Shaun's Memorial Truly Reflected a Celebration

Friends and family speak at Shaun Lumachi's Celebration of Life

12:15pm | The sky was dusted with gloom but the sun wasn't needed for light. Speckles of rain painted the Hotel Maya but even nature's tears couldn't stop human ones from shedding. I am not one for superfluous commentary (in fact, I rarely, if ever, use "I" in a piece), but there is little doubt that the memorial for Shaun Lumachi this past Saturday unequivocally lived up to its subtitle: a celebration of life.

Though slated for 11:00am, the gathering area for the event -- a white awning-covered courtyard that overlooked the entire South Waterfront of Long Beach, thanks entirely to Hotel Maya General Manager Kristi Allen -- was already cloistered with people come 10:30am. The scope of Shaun's reach was undeniably obvious, as the crowd represented everyone from city officials to business owners to educators to people who simply claimed "no title -- just friend." It was, in the words of Long Beach Post advisor Jay Davis, a true testament to Shaun's "amazing ability to maintain a variety of friendships and make each and every one of those friendships feel special."

At 11:15am, there was still a line stretched out from the entrance, where visitors were putting on their "What Would Shaun Do?" bracelets and patiently waiting to get under the awning. It was, in succinct terms, Long Beach itself walking around. It was, in more poetic terms, a living portrait of Shaun's incredible talent and depth with human interaction and connection.

The metaphor of rain has always been one that gravitates towards the best of artists and thinkers, invoking sadness, cleansing, and renewal. Even for Shaun's adamantly objective approach to life and its problems, it shouldn't be shocking that in the end, when those who knew him best approached the podium to say their goodbyes, a metaphor came showering down. In fact, the rain began just as the ceremony started, where Supervisor Don Knabe proudly proclaimed, "[Shaun] came to par-TAY!" And just as it begun, following the last words of Deziré Lumachi, his wife, the rain abruptly cleared.

In fact, the ceremony's first speaker, Mayor Bob Foster, stated quite eloquently, "Words fail to convey the tragic sense of loss and the pain we all feel at Shaun's passing. You'll hear today many times that Shaun was a special person, that he was a talented, bright, sensitive leader who loved Long Beach. Those words will also fail to convey the accuracy of that description and the affection he held for this city." One of Shaun's closest friends, David Sommers, declared that "there are no words to describe my love for Shaun."

Words failed many in describing their relationship with Shaun that day, but in perfect alignment with the style that was so distinctly Shaun, since he was unable to speak for himself and was unable to help those he deeply cared for get their points more succinctly across… Well, he got nature to do it for him.

It is rather ironic that all of the speeches, though being generated by words, are highly difficult to capture in soundbites here, particularly those from Ryan Alsop and Mr. Sommers. Each address was filled with such individual syntax, with such a distinct diction, with such an overwhelming particular call of character, that only replicating them in their entirety would remotely touch the surface of their immense depth. It is here I deeply encourage you to watch some of those addresses on the video provided.

But despite this lack of words, despite this inability to recapture particular moments of the memorial, each speaker and each attendee all understood the power with which Shaun approached life -- and that is something that moves beyond this particular event and even indeed moves beyond words. Councilmember Robert Garcia repeated through his address one of Shaun's most common mantras, "What's next?" to the point of reminding us that milestones, at least for Mr. Lumachi, were not pauses in the movie but invisible chapter switches on your Blu-Ray; one has to continually ask one's self what they are to do next without the fundamentals of your story going awry. It most certainly made me ask myself that very question and made me ponder, as I am sure many did, about how I can better my self, my environment, and the future at hand.

Nothing could have been a more perfect answer than the one provided by Deziré, who read an e-mail Shaun had written to a friend in 2009 at the closing of the memorial: "The only thing that is important is to do something."

The Long Beach Post would like to again thank Hotel Maya General Manager Kristi Allen for her support, dedication, and generosity in creating such an event. Our gratitude, along with the Lumachi Family, is immeasurable.

December 17, 11:45pm |
Friends and family spoke today at the Celebration of Life for Long Beach Post publisher and community leader Shaun Lumachi.

Speakers included Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Mike Murray, Jay Davis, Randy Gordon, Ryan Alsop, Dave Sommers, Long Beach City Councilmember Robert Garcia, and Shaun's wife Deziré Lumachi.

December 17, 9:00am |
For those unable to attend today's ceremony, the Long Beach Post will proudly be streaming it live for your convenience. To share your thoughts and condolences, we encourage you to tweet your thoughts on Twitter via #ShaunLumachi and watch the feed as it grows to create a beautiful stream of live reflections and thoughts about the people who cared for and worked with Shaun.
 
December 16, 11:00am | Shaun's Celebration of Life will take place this Saturday, December 17 at 11:00am at the Hotel Maya in Downtown Long Beach. Those attending are encouraged to dress semi-casual.  No ties or formal wear.

