Northern Trust let me know. You are such a thoughtful, organized person that I'm sure you did everything possible to help. And I know that you and your family have the strength to get through this sad time.
Elliott Mackle
April 3, 2018
Our deepest condolence to the family. My husband, daughter and I met him at BAAM. We also met his proud dad in one of Eric/Hope's performances at BAAM. We sat at the same table. So sad to hear of this tragedy.
Yvonne J Fournier
March 21, 2018
I am heartbroken for you. What a wonderful soul Eric IS! And that soul will continue to love and give YOU Hope! Many blessings.
m k
March 19, 2018
My deepest condolences to you and your family. My heart hurts for you. I know this pain, my son committed suicide 2/5/2007 at the age of 20. Since, I have felt nothing but guilt. Reading your story, the fact YOU DID EVERYTHING RIGHT, didn't change the unfortunate ending. Along my journey, I have been in this very dark place and wanted to commit suicide myself. The pain is overwhelming and you just want it to stop. Suicide is the only sure answer, though not the right one. I will never forget your story, nor your beautiful child. I will be praying for you, for God to give the you strength to survive, if it is only breath by breath at times. RIP beautiful Hope...
Sherry Tilley
March 19, 2018
I am so very sorry for your loss. Know that there are many strangers out here who have read Hope's story and who also mourn your loss. You did everything right, mom. You were supportive and loving. You have given Hope a wonderful tribute by sharing her truth. I wish you peace.
Christi Hayes
March 19, 2018
Reading Hope's words has given me a new level of understanding and has changed me for the better. Thank you for honoring her request and thank you for raising such an awesome child.
Jerri Cook
March 19, 2018
My heart is with Hope and her family! May your story help families understand and accept their beloved child. As a parent, I love that you appreciated and loved Hope. May her wonderful memories will comfort you! Much love from a Proud Mother of an amazing Gay Son.
Carolyn Martinez Golojuch, MSW
March 19, 2018
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
Camille Santos
March 19, 2018
My condolences to family.This has touched people from all over the world.Rest in peace.The Mc Donald family from Oshawa Ontario Canada
Bill Mc Donald
March 18, 2018
I am very sorry for the loss of this wonderful individual. I am a parent of a transgender child my daughter is now my son and continues to transition. I know this is her journey and her happiness just like it was for Eric as he started his journey to becoming Hope. I couldnt help but notice many similarities between Hope and my son. Enjoyment of theater,favorite color yellow, love for giraffes, always finding good in others, accepting of all , and much love given from the heart to all who met them. May your beautiful obituary of this wonderful, talented, unique individual touch every heart who reads it and shed some light on transgender. The gender does not make who we are, its whats inside our hearts that truly defines us as individuals. Rest in peace Hope you truly are special and loved by so many.
March 18, 2018
Thank you for sharing your son's story. It really touched my soul, he sounds like he was an amazing young man. May God continue to look over you and your family.. Rip Eric (hope) verbeeck.
tammie santos
March 18, 2018
A simple candle for a beautiful life loss...
March 18, 2018
My heart stopped and filled with sadness for this beautiful young person, family and all the wonderful Hope life could have held... My deepest condolences to all of you - God Bless.
Lisa S
March 18, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your story, it was beautiful. It really touched my heart and pray that your message will help others understand.
March 18, 2018
My condolence to the family. Hope Eric your story touch my heart. Rest In Peace Hope
Rosa Quinones
March 18, 2018
March 18, 2018
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
Richard Rubinkowski
March 18, 2018
Rest In Peace Eric / Hope.
E. González
March 18, 2018
Found Eric's obituary so in peace Eric. My thoughts are with the family.
Brent Baker
March 18, 2018
What an incredibly brave and unselfish thing it is to share the story of your beautiful child. Every child should be so fortunate to be so loved so unconditionally. My heart is sad that this beautiful soul is no longer on this earth, but I can only imagine how many hearts and minds will be changed by you sharing Hope's story; her passing will not be in vain. Love and light to your family. Rest is love Hope; your memory will certainly live on.
March 18, 2018
You are not alone... 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
March 18, 2018
God Bless Eric/Hope. Souls like Eric's gives us all Hope.
God Bless you Mom & Dad & Family.
Barb & Norm
March 18, 2018
I only know Hope through what I have read in newspapers and online but your amazing daughter has inspired me as she has inspired many others. She will be in my thoughts for a long time. Please accept my condolences and prayers.
March 18, 2018
Family and loved ones of Eric (Hope), my deepest condolences. I awoke to this article this morning and am so saddened for your loss. What a beautiful story to capture his memory. I hope the world starts to get it. I am also a survivor of suicide ( my brother--for different reasons) and I promise the pain does lessen over time. I pray that this world will be touched by this article. I pray your bravery and openness will help others understand this battle. God bless you.
March 18, 2018
Very sorry for your lose. May God comfort you and your family.
James Williams
March 18, 2018
Rest in piece sweetie...In heaven there is another angel that is full of happiness and hope.
March 18, 2018
Prayers and positive thoughts to family and friends - May you Rest in Peace Eric/Hope - You now walk with the angels <3
Tom Marquez
March 18, 2018
Hope, my prayers to your family as you have left a void in their lives. From the statements reported in the article I heard a soft spoken, intelligent and beautiful voice. How you describe transgender and sexual orientation will be ecthed in my heart. May you be at peace today and your family feel your touch now and again.
Traci B
March 18, 2018
My gratitude to your family for sharing Hope with us all. My child began hormone therapy on his 15th birthday. Your precious child has enlightened my heart, I am changed and somehow healed, thank you for the miracle of Love that is Eternal!
Tia Becker
March 18, 2018
Trish A
March 17, 2018
God Bless. Your life has touched me thousands of miles away. Distance some times does not exist. You're an angel shining on earth.
Anthony Matula
March 17, 2018
Rest In Peace, for you are remembered and loved.
March 17, 2018
As a 'survivor' of suicide, my brother in 1988, I feel some of your pain.

