Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

Gwen Barfield Depaz (Parker) passed away recently, at the age of 66. She used to sell advertising for the Beachcomber until retiring in 2016.

She knew that she was dying and said so in a recorded phone message left for me the evening of February 14, Valentine’s Day. The following morning I called her back. She complained of medical issues and pain, unable to talk for more than a few minutes.

But that was a familiar story that I heard over the past few months as her health provider cut back on her medications and she lost more than 100 pounds. Gwen was overweight and needed to lose some weight anyway, I thought.

The following Tuesday a mutual friend called to say that she died. Long Beach Police were summoned to her East Long Beach home on Monday, Feb. 18, at 3:10 p.m. by a neighbor’s request to check her well being. She was pronounced deceased by responding Long Beach Fire Department personnel at 3:42 p.m.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy on Feb. 20 and the cause of death was listed as “deferred.”

She was born on Oct. 18, 1952 at St. Mary’s Hospital and attended Prisk Elementary, Stanford Junior High and Millikan High School. She attended a medical transcribing business college and could type 120 words per minute, intimidating those who worked next to her. She claimed to have taken an educational course entitled “Hard Road of Knocks.”

Gwen worked in advertising sales for more than 48 years, often using the last name of Parker. She was with the Press-Telegram for 20 years, Sun Newspaper for 13 years, News-Enterprise for four years and retired from the Beachcomber in April 2016 after nine years of working with us.

She was a memorable character and anyone who came in contact with her knew it. Thanks to an annuity from her parents, Gwen spent lavishly on a BMW convertible and clothes. Rarely did she wear the same outfit to work.

She also loved to laugh and liked laughing at my jokes, even if they weren’t funny. One April Fool’s day I gave her a check for $1 million; she laughed about that for many years thereafter.

Gwen bragged that she memorized thousands of client’s names, phone numbers and ZIP codes because there was no delete button in her brain. In December Gwen regaled attendees at our holiday party, including reporter Sean Belk, who died last month in an automobile accident. It was difficult to lose two work associates within a span of five weeks.

With no other known next of kin, Gwen was preceded in death by her parents, a brother and sister, leaving two dogs, Romeo and Juliet, which have been rescued by Animal Care Services.

In life, Gwen liked to look at problems as challenges. Her parting obituary draft message written in October to “friends, boyfriends and clients who made me feel like family … thanks for being in my lifetime … from a gal who loved too much. In lieu of flowers, send a small amount to your favorite charity.”

In anticipation of a possible celebration of life for Gwen, friends should send an email to publisher@beachcomber.news with “Gwen Parker” in the subject line or call me at (562) 597-8000.

 

We have posted another website poll at www.beachcomber.news. The question is “If voting today, what party affiliation do you prefer?” Options are American Independent, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Peace & Freedom, Republican and None of the Above.

So far, 45 percent say Republican and 20 percent say Democratic. This means that more people need to vote since we know those percentages do not reflect statistics on local registered voters.

 publisher@beachcomber.news

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