In addition, parking on site will be FREE, and overflow parking will be made available. Guests are also encouraged to park in Downtown Long Beach and take the Passport Shuttle. The Passport drops off at the Hotel Maya every 12 minutes.

December 12, 1:40pm | Amongst family and close friends from both southern and northern California, Shaun Lumachi was laid to rest in a mausoleum next to his grandparents this morning outside of his hometown of Hercules. The ceremony was held at the St. Joseph's Cemetary in the city of San Pablo, about 70 miles west of Sacramento.

As schedued, a public celebration of life here in Long Beach for Shaun has been set for Saturday, December 17, at 11:00am, at the Hotel Maya. Shaun's friends have come together to launch the Shaun Lumachi Memorial Fund.

Checks can be made payable to the "Shaun Lumachi Memorial Fund" and mailed to:

SHAUN LUMACHI MEMORIAL FUND
PO BOX 32475
LONG BEACH, CA 90832

Please note that all all donations are considered and intended to be gifts under the IRS code and are therefore not tax deductible.


December 7, 1:20pm | 
Sgt. Joseph Mosca, a member of the Florida Highway Patrol on the scene of the accident that claimed the life of Long Beach Post co-founder and publisher Shaun Lumachi, spoke with the Long Beach Post Monday afternoon regarding the incident. 

According to Mosca, at 11:30am Saturday, a 1994 Ford F-150 traveling northbound on US Route 1 veered into the southbound lane at the 21.5 mile marker and struck the rental car in which Lumachi was riding with Erick Serrato and Larry Rice. 

Mosca said the truck's driver, Keith Weitzman, a 25-year-old Florida Keys resident, told police he had fallen asleep at the wheel -- and that he had, in fact, begun to nod off several times immediately prior to the crash.  

Police say Weitzman showed no signs of driving under the influence, and that he was "candid and lucent" on the scene. Police did not obtain a blood sample from Weitzman, however, because according to Mosca they are not allowed to ask for one without probable cause. 

Weitzman suffered head trauma and was eventually flown to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he remained as of Sunday. His infant son, who was properly restrained in truck's back seat, was uninjured. 

Mosca said that paramedics were able to evoke minor movement from Lumachi as they transported him to the hospital, but that shortly his vital signs flat-lined, and paramedics were unable to reverse the situation. Nonetheless, medical staff at Lower Keys Medical Center continued the efforts upon Lumachi's arrival, to no avail. 

"By the looks of it, the doctors took great efforts to try to revive him," Mosca said, "but he never came back." 

Mosca stated that Serrato, who was driving the rental car, had less than a second to react to the oncoming truck and "did so as best he could. … There is nothing else that Mr. Serrato could have done. He did exactly what I as a trained professional would have done. … Unfortunately, Mr. Lumachi was in exactly in the wrong place." 

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, Mosca said, and charges against Weitzman are pending. 
 
December 6, 1:28pm | A public celebration of life for Shaun Lumachi has been set for Saturday, December 17, at 11:00am, at the Hotel Maya. The celebration will include music, food, and remembrances from those closest to Shaun.

"We are committed to celebrating Shaun's extraordinary life and his contributions to Long Beach and the organizations he served," said Councilman Robert Garcia.  "Shaun loved a good party, and we are going to throw him a big one."

In addition, Shaun's friends have come together to launch the Shaun Lumachi Memorial Fund.  The fund has been set up to assist Dezire with any expenses, funeral costs, and to support her over these next difficult months.

Long Beach Chamber of Commerce President Randy Gordon has agreed to serve as Chair of the Memorial Fund.

Checks can be made payable to the "Shaun Lumachi Memorial Fund" and mailed to:

SHAUN LUMACHI MEMORIAL FUND
PO BOX 32475
LONG BEACH, CA 90832

Please note that all all donations are considered and intended to be gifts under the IRS code and are therefore not tax deductible.

11:20am | Deziré Lumachi is in Florida near the site of Shaun's accident, working to get Shaun's body back home to California. Estimates are that he'll arrive by this Wednesday. She continues to extend her deepest gratitude to those who have reached out, stating they give her the strength to keep moving forward during this immensely sad time.

December 5, 2:30pm | The wife of Shaun Lumachi, Deziré, released the following statement to the Long Beach Post:

"The outpouring of support to me and to Shaun’s family over the past 24 hours has been humbling and meant more than I will ever be able to express. I have not yet been able to return all the voicemails, emails, and text messages I have received, but please keep them coming – your words have kept me going through this tragedy.

"We are bringing Shaun home from Florida in the next few days and are working on arrangements for a funeral service near his hometown and a public memorial in Long Beach. I will be sure to share details as soon as they are set.
 
"Shaun belonged to each of us. He belonged to Long Beach and it meant so much to him to be able to serve this community"

December 5, 12:00pm | The Long Beach Post is compiling a list of statements and thoughts from those closest to Shaun, both professionally and personally. Check back throughout the day as our list expands and grows.

