Long Beach Mayor Loses Stepfather To COVID-19 One Day After Mother’s Memorial

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced today, Aug. 10 that his stepfather died due to complications from COVID-19, one day after the family held a memorial service for the mayor’s mother.

“We are incredibly saddened to share that my stepfather, Greg O’Donnell, has passed away due to complications from COVID-19,” Garcia said in a statement. “It’s a heartbreaking loss for our entire family, especially for my brother Jake.”

O’Donnell, who died Sunday at 58, “Was a kind and good-hearted man, an amazing father and grandfather, and the best husband our mom could have ever hoped for. He worked hard for his family and started his own successful small business as a contractor with his brothers,” Garcia said.

Mayor Robert Garcia is pictured in the right with his mother Gaby O’Donnell and his stepfather Greg O’Donnell. (Photo provided by Diana C. Tang, Mayor Garcia’s Chief of Staff)

Garcia’s mother, Gaby O’Donnell, a longtime health care worker, died late last month due to complications from the coronavirus at the age of 61. The couple had been married for 27 years.

The mayor and his brother, Jacob O’Donnell, thanked the nurses and doctors who cared for O’Donnell, and Garcia shared a post by his sibling.

“As my family is just broken with the loss of my parents — I find comfort in knowing that they are together again — free of any pain or suffering,” Jacob posted on Facebook. “He will always be my hero and my best friend.”

“My father was a great man and an amazing person,” Jacob’s post continued. “He was very humble and the strongest person I have ever known. He took pride in his work as a small business owner for the past 33 years, but above all he was a family man who loved us more than anything. He was a loving husband, son, brother, uncle, grandfather, and the best dad I could have ever asked for.”

Jacob continued, ” I know they will be with me forever and are guardian angels to my son Kaiden who they both loved so dearly. I will miss them both terribly and I am nothing but grateful for everything they have done for me.”

Jacob O’Donell (left) with his parents Gaby and Greg O’Donnell. (Photo provided by Diana C. Tang, Chief of Staff)

Garcia announced in July that his mother and stepfather had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and placed on ventilators. Garcia has tested negative, saying he had limited contact with his mother and stepfather during the pandemic due to social-distancing requirements.

“My brother and I are heartbroken,” Garcia said in a statement following his mother’s death. “Our mother was the kindest and most compassionate person we’ve ever known. She immigrated from Peru to the United States in search of the American Dream, and she found it. She became a healthcare worker, caring for thousands of patients over her career and assisting nurses and doctors who she loved dearly. She loved to help people and lived a happy and joyous life.”

Information for O’Donnell’s services will be sent to family and friends in the coming days, the Mayor’s statement said.


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