Jay Beeler

Saturday morning, March 19, started out with the positive thought that my wife would be getting out of the hospital soon. But then she passed away within 24 hours.

If you do not read any further, just remember this: smoking kills.

Anita and I were in our mid-twenties when we married on December 28, 1968. It was a time when many people smoked cigarettes and the manufacturers hid the fact that smoking kills.

Her parents smoked. I started it in self-defense while travelling in airplanes in the 1970s.

Anita was a light smoker in our early years together and I soon tapered to none. Following her retirement from the LBPD in 2013 the number of consumed cigarettes per day grew to one pack or more. I called them “Virginia Slimes.”

With time on her hands she knitted Christmas stockings, afghans, sweaters, etc. for sale at the Sugar Plum festivals or as gifts. She also watched a lot of cable news, cooked our evening dinners and played solitaire on her computer – while smoking cigarettes.

Her computer died from overheating. I looked inside and discovered that all the components were covered with ash from the cigarettes, sucked in by the cooling fan.

Her eyesight became poor due to diabetic retinopathy. This meant not being able to drive her car or use her computer. Smoking cigarettes contributed to her numerous health issues, including cardiac disease.

With our three children, we were constantly trying to get her to stop smoking. We would gently admonish her and avoid the kitchen/study (aka “She Shed”) areas if second-hand smoke was in the air. The addiction was so strong that she would have walked to the liquor store three blocks away, if necessary.

In recent months my wife was dealing with hearing issues and ear pain. In recent weeks she was having jaw pain. A CAT scan did not detect any issues.

She described her pain as “11” on a scale of one to ten. Her primary care doctor suggested heading for the urgent care center, which she finally agreed to on Wednesday, March 16. Due to COVID restrictions, I sat in the car for two hours awaiting her return, which was very unusual.

Then a fire truck and paramedic unit showed up at the urgent care center entrance. I knew in an instant that they were there for my wife. I went to the lobby and soon received a cell phone call requesting my presence in one of the examination rooms. The issue was heart related and the decision was made for more intensive examination at Memorial Hospital. Off they went, Code 3.

There’s more to this story and I’ll address it in my next column. Meanwhile our family is busy planning a celebration of Anita’s life on May 1. We are very grateful for the hundreds of condolences received over the past three weeks via phone calls, emails, social media, sympathy cards, gift baskets and donations to our Citywatch Foundation.


On another topic our “Best of Long Beach” contest winner announcements have been delayed to our May 6 issue, due to urgent family matters. Congratulatory letters and award certificates were mailed earlier this week.

This contest would not be possible if not for the generosity of our sponsors: Belmont Athletic Club, Belmont Pet & LaunderPet, Buono’s Pizzeria, Home Instead Senior Care, J&L Fine Jewelry, LBCC Senior Studies, Long Beach State Athletics, McDonald’s (Michael Mangione), Cielo Roth Photography, TLD Law, (Jennifer N. Sawday) and Wags to Whiskers. Please patronize them.

Each sponsor has contributed at least 12 gift cards or certificates valued at $25 or more for our 2022 contests. It’s a great way to promote your enterprise. Just give us a call at (562) 597-8000 to become a member of this exclusive club.


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