Orion Saah

January 22, 2001 - September 09, 2021

Orion Saah

January 22, 2001 - September 09, 2021


Obituary For Orion Saah

Orion Saah, of Raleigh, NC, died on Thursday September 9, 2021. He is survived by his parents, Royden and Linda Saah; his sister, Layla Saah; his uncle, Daniel Saah (Robin); and by his grandparents, Joe and Peggy Saah, Howard Fogelson and Sandra Harvey, as well as many other family members and friends.

Born at the Women’s Birth & Wellness Center in Chapel Hill, NC, Orion came very quickly into this world and left it just as suddenly after a brief 20 years. During his life, Orion carried with him a kind, compassionate, and sensitive nature. He was born a climber, agile and physically capable, as well as a contemplative, deep-thinker, possessing a bright, curious, intelligent mind.

Many friends and loved ones have memories of Orion dressed in his “normal” daily attire as a superhero during his early years ~ Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Hulk, to name just a few! Although, on Halloween (his favorite holiday), Orion went in true ghoulish fashion, creating costumes including the zombie of Abraham Lincoln, vampires, mad scientists, creepy clowns, and the like. Having a January birthday that followed gift-filled Christmases, Orion forewent birthday presents in lieu of taking up donations to benefit charities, from Haiti relief to the SPCA, for many of his birthday celebrations. Orion carried with him not only a flair for dressing up (although his style evolved over the course of his life), but also a caring and generous heart.

A natural, able-bodied, and dedicated athlete, Orion ran his first 5K at 9 years old, and from there he competed in a multitude of races, triathlons, and swimming events throughout much of his life. From the time he was a newborn baby, Orion loved the water. He learned to swim around 10 months old, competed on City of Raleigh swim teams through his elementary school years, and joined the Marlins of Raleigh (MOR) year-round swim team at age 11. He swam competitively through middle and high school for MOR and also for the Enloe High School Swim & Dive team during his high school days. Around 12 years old, Orion began competing in triathlons ~ first as the swimmer on the “Storm Chasers” relay team (with Wilson and Storm) and, shortly thereafter, he began doing triathlons on his own. Later, Orion joined the North Carolina Triathlon & Cycling (NCTC) team and, in July 2016, he and other NCTC teammates competed in the USA Youth & Junior Triathlon Nationals held in Ohio. There, he placed 8th overall in Youth Nationals (non-drafting) and 1st in his age group for the swimming portion.

Being both highly competitive and intelligent, Orion had a natural propensity for solving puzzles, especially Rubik’s cubes, and for playing games, from video games to card games to table-top and board games…Monopoly being his all-time favorite (and, boy, did he play a cut-throat Monopoly game!). From a very young age, Orion dreamed of being a billionaire and held a passion for the finer things in life ~ nice clothes, expensive jewelry, and good food (all of which his family attributed to the influence of his grandfather, Shields Harvey). Even so, Orion wasn’t beyond roughing it. He was an avid outdoors enthusiast and enjoyed hiking, camping, rock-climbing, and generally just being in nature, from the mountains to the sea. He held a special place in his heart for animals of all types and had compassion for all living creatures.

Orion was an adventurous traveler from off-trail hikes through Umstead State Park to rain-drenched camping trips in the NC mountains, and to places far beyond. At 16, Orion and his dad were able to travel through the heart of Australia in a campervan, starting at Adelaide and ending in Darwin. They experienced many wondrous places in between, including Uluru, Mindil Beach Sunset Market, and Standley Chasm - Angkerle Atwatye, where he convinced his dad to do a night hike using only starlight to navigate. At 18, Orion flew to Peru, acting as the responsible adult to escort his younger sister and her friend, where they met up with their father to experience the flora, fauna, and culture of the area while renting a small, primitive cabin outside of Tamshiyacu, deep in the Amazon.

Orion was drawn to the arts throughout his life. He played trombone in elementary school; participated in music jams and sing-a-longs with family and friends; was a lover of poetry, books, and stories; he was a supportive and appreciative audience member to live shows of all types, from the symphony to the theatre (especially Matt’s plays); he loved watching movies; was a regular visitor to local comic book, magic, and costume shops; enjoyed visits to art and natural history museums; and was a talented artist in his own right through painting, sketching and drawing, creating sculptures, folding origami, etc. Orion loved music ~ all kinds of music ~ which he listened to all the time (especially with headphones). His eclectic interests ranged from Stéphane Grappelli to Juice WRLD. He was often sorting out the playlist at parties and gatherings of friends and family that included several songs everyone knew, while also introducing new music to expand our musical interests.

Like so many others, Orion struggled with mental health issues, which ultimately led to his death and his leaving this world way too soon. His family asks that, in lieu of flowers, family, friends and loved ones please consider donating their time and/or making financial contributions in Orion’s memory to one of the organizations they’ve chosen below. Orion’s kind eyes, sweet smile, and gentle nature will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched, and he will forever be loved and remembered as a beautiful, sensitive individual.

A Memorial and Prayer Service will be held at the Kadampa Center on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, beginning at 10:30am. Please join us virtually via Zoom by registering HERE

Organizations that would greatly benefit from your time and attention:

NC Harm Reduction Network -- works to reduce harm across North Carolina

Promise Resource Network -- a peer-run alternative to hospitalization: Give Time, Give Supplies

Donations made in Orion’s memory will support:

Promice Resource Network-Give Money

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - Wake County

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, please reach out and find help to work through it; please don’t wait until it’s too late. Every one of us is precious, beautiful, and worthy of finding peace and happiness during this lifetime.

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  • Dear Royden and family, My deepest sympathies and prayers for peace during this heartbreaking time. Much love, Melissa Miller

  • Saah family and Bain family have been family for a long time. There are not words right now. We want you to know the memory of his infectious smile will help heal our broken hearts. Praying for the entire Saah family.

  • Hello Royden: It has been many years since I first met you, your Mom and your brother at St. James United Methodist Church in Raleigh when you were just kids. Later you worked at the state lab in Raleigh and we met again, I retired and now the news of your son. I am so saddened by this news. I hope we can meet and talk again one day. Your son was truly a gift from God.

  • Linda, Tim and I are so sorry about the loss of your dear son, Orion. Our hearts hurt for you and your entire family. We will continue to pray that will God will comfort your hearts, bring you peace, and restore your joy.

  • Royden, I just said your name to someone yesterday. I was so sorry to hear this news of your son Orion. My heart breaks for you and your family. May you find some peace in all of the wonderful memories you have with your family.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you all. Royden, I recall how much time you spent searching for the right gift for Orion on our global travels as well as discussing his name. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. May you find comfort in all of the loving memories shared with Orion.

  • Royden, My heart breaks for you and Linda and the rest of your family. What a lovely obituary. So glad your family had so many wonderful adventures together. You are in my prayers. Peggy Brantley

  • I'm so deeply sorry for your loss of Orion. I will always remember him as a carefree young boy with his capes and endless energy running around the lab offices. From his obituary, he lived a lot of life in his 20 years and had many accomplishments. It's so sad to lose him so young. My heart aches for his family.

  • What a lovely obituarie. I am so sorry that this world lost such a wonderful young man. My prayers are with you Linda and your family.

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