Jean Longaberger

Jean Longaberger

Jean Longaberger lived in Long Beach for 74 years — and for the majority of that time she volunteered at the Veterans Administration Hospital and the Long Beach chapter of the YLI, a Catholic charity.

Longaberger died July 7 after a short illness unrelated to the coronavirus. She was born on June 30, 1930, at Pittsburgh, Penn., as Jean Duffy. Her family moved to Long Beach in 1945 so her father could open a jewelry and watchmaker shop.

In 1949, as Jean was working as a teller at Bank of America, she met George Longaberger at a church dance. The couple were married on May 26, 1951, at St. Anthony's Church.

After the Vietnam War, Jean and George volunteered at the VA Hospital, helping feed veterans who had become paraplegic or quadriplegic. They continued to do that for more than 25 years.

Jean had begun volunteering long before, at the YLI, a regional Catholic charity, where she served in every leadership office, including president. The couple also found time to raise three children — Gary, Kathleen and Dennis — who all still live in Southern California.

George Longaberger died on July 21, 2012. Jean is survived by her three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandson. A private family ceremony took place last Friday.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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