09/11/1952 – 04/24/2012
I have to write this obituary today for you. It is so hard to face what this means, but I must. You were my light and my love. You were my support and someone who told me I was beautiful when I felt at my worst. You made me laugh. You were my companion and I never fully understood what that meant. Now you are gone and it is impossible to think that the rest of my life will be spent without your laughter and silliness, your kindness, your generosity of spirit, your love. You brought me gifts, you gave me a room full of orchids, you brought beauty into our home and into my life that is lasting and comforting, but you’re not here to touch and talk to. I keep waiting to hear your voice on my phone calling to check what’s up in my day. I want to look in your eyes and tell you how much I love you. I want to hear you sing and play guitar. I want to dance with you. I want to see you laugh with your children. I want to feel your touch.
I miss you beyond measure.
All my love, heart and soul,
David Weinstein was born on an auspicious day, Sept. 11, 1952 to Sydelle Sally Ruth Schlesinger (Weinstein) and Gerald Weinstein at Presbyterian Hospital-Olmsted Memorial in Los Angeles. He grew up on Washington Place in Los Angeles (among other places, the family moved around the area a few times) along with his younger brother Ronald and little sister Ilene.
At age 9 David got his first guitar, a gift from his dad, and started taking lessons from a man who taught Spanish guitar and flamenco. He soon developed a huge passion for music (especially rock and blues) that would last a lifetime, and he had an enormous talent for playing guitar. By the age of 15, he was the youngest member of a successful band called Distortion and they played for a lot of events and at teen centers and schools around the San Fernando Valley. When David was 15, Distortion won a national Battle of the Bands and appeared on the television show, “Boss City.” One of his other favorite band accomplishments was when they opened a show for The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.
When David wasn’t busy playing guitar, he worked a few other jobs. One of his first was a paper route when he was about 9. He made a dime on each paper. He recalled that on the one day he could have made the most money, he was too sad to go to work. It was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. David had a busy intersection where he usually sold his newspapers, but on that day someone else collected all those dimes.
One of the more fun jobs he had was driving an ice cream truck. Instead of the circus music you usually heard from ‘normal’ ice cream trucks, some of David’s choices were Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Stones, Buffalo Springfield, CSN and the Beatles. Hey, it was the 60’s! He and his brother Ronnie would blast rock and roll music and collect a ton of money selling ice cream on a nice day at the park. What could be better?
David loved baseball when he was a kid. He was proud that he “lettered” in high school. He loved playing it and watching it and was a huge fan of the players. He had a massive collection of baseball cards that today would have to be locked in a safe deposit box. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Don Drysdale, Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey and Stan Musial, were some of his favorite players but that’s only a few! He chewed a lot of bubble gum to get all those, but alas and with regret, they were all lost in a home fire when he was very young.
David lived in the San Fernando Valley in Arleta and various other areas while growing up. He went to Crescent Heights Elementary, Madison Junior High, and then to James Frances Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley. After that he went to North Valley Junior College.
Even though David didn’t carry on with his musical career or baseball, he was very proud of what he did in his life. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and loved doing business and playing in the stock market, but his favorite thing was starting Blue Gem. He moved to Santa Barbara from the Valley in the early 70’s with his former wife Robin, and started Swept Away, a super fun little gift store in Picadilly Square (where Paseo Nuevo is now). The store had an extensive array of unusual things that brought people in from all over the world to shop. One of the best things in the store was the variety of greeting cards. Along with all the usual birthday and anniversary were so many entertaining and even risqué cards. Everything you could imagine! Shoppers would stand in the store for hours looking and laughing and talking about them. On one occasion there were some picketers outside protesting the content of a select few. You can imagine it brought a big grin to David’s face. There was even an article in the Santa Barbara News-Press about it and guess what!? It brought a whole new wave of curious shoppers and Swept Away became the go-to place for cards in Santa Barbara.
With the success of Swept Away, David was able to pay the mortgage on his house. When he got divorced, however, the store was the half he didn’t get, so, needing to figure out how to keep his house, he got creative with his entrepreneurial spirit. He had had some good success with a few sunglasses that he had placed in Swept Away, so there was a seed thought in his head. At the urging of a friend, he rented a wall in a booth at the L.A. Gift Show in the early 80’s. Over a single weekend David was surprised and excited to write nearly $30,000 worth of sunglass orders. “This is what I’m going to do!” he said to himself. He proceeded to warehouse sunglasses in his garage and soon hired a helper to pack and ship. It didn’t take long before Blue Gem outgrew the garage and he rented a space in an upstairs office on Milpas Street. That too was quickly outgrown and by then he had made enough money to buy a small metal building on Gutierrez Street. He shared the building with a print shop, but only a few years later, and not wanting to kick the print shop out so he could expand, he rented his half to Debbie Saucedo (Debbie’s Delights) and moved to a rented building on Montecito Street (oddly enough, right next door to another print shop). Only a short time later, he started looking for another building to house his still growing sunglass business.
By then he had met and fallen in love with Deborah Parmley and decided to get married again. A year later they sold the house on A.P.S. and moved from Santa Barbara to a home in Carpinteria in October 1989. Meanwhile, Blue Gem was again bursting at the seams. Not very long after David and Deborah moved to Carpinteria, Blue Gem, now a small corporation, bought a business condo on Rose Lane, also in Carpinteria, and gladly moved there too. In 1994 David and Deborah had a son, Connor, who at the age of 12, was to carry on David’s musical legacy.