Thank you for sharing yours and Hope' story despite your pain.

May memories soothe you in the challenging times.
March 17, 2018
My heart breaks for you. What a talented person this world has lost.
March 17, 2018
Happy memories of a young Eric when he visited me in UK with his little toy giraffe "Raffie". God Bless sleep peacefully Eric - Hope.
Peter, Patty and Michael, my, thoughts and prayers are with you. My love
March 16, 2018
I can't no believe this I'm soooo sorry for your loss I'm a parent of a
SAY kids reuben and Isabella they went to camp together with your child and they can't believe either! My daughter can't stop crying she told me your kid was an amazing child sorry again RIP
Maria Hoyos
March 16, 2018
Rest in peace, buddy. Love you forever.
March 16, 2018
I always going to remember your beautiful smile, the way that your eyes were shining every time that you discover that music was your pasion. I love you.
Darleen Trujillo
Your first piano teacher
Darleen Trujillo
March 16, 2018
Eric, or Hope as she will now be remembered as, was one of my best friends from her Camp Say days. This hit me hard, and I can only imagine how her parents, and family are feeling right now. All I can say is my thoughts and prayers go out to the verbeeck family. You will always have my forever support and love Hope. Rest in peace.
Thomas Lee
March 15, 2018
Hello , O am a parent from SAY: the Stuttering Association for the Young, our children went to camp about 4 years ago, I wanted you to know that we are so sorry for your loss and we all send our condolences to your family in this hard time. It is wonderful to see how loved she was.

I also wanted to share with you a link to a video of Eric at Camp Say singing, I thought you would like it
Claudia Negron
March 15, 2018
Rest in peace, Hope. May you find happiness and acceptance, and be free from pain.
March 15, 2018
Some stars shine so brightly.
James McDermott
March 15, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. Words aren't able to describe my sadness for you and for your beautiful child. I have a transgender nephew who I love very much. My heart goes out to you and your family.
Anne Denelsbeck
March 15, 2018
I will remember you, Hope! I am so sorry you were in so much pain, that it was hard to see your bright future. I will not forget you.
Amie R
March 15, 2018
Rest in Peace, Hope E. Verbeeck. I bet you and Stephen Hawking are having a great chat right about now.
March 15, 2018
My condolences to the family. I am so sorry this young person could not cope with the pressures of society put on him because he was different. What love for others and passion for life ! I pray that people feel unconditional love and compassion, love for all and show kindness to others. God loves us all ! Thank you God for this person ! RIP
Terry Jensen
March 15, 2018
RIP Hope
Jae Rose
March 15, 2018
So sorry you felt you had to end your precious life. I don't know you I read your obituary and I am so sad for you. May you be in the loving arms of Jesus and that your friends and family find peace . I am so sad and praying for you and your family. R.I.P. sweet young man.
Karen Cormier
March 14, 2018
I am so immensely sorry for your loss and deeply touched by what you have shared of your beloved Hope. I hope that the love which exudes from what you have communicated to the community and world in this extraordinary Obituary and in The Miami Herald story and that is contained in the portion of Hope's letter that you have shared, brings you much strength and peace. Please know you have done immense good in sharing the story of Hope. Your message, Hope's message, is moving around the globe. And my heart and so many others are with you even though we have never met.

Our time here on this earth is so short and the wisdom and message of LOVE that you share should be the essence of life.

I hope that Hope, can in Hope's enjoyment of great heavenly peace, be among the angels and help those here on earth who have similar struggles; especially those who are not so fortunate to have the unconditional love of parents and a family, such as that which Hope was gifted. Peace be with you. Peace.

James Weinkle
March 14, 2018
I can not imagine your pain, but hope and pray that the love of friends and family and the caring support of your community carries you through to healing.
Tatiana Costa
March 14, 2018
Amazing child, amazing parents. Hope will live through her message to all of us.
March 14, 2018
Patty and Peter, we did not see Eric often, however when we did it was always an enjoyable experience. Our hearts bleed for your loss Aunt Pam and Uncle Al
Pamela & Alfred MOSCA
March 14, 2018
My deepest condolences for your loss.
March 14, 2018
Dear Peter and Patty, We cannot even imagine the heartache you must feel. May God bless you, watch over you and take care of you. Bill and Sandy Earle
Bill and Sandy Earle
March 14, 2018
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
March 14, 2018
Sorry for your loss
March 13, 2018
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