Claudia "Gayle" Cruz

Claudia "Gayle" Cruz

Claudia "Gayle" Cruz, age 81, of Long Beach, CA received her angel wings on February 11, 2014 surrounded by her loved ones while in hospital. The youngest of three daughters, she was born on June 12, 1932 to Horace, a pharmacist and his wife, Olive Rowe Prouty, the daughter of a pharmacy store owner, in Hebron, Illinois. Gayle was married to David Rafael Cruz, a U.S. Air Force officer and jet pilot, in 1952. A dedicated military wife, Gayle and David moved frequently and raised three children in six states, in addition to a 2-1/2-year stint in Stuttgart, Germany where David retired from the military in 1973, resulting in the family's relocation to Long Beach to be close to relatives. While in Stuttgart, Gayle and David began collecting and restoring antique clocks which later spawned "The Antique Clock Gallery" store in Long Beach in 1975 after meeting a fellow antique clock collector and Long Beach resident, Robert (Bob) Davidson, who became a co-owner with Gayle. The clock shop closed in 1998 after 23 years in business.

In her teens, Gayle was a classically-trained pianist and marimba player who could also play the violin. She had a passion for music and especially enjoyed the swinging sounds of the 1940's Big Band era, Bossa Nova, and the exotic, tiki-lounge music of Martin Denny. Gayle had a penchant for entertaining, was a great conversationalist, and a world traveler having visited over 25 countries with David during a span of 35 years. She was a voracious reader who also loved crossword puzzles, gardening, bowling, her dogs, and of course, her red lipstick. Stunningly beautiful both on the inside and out, all who were lucky enough to know Gayle would agree that she was an extremely kind and selfless soul with a very loving heart.

Gayle leaves behind to cherish her memory, husband David R. Cruz and their daughters, Chandler (Richard) Cruz McKinley and Lindsey Cruz Gordon, in addition to her loyal dog, Bella. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Sean (Jessica) McKinley, Erin (Ryan) Slaney, Ross McKinley, Bristol (Brandon Duncan) Gordon, and her great grandchildren, Ryan Slaney and Olivia Slaney. She is also survived by her nephews and niece, Larry (Katie) Buchanan, Suzanne Buchanan Drake and Jay (Susan) Buchanan.
Gayle was preceded in death by her sisters, Patricia Jane Aldrich Copeland, Phyllis Eileen Buchanan, and her much beloved son, Todd Cruz.

The family wishes to thank her very special caregivers Vergie Magbago and her daughter, Joanne Magbago who provided exemplary service with tender loving care over the course of a year, and also many thanks to Ana Gloria Morales.

No funeral service will be held nor donations requested. Gayle's only request would be that you "Strike up the Band!"

In loving memory to their mother, her two daughters would like to share a prayer often recited to them by their mother while at bedtime :
"Father, mother, God / Loving me / Guard me while I sleep / Guide my little feet / Up to thee." Mary Baker Eddy

And lastly:
"Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams, whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me"
Gus Kahn

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Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram from Mar. 7 to Mar. 9, 2014