December 13, 1904 ~ May 12, 2006
Manhattan Beach artist Gladys Bruchez died quietly in her home on Friday, May 12, 2006 at the age of 101. She was born December 13, 1904 on a cattle ranch in eastern Colorado and came to Manhattan Beach in 1930. One of her memories of the depression was of waitressing in a hamburger joint down by the pier while her husband flipped burgers.
She had lived for more than 75 years in her First Street home that her husband Paul Bruchez built for her back in 1936. She was best known to 5 generations of family and friends as a caring generous woman everyone called Nana. Her home was always open to family, friends and friends of family as a place of sanctuary and shelter in good times and bad. She was always ready to share a meal or provide lodging for a day or a year. If we didnâ€™t think she had any room she just said â€œWeâ€™ll hang them on a nailâ€ and everyone moved over a little.
Nana and Papa hosted a constant parade of kids on their way to and from school or the beach who dropped by to visit Great-grandchildren Bob (Hank) and Jeff, or to have a bicycle repaired, use the garden hose to rinse off or get a drink of water. Her back yard was filled with surfboards, wet-suits and bicycles. Nana is famous for the chili-pancakes which she shared with everyone. In the 50â€™s and 60â€™s she gave BIG candy bars at Halloween.
When Nana wasnâ€™t cooking or chasing children around her house she could be found in her kitchen with paints. Sheâ€™d sit down with her watercolors and pretty soon there would be a ship or a vase of flowers on the paper, no model, no peek out the window. She said â€œI just do them out of my head.â€ She painted in oil and other media when she was younger, in her 50â€™s and 60â€™s and showed her pictures across the country but had settled into watercolor later on. She continued to paint until she was past her 100th birthday and the pictures kept getting better in spite of her failing eyesight. She painted all her greeting cards and those lucky enough to received one count them among their treasures.
She is survived by her daughter, Cleone Van Western of Los Osos, California; grandson, David Van Westen of Long Beach; grand-daughter, Susan Van Westen of Bellevue, Washington; Great-grandchildren, Robert (Hank) Jacobson, Jeffrey Jacobson, Matthew Van Westen, and Jillian Van Westen; and great-great-grandchildren, Jessica Jacobson, Peter Jacobson, Madison Van Westen and Samuel Van Westen.
A memorial service will be held on May 20, 2006 at 11:00 AM at Rice Mortuary in Torrance.
A celebration of her life will follow at the Jacobson residence.
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