The first woman to be elected to the Gardena City Council died on February 1, 2020. Gwen (Castle) Duffy was born in 1922 in Mangum, OK. When she was just 2 years old her family moved to Monrovia, CA. She graduated from Monrovia High School and attended the University of California Santa Barbara where she earned a degree in food and nutrition.
She married her childhood friend James E Duffy in 1948 and resided in Gardena, CA for all of their 69 years of marriage. She worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Los Angeles until the birth of their first daughter. She was a member of the American Dietetic Association for over sixty years.
She was a devout Christian and her life was comprised of service to others focusing on family, youth, education, community and an interest in good government. She was a member of the Parent-Teacher organization of St. Anthony School, a member of the Gardena Multi-Ethnic Education Committee, and was appointed to Harbor College Community Advisory Council. While her daughters were involved in scouting, she served for two years as a Girl Scout Troop Leader.
As Chair of the Committee to Preserve Property Rights in Gardena, Gwen helped to defeat a Gardena Redevelopment Agency ordinance. As a member of the Gardena Republican Women, Federated, she served as a member of the California Delegation of Reagan for President at the National Conventions in 1976, 1980, and 1984.
She was a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Gardena Emblem Club, Gardena Valley Friends of the Library, Gardena-Carson Family YMCA Board of Directors, Gardena Valley YWCA, Gardena Sister City Association, Gardena Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Chair of the Gardena We TIP Committee.
Gwen was the first woman elected to the Gardena City Council and served from 1982 to 1999. In 1991, she helped coordinate Gardena's Community Celebration of the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution. She considered this a highlight in a career of community service.
She was nominated to the Gardena City Wall of Fame in 2002. She also was honored as the We TIP Woman of the Year, Gardena Soroptimist International Women Achievement in Government Award, Gardena "50" Lions Club Community Service Award, We TIP Lifetime Achievement Award and the Golden Triangle Award from the Gardena-Carson Family YMCA.
She is survived by three daughters, Linda Humphrey, Kathleen Kalohi, and Marjorie Duffy. She has three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
The visitation was held on Wednesday February 12, 2020 at Lighthouse Memorials & Receptions – McMillan Center in Gardena. The Mass was celebrated at American Martyrs Catholic Church on Thursday February 13.
Published in Gardena Valley News from Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, 2020.