Meet Carrie Adelia Gabriel (Pt. 2)
By Beverly J. Clark, Publicity Director
Meet Carrie Adelia Gabriel, an amazing Retiree on the move and an L.A. historical figure! She’s celebrating 100 years!
Ms. Carrie Gabriel was featured in last month’s edition of Alive!, and we continue her story this month as we look back on her past accomplishment and celebrate her 100th birthday Jan. 28.
(You can read the first part of her profile here.
Ms. Gabriel enjoyed the holidays without a lot of fanfare due to COVID-19 restrictions and the weather. Although she lives independently, she says, “People always check up on me.”
It is astonishing to talk with Ms. Gabriel, age 99, as she can hold a conversation with astuteness and clarity. Ms. Gabriel keeps up with daily events and enjoys talking about current events and politics. She says she loves to talk. She’s talked about politics and about days gone by. One of her fondest memories is experiencing her first meal after arriving in Los Angeles at the Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue, now a historic landmark.
She recalls in detail, events in her life and speculates on the world as it is today. Carrie grew up in the South during challenging times, however, she says she has never seen people so adamant, angry and hateful as they are these days.
Although she grew up poor, she didn’t know it. “We grew up with much love, kindness and an attitude of helpfulness. We were taught never to hate.
“During the Depression my mom always had a pot of beans and a pan of cornbread on the stove for those who were less fortunate. People would ask if they could mow the lawn or help in any way just to get something to eat.”
Childhood social activities involved home, church and school. “We did not have to lock our doors back then because people didn’t break in but also because we didn’t have much for anyone to take. There was one incident when the family had gone to church and my mom had made a pie and left it in the kitchen to cool. When we returned, the only thing left was the pie pan and a spoon. We knew Otis, our next-door neighbor, had eaten the pie. This was the biggest crime we experienced.”
Life After City Retirement
After retiring with 32 years of City service, Carrie began phase two of her career in private industry. She worked for several Fortune 500 companies and made great achievements. She worked for Glendale Federal Savings and Loan as a teller and account processor; Southern California Savings and Loan as a data processing technician; Dart Industries as an employee benefits and retirement coordinator; and Martin E. Segal Actuarial Company as a retirement plan administrator.
In 1983, when Carrie’s mother, whom she had taken care of financially, passed away, Carrie decided to retire. Although she no longer had a job to go to every day, that didn’t stop her from keeping busy. She joined three senior centers and worked as a volunteer at the Oasis Senior Center in Westwood. She also joined and volunteered at the senior group that was organized where she lives until she was 90, when she then became a caregiver for her ailing brother.
Just when it seemed Carrie was about to recover from the loss of her brother and be able to get back to doing things she enjoyed and being active again, COVID came along and shut things down.
Ms. Gabriel has not let technology intimidate her. She has a computer and printer on her desk and uses both.
I’m sure you are asked quite often, what is the secret to your longevity?
“I don’t get involved with negative people. When I was working, my co-workers would come to me with gossip, and I asked them not to bring that around me. I don’t like a lot of drama. I try to help people whenever I can and keep a positive attitude. My mother was always helping others, and I live my life that way as well.
“I was at the doctor’s office for a small procedure and my name was called. I said, I’m Gabriel. The doctor replied, ‘I was looking for someone with a walker or in a wheelchair. What is your secret?’ I told him, ‘God loves me, and I don’t allow drama in my life.’ He replied, ‘I’m going to go home and tell my wife, no more drama!’”
Words of Wisdom
“Try to be positive. Don’t have drama in your space. Keep busy.”
Ms. Gabriel says she is thankful for God’s love and for the longevity He has given her. She is so very thankful for all the time she has been given to love and enjoy her family, her son, grandsons, granddaughter and her friends.
As I write this, we are looking forward to wishing and celebrating with Ms. Gabriel as she reaches a milestone that not many have achieved. By the time this article is published, we would have celebrated this monumental event.
Happy 100th to a very impressive retiree on the move!
Correction: In the January article, it was mis-stated that Ms. Gabriel was in charge of two computer centers. It should have read: “Ms. Gabriel was in charge of two units in the computer center.”