David’s biggest loves were his family, who now survives him: His wife of 24 years Deborah (Parmley) Weinstein; daughter, Jennifer Baron (Weinstein) of Santa Barbara and grandson Rowan Dowdall; sons Mattison Lawenda (Weinstein) and Connor Weinstein, both of Carpinteria; his father, Gerald Weinstein and wife Nancy (Texas); his aunts, Helene Adrienne, Gloria Levy, and Marsha Weinstein; uncles Stan Block and Geoff Seaman; his brother Ronald Weinstein and sister Ilene Gardner. Ron’s children are Joel, Cory, Nicole, Viridiana, Jocey and Sabrina Weinstein, and Ilene’s are Eric Gardner, Elise Stoner and Ethan Gardner. There are numerous great nieces and nephews with surely more to come, and maybe even some more grandchildren? Let’s hope. Cousins Norman and Mitchell Block, Debbie Hamme and Cheryl MacDonald and Robert Levy. Plus all their family members, all much loved by David. His friends encompassed so many, and though not named, you know who you are. You were/are very much loved. He chose you as part of his family on this earth and this is a gift of the highest order. He loved his Blue Gem family too. Nina, Lisa, Carolyne, Laura, Aide, Julia, Marilu, Henry, Uru, Maria, Shawn, Sam and Matt. And others that went before, Scott, Tammy, Lupe, Sanchez family, Amanda…too many to name! You are all etched in his heart and mean/meant so much to him.
David was predeceased in 1996 by his mother, Sally (Sydelle) Weinstein; his aunt Leatrice (Weinstein) Morton and her son (David’s cousin) Steve Morton.
David has left behind a legacy of love, music, laughter, friendship and so much more. He loved his community of Carpinteria and it made him so happy to serve on the board of the Chamber of Commerce. He loved music and concerts and was particularly joyful when Connor took up the guitar and asked him for his very first lesson. (How do you play “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” Dad?) Jennifer is about to release her first cd of original songs and she too got some Daddy lessons. Mattison is passionate about building Blue Planet Eyewear to spectacular heights. Again, lots of Daddy lessons. David is SO proud of his children.
David loved “Star Wars” and thought George Lucas “broke all the barriers in film making.” He loved “Spartacus.” He loved “Napoleon Dynamite” and “The Pink Panther” and Woody Allen movies (Couldn’t STAND “The Exorcist”). He loved to watch The Ed Sullivan Show and Johnny Carson. He loved watching music videos and going to concerts. He loved going to movies and dinner. He loved playing guitar. He was very enthusiastic about collecting knives and coins as well as many guitars and music making equipment. He loved Hawaii. He had a lot of fun remodeling and had a new project every year. His favorite part of working at Blue Gem was developing new sunglass and reader lines. David’s home is a work of art, which he created. His art was so BIG sometimes he didn’t realize what an incredible artist he truly was. He dearly loved his RV and enjoyed putting cool things in it. He loved psychedelic art, he loved to outfit rooms with sound systems and electronic toys. He loved to laugh and saw humor in the goofiest things. He cried when things made him too happy or too sad or were too beautiful. He loved holding my hand and going for walks to the Bluffs. He loved sunsets. He loved us all “too much”.
David was a most special and vulnerable human being. One who cared about everyone and believed that there was enough for everyone to share. One of his mottos was “Be kind. The people you meet on the way up are the same ones who will be there on the way down”. David once described himself as this: “I’m not a black and white person. Life is everything in between and we all have the power to pick who and where we want to be”. He also said his best characteristic was “seeing the bigger picture”. He was very good at that.
David was diagnosed with lymphoma in May 2009. He did everything humanly possible to seek and find wellness and was a valiant spirit who helped everybody else get through all the angst and fear that accompany such a devastating disease. He faced it with grace and humor, and we all found ways to love each other more than we ever thought possible. If there is anything good about cancer, it helps you realize what in life is really important and all the small stuff falls away. Pneumonia was the final and insurmountable challenge. David went to the light on the afternoon of April 24, 2012 on the wings of everyone who loves him. He took with him many hearts full of love and had family and friends all around him. We miss him so very much and will hold him in our hearts forever.
I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and well wishes, the dinners you brought over, the phone calls, cards and offers of help. It was appreciated so much. Thank you to the VNA nurses for being so kind and caring, to Dr. Tom Woliver for his expert care and direction, and the numerous other doctors and healers who helped us keep it together for so long. Thank you to Mike Lazaro (and crew) for the Musical Gems concert at the Plaza Theatre. This was the last show David got to see his son Connor play in (with Jaded Cloud) and it made him intensely happy and proud. It was brilliant. Thanks to Lynda Lang, the Chamber members and volunteers for making it possible to visit the Avocado Festival’s Main Stage for a night of rock and roll. Thanks to Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer for the wonderful blessings of comfort and peace, and to the outstanding nurses at Cottage Hospital on 6C.
There will be a Celebration of David’s Life on Sunday, May 27, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Carpinteria Lion’s Club Park at 6197 Casitas Pass Road. If you enjoy music and like to make it, bring an instrument and your voices, and be sure to bring your stories too. There will be light food and drinks provided, but if you are so moved, easy to eat desserts would be welcomed. Please carpool if you can. If you cannot, please park very carefully. Cars drive fast through there sometimes, and if at all possible don’t walk in the road. Please be careful!
In David’s name and in lieu of flowers, please support either of these wonderful local organizations. Both have music at their heart and both bring happiness to those who participate.
The Rhythmic Arts Project
PMB #144m 1072 Casitas Pass Rd.
Carpinteria, CA 93013
Or, by pay pal on the TRAP
Tax ID # is: 30-0265346
c/o Musical Gems
1072 Casitas Pass Rd. #103
Carpinteria, CA 93014
Tax Id # 95-3565433
Arrangements McDermott-Crockett Mortuary