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Hillcrest Memorial Park
9101 Kern Canyon Road
Bakersfield, CA 93306
(661) 366-5766
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Esther Amparano Gamez


1931 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Esther Amparano Gamez Obituary
Esther was the fourth daughter born to Santos and Trinidad Gamez on May 7, 1931 in Bakersfield, California. She went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday May 26, 2015. Growing up during the Great Depression, they all learned the value of hard work, diligence, faith in their Lord, and love of each other which sustained them until after World War II. When she married and gave birth to her only son, Kenneth, it was her greatest happiness. A close second, was her adoration for her three beautiful grandchildren, who she doted on throughout their childhood and beyond. They will never forget the influence she had in their lives.
Growing up in a small Hispanic community in East Bakersfield, she learned the value of community and service while watching her parents welcome in guests, travelers, and those in need with an open door and open hearts. This later influenced her own involvement in many community organizations and services. She attended East Bakersfield High School, enjoying her participation in the band as a majorette, where she was given the nickname, "Chici" short for chicita (little one in Spanish).
During her childhood, the family enterprise included a gas station, a grocery store, a drive-in, a tortilla factory, ice cream stand, and later the well-known and established restaurants known as "Mexicali." At one point Esther branched off on her own, opening a six stool counter and four table restaurant on Chester Ave, "Chili King" and learned valuable lessons that forged her acute business sense. As the ice cream stand grew into a sit down restaurant, she was called back to the family business to join "The Mexicali." She spent the vast majority of her career doing what she dearly loved as evidenced by her life-long dedication to the family and its business operations.
In the 1950's it was a man's world. It was a struggle to be successful, much less if you were four Hispanic females in the restaurant business. Their work ethic persevered and Esther was the spark plug that made it happen. Smart, tireless, looking to the future, she was the catalyst. Her ambitions for the family were achieved when they opened Mexicali West in 1978. She worked diligently to make it the successful restaurant it is today.
She will always be remembered as setting the bar high, working hard to achieve it and sharing the rewards with her family as well as the employees who worked for the restaurant. The employees were also family, as well as the loyal customers. The generations of families who frequented the restaurant became just a bigger part of the extended family, and often came to see her just as much as they came to eat the delicious food.
Faith, Family, and her love of travel were her greatest joys. She was a long time member of Christ Cathedral, which she attended for many decades along with her sisters. Not to be missed, was her great pleasure in travelling the world. She spent several years living in Spain, working and enjoying all the beauty it had to offer. Her chance meeting with a Parisian woman, Paulette, developed into many month long travels to Paris, and a dear friendship that was always fondly cherished. When she was finally able to take the long awaited journey to The Holy Land, she completed another dream, and was baptized in the Jordan River by her grandson-in-law Trenton.
As a businesswoman, she recognized the importance of service to the community. She enjoyed many years spent as a volunteer/board member of the following organizations: Bakersfield Assistance League (The Bargain Box), Board of Memorial Hospital, CASA, Bakersfield Symphony, and The Bakersfield Museum of Art and many more.
Although the end of an era has come, the legacy of the Gamez Family lives on through her only child, Kenneth Andrew Gamez and his wife Lynette and her daughter Sylvia; three grandchildren: Erika Yenokida and her husband Trenton of Kenya, Farrah Gamez-Henderson and her partner Ebonie of Bakersfield, and Kevin Gamez of Bakersfield; five great-grandchildren: Brennen, Sydney, and Gabriel Yenokida and Leyton and Nikolai Gamez-Henderson; nephew Reuben(Sonny) Crews and his wife Gloria; nieces Gloria Griego and her husband Mike and Irene Ramirez; and "daughter" Phyllis Bransfield and "granddaughter" Ashley Bocanegra of Bakersfield. She was preceded in death by her parents Santos and Trinidad Gamez; three sisters: Ruth Crews, Lillie George, and Rachel Gamez; nephew Ernie Martinez; and niece Marjorie Lozano.
The family would like to bestow a special thank you to Diane S. Lake for the loving care that was received by Esther during her illness. Your love, kindness, and generosity will never be forgotten.
In addition, the family would like to thank: Lee Bush, Mary Anne King, Ryan and Bunny Jeffrey, Olga Catano, Antonia Garcia, Ruben Navarette, and Dr. Alan Cartmell.
Services will be held Wednesday June 3, 2015 at 10:00AM at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 9101 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield. A reception at Stockdale Country Club will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Esther's honor to CBCC or Christ Cathedral.
Published in Bakersfield Californian from May 31 to June 1, 2015
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