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 didn’t think she had any room she just said “We’ll hang them on a nail” 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 50’s and 60’s she gave BIG candy bars at Halloween. When Nana wasn’t cooking or chasing children around her house she could be found in her kitchen with paints. She’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 “I just do them out of my head.” She painted in oil and other media when she was younger, in her 50’s and 60’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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  1. i don’t remember nana too well. but i sure remember susan van westen…maybe she’ll e-mail me…

  2. Nana was my bestfriend and I will miss her tremendously. She was much more than a greatgrand mother to me. She was a mother, friend, doctor, counselor, coach, and all the other things that go along with being a caregiver. She will be missed!!!!! Love, Bob

  3. NANA, as we called her and late husband “PORT’ shared a beautiful little home on first street a couple of blocks off the ocean in Manhattan Beach right next to Robinson Elementary.It was the epicenter of everything we as kids growing up loved and shared for over 35 some odd years.Her great grandchildren Bobby and Jeff pretty much grew up and lived at the residence for as long as i can remember ..”a long time” Jeff later married and settled into a sucessful roofing business and Bobby remained for the most part by Glady’s side after Port passed away. Bobby was a great friend to Glady’s and always took the extra time to make sure she was o.k. till her last breathe. Bobby really put ole Glady’s at ease whenever the pain got bad or she needed any help whatsoever.Yes Glady’s was in very good hands and you all can thank Bobby for his love and care during Glady’s last days later. enough of Bobby! Glady’s was one of the most careing and giving people I have ever met. she was considered a Grandmother to all of us wayward kids running wild in the streets of manhattan and hermosa. She always offered what she could when she felt it was nescessary. On one occassion she kept me out of reach from the “Long arm of the Law” by hiding me under her bed while MBPD searched frantically for me as they were concerned and feared i might get behind the wheel and harm myself or someone else! There are many stories from our day’s at “The Lot” I’ll spare you all the gory details… I raise a toast to Glady’s and know she is in goods hands now having a laugh with ole porto most likly at our expense….RIP GLADYS THE 1ST STREET SAND RATS WILL MISS YOU DEARLY. CHRISO

  4. Remembering Aunt Gladys -Her cute giggle and sense of humor. -Reading my palm and tea leaves. -Christmas greeting cards with beautiful flowers, birds, and ships she painted. -During recent visits putting our heads together and reminiscing about the past. -She took care of Mom when she was little. -Putting her hand to her mouth when she giggled reminded me of Grandma Glover. -Her love of family. -Her devotion to Port. -Never complained. -During one visit after celebrating her 100th birthday, whe couldn’t think of one thing physically wrong with her. Amazing! -Her love of painting and trying to show me how to shade and draw. Thanks Aunt Gladys for your love and just being you. Bobby, thanks for your love and care of her.

  5. My Aunt Gladys was very special to me. Long ago, I visited her and Uncle Port in California for a long weekend. I remember taking long walks along the beach and listening to their entertaining stories. One of my fondest memories was watching my Aunt Gladys play her father’s fiddle. I was in awe of her of musical ability. She was also a very talented artist and I always looked forward at Christmas time receiving her uniquely painted watercolor Christimas cards. She will be deeply missed, but she will always remain in my heart.

  6. I will never forget Great Aunt Gladys and how good she was to me as a child. I first met Aunt Gladys in 1964 when my mom married her nephew Larry Glover. She took us all in like we had always been in her family. There was a time we stayed in her guest house and how she just welcomed us all to stay there as long as we wanted. I will never forget her or Uncle Port. My deepest sympathy for all of the family and how lucky you were to have her in your family all of those years…. My thoughts are with all of you,,,,Wendy Maechtle

  7. What a special treat it was to receive a Christmas card from Aunt Gladys! The memories of Aunt Gladys and Uncle Port’s visits to Colorado-their 1956 Chevy, Uncle Port’s twinkling eyes and Aunt Gladys reading our palms will live on forever.

  8. Ryan (age 10) and I meet Gladys only a short time ago and really enjoyed her company. Ryan and his friend Alexis were the kids that found Gladys as our oldest Manhattan Beach resident. We loved Gladys art work, so much talent. If there are any painting available that the family would like to share I would love to purchase one, if and when anyone is ready to share her beautiful panintings!! I know she is smiling down on all of us!! Warmest Regards, Penny and Ryan

  9. I will miss Gladys every two weeks when I used to call on her from the Joslyn Senior center. She always had a smile for me and shared looking at her paintings with me. It was nice to meet part of the family on my visits. God Bless and keep her in the palm of his hand.

  10. When I was 5 years old and Jeff was 2 we came to live with Nana and Papa in their first street home. I always felt safe and secure with them, always. I remember I was starting to play baseball but my skills as a player were bad. Papas eye site had been failing and by this time he was legally blind. Nana said, ” Bob come on, i’ll teach ya how to hit the ball.” As she pitched to me I took swats at the ball but I guess my stance was off and I wasn’t holding the bat right? She quickly walked over, took the bat, and showed me the right way to hold it, placing one hand over another as close as I could get them. Before I knew it I was hitting the ball way into the school. I became a pretty good hitter and even hit a few home runs in my short career as a Manhattan Little Leaguer. This was the way Nana was, always willing to help others. Always there to show you how to do something. She was always ready to help me with a problem, or to be there for me when I was hurt and crying. This, too me, is what love is, and she will live on in my heart forever. Love, Bob

  11. My sincere condolences to Cleone and Dave, Susan, Jeff, Tessa, Bob and Dave on Nana’s recent passing. Nana was an incredible woman, artist, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and was loved so much by all her family and friends. The many memories I have of Nana will always be cherished. She will be missed deeply. May God bless each of you and bring you peace as you grieve the loss of an incredible woman. Regards, Sandra Jean

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