Senator Rod Wright,

“It is with great sadness that we reflect on the passing of Shaun Lumachi, a brilliant and personable young man, whose very life was intertwined in the essence of our community.  No one can count the number of days given to us, and so we should each live life as did Shaun Lumachi, namely driven by purpose, constantly fulfilling goals and yet always willing to take a moment to say hello to everyone in our path.  I offer my deepest condolences on his tragic passing, and wish strength and love to his widow, Dezire, and to the legion of friends and fans who all are understandably stunned by this terrible loss.”  
Long Beach City Manager Pat West,
"Shaun was such a valued community partner, who was always willing to help with his time, energy, enthusiasm and most of all creativity.  Shaun's service as the Chair of our Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board was one just many, many ways Shaun demonstrated his commitment to Long Beach.  Long Beach truly is a better place because of Shaun's service, dedication, and love for our community and we miss him terribly." 

Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser,
"Shaun Lumachi was a great friend to us in the Long Beach Unified School District. He was always there when we needed a helping hand. He served on the Long Beach Education Foundation board, helping to build bridges with the business community with special events like Principal for Day. He recently was influential in the passage of state legislation to benefit our college readiness efforts, and he provided behind-the-scenes support to public education in countless other ways. Shaun made a lasting impact upon our schools during his brief life. Our students and schools will miss him dearly, and I will miss his warm friendship. On behalf of our entire school district, I extend my deepest sympathy to Shaun's family and friends."  

Long Beach City Auditor Laura Doud,
"My sincere condolences and prayers go out to Dezire and Shaun's family at this very difficult time.  We are all deeply saddened by Shaun's passing but are blessed for his willingness to give so much of his time, talents, and himself to our community.  Long Beach is a much better place because of his devoted service." 
 
Councilmember Gary DeLong,
"Shaun Lumachi was a great friend, and one of the most creative, energetic and enthusiastic people I ever met.  About everything.  Shaun was great to collaborate with, a compassionate friend, and he possessed an amazing ability to offer alternative views that never occurred to the rest of us. He had the wisdom of an 80 year old, and the energy of a 20 year old. Shaun's passing has left a hole in the rest of us. RIP my friend."

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster,
"The City of Long Beach has lost a valued member of the City’s family today, and a loved and respected leader in our community. Our hearts grieve for Shaun and his family. This senseless tragedy has taken an incredible human being from us much too early."

L.A. Supervisor Don Knabe,
"I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn of of the tragic death of Shaun Lumachi.  Shaun was a great friend and loyal supporter.  He was a young man devoted to Long Beach, deeply involved in many local organizations.  He believed in the importance of active civil participation as evident by his hard work and commitment to the Long Beach Post and keeping the community informed and engaged.  Julie and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family at this very difficult time."

California Senator Alan Lowenthal,
"It is with great regret and a sad heart that I learned of the untimely passing of Shaun Lumachi. He was an innovator, a tireless champion for Long Beach, and a consummate professional. His voice and passion will be greatly missed. My staff and I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Shaun's family and friends." 

December 4, 12:00pm | The Long Beach Post has spoken to those closest with Shaun and the events that occurred in Florida. We have learned that after a red-eye flight into Miami, Shaun and two business associates rented a car in St. Petersburg to travel around before attending their conference for the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network the following day. Shaun and fellow attendee, Larry Rice, sit on the board; city employee Erick Serrato was also with Shaun.

Shaun, feeling tired and wanting to relax in the backseat, opted out of driving. He then moved into the driver's-side backseat, while Larry sat in the passenger seat and Erick drove. Coming upon an intersection, a pick-up truck on the opposing side began to drift into oncoming traffic; the driver had fallen asleep with his baby in the vehicle.

Erick, unable to have too much time to react, swerved right. The pick-up smashed into their large rental car, with the back driver's-side taking the brunt of the impact. Shaun was pseudo-conscious after the impact, Larry and Eric holding his hand before he was pulled from the wreck by emergency personnel.

Though Larry broke his hand, he was, along with Erick, released from the hospital with bruises and scratches; the driver of the pick-up as well as his baby also walked away with minor injuries.

Larry and Erick, unable to properly attend the conference, will be returning to Long Beach later today.

CORRECTION: Erick Serrato's name was initially spelled 'Eric' in the original publication; also, his last name was unknown at the time of publication and has since been added.

December 3 | Shaun Lumachi, publisher of the Long Beach Post, local innovator, brilliant businessman, and avid community leader, has passed away due to a fatal car accident while he was in Miami representing the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network. His passion for creating a better and more connected community here in Long Beach is only a fraction of his accomplishments in his short 33 years. For the respect of his wife, family, and friends, the details of Shaun's passing will be held until the Long Beach Post feels the moment is more appropriate.

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