Deena Estrin Gabie
We dearly miss Deena Estrin Gabie who would have been 100 years old this month. It has been 3 years since her passing on August 1, 2017. She is still with us in thought and spirit, and the strength of her spirit and energy will always be with us.
Deena was a very positive person, an independent thinker, young minded, very accepting, open to new ideas, and way ahead of her time in many ways. It is hard to believe that she was born in the same year that women in the US were first given the full right to vote. The 19th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution four months before her birth. Deena was born in Chicago Illinois on December 21, 1920, the daughter of Russian Immigrants who emigrated to the USA to escape from the Pogroms of Europe and to start a fresh life. She had one sister and they grew up on the West Side of Chicago, across the street from Douglas Park. They learned about life while experiencing the challenging years of the great depression. This was a time when people helped each other, learned to live on a shoestring, invest in the future, and be very resourceful.
Although less than 5% of women in the US obtained college degrees in her time, Deena had the ambition, and her parents encouraged her. She was the first in her family to attend a 4-year college, graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in Business. At Berkeley she met her husband, who was in the same program. Although she loved California, they moved back to Chicago to be near her parents, where she raised her two children. Deena always had a dream to return to California, and in the late 60’s her family relocated to Orange County, California where she lived for over 30 years. For many years Deena had a tax preparation business and helped many clients.
During the last 17 years of her life, she absolutely loved living in Santa Barbara. She enjoyed being closer to family, especially her only grandson, and later developed some great, mutually supportive friends that she loved to go to lunch with. She was a regular at the Schmooze Room, where she enjoyed a sense of community, group lunches, along with educational & entertaining programs. For exercise and health, she was very active in Chi Gong with Dr. Herb Coverdale. She contributed her good health to regular practice, which she deeply enjoyed. Deena had an appreciation for life and would often drive along Cabrillo Blvd.,and stop to enjoy the ocean and get some fresh air.
Deena believed in the power of the mind. At an early age she decided that she did not want to wear eyeglasses and trained her eyes, so she never had to wear them again. Even in later years, she passed all DMV eye exams and was driving around town until her mid 90’s. Her mind was very sharp until her final days. Until the last months of her life, she managed to take very few medications, mostly relying on deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and her own research. Deena will always be an inspiration for the rest of us. Like she always said, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”