RIP, Robert Garcia Mom died at the age of 61 from complications of COVID-19, her son announced Monday.
Gaby O’Donnell, the mother of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, died a while after she and her husband, Greg O’Donnell, both tested positive earlier this month.
On July 13, Garcia confirmed that his mom and step-father, both of whom had recently tested positive for coronavirus, had since been hospitalized and placed on ventilators. Garcia announced Monday that his father, Greg O’Donnell, remains in the hospital on a ventilator.
An immigrant who found the American Dream, Robert Garcia Mom, has died
Garcia said sadly in a statement: “It is with deep sadness that I share that my mother, Gaby O’Donnell, has passed away due to complications from COVID-19. My brother and I are heartbroken,”
Gaby O’Donnell immigrated to the U.S. from Peru “in search of the American Dream” and found it, the mayor said.
As a health care worker, she cared for thousands of patients and assisted nurses and doctors, Garcia said.
O’Donnell worked in the same clinic for 25 years “and put her own life on the line to save others when the pandemic hit,” according to L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn.
“She loved to help people and lived a happy and joyous life,” Garcia said of his mother. “She will always be our guiding light and the center of our lives.”
The mayor thanked Long Beach Memorial “for taking care of our mom during her last days.”
How Robert Garcia became an America citizen?
Garcia became a citizen when President Ronald Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986 that fast-tracked his and his family’s path to citizenship. It still took roughly 12 years to become a citizen, which the mayor achieved at age 21.
Garcia went on to attend Cal State Long Beach, becoming student body president and earning a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. He later received a master’s degree in communications management from the University of Southern California, and a doctorate in higher education at CSULB in 2010 after publishing his dissertation on California’s Master Plan for Education.
Garcia was elected to the City Council in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Bonnie Lowenthal, and in 2014, he was elected mayor of Long Beach.