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Quartzsite, Arizona

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another loss in Quartzsite

Monday, Dec. 22.
My heart is sad today as I learned of the death of a wonderful man, Chen, the owner of the Q Laundromat. Yesterday, I visited with him while doing laundry. He didn’t act like himself, and I asked him if he was okay. He answered, "It's just my medication". Evidently it was much more than the meds. He crossed over last night as the helicopter was taking him to Yuma. He died of asthma attack which resulted in congestive heart failure. He was a bold, large man, full of energy and life.

This morning, the atmosphere at the Q Laundromat was heavy, as people gave each other hugs, and tears flowed. Even those that really did not know him shared how much they will miss his bright greetings and thought provoking discussions.

Chen was famous for seeking ways to improve the town. He was always coming up with fresh, and sometimes wild, ideas to make Quartzsite a prosperous and welcoming place for visitors and locals. Chen supported this town in many ways, some quietly and some very boisterous. From helping the kids with their fundraisers, to handing out free coffee to customers because the town officials hadn’t approved his permit to sell espresso yet, to having clean showers available for folks, to providing turkeys for his potlucks for holidays, to lending support for local parades.

The Q became the local gathering place…because of Chen.

The day before I left town last spring, Chen and I were discussing my new project, the Desert Messenger. After listening to my vision of the paper, and how I wanted to keep the positive focus, he told me he would advertise with me the whole season. I asked him if he had a previous ad, and he told me he did not need to. But he wanted to support me by advertising. I told him I couldn’t sell advertising yet, since my business license didn’t start until September. He told me as soon as I return to town, to look him up and I did. We had many talks about the direction the town was moving, his many ideas to help that had fallen on deaf ears, and his challenges with Town Hall. He never gave up!

He made me think and I am forever grateful! We will truly miss Chen! Cheers to the Journey!
Chengwen (Carlos, Chen) Chen


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