By Gina V. Ramsey
Year-round sunshine is one of the many reasons Long Beach is known for its active population. From youngsters to the young at heart, this amazing city offers something for everyone. Golfers, bay swimmers, and enthusiasts of all types tell the 908 how they stay active in the LBC.
Gary Barnes who is in his 60’s has been an avid golfer for over 40 years. A life-long resident, Gary grew up through the LBUSD system; from a Cubberley Cub, to Marshall Middle School, Millikan Ram and eventually a 49er at Cal State. He is part of a Men’s Golf Club at Skylinks and credits this as well as walking his neighborhood and meeting up with friends often with keeping him physically and socially active. His career as an “oil guy” has kept him busy traveling as well.
Gene Simpson grew up on an Iowa farm and always had big plans for himself from a very young age. The spry 80-something remembers thinking to himself that one day he would love to own a nice farm and to travel. While in his 20’s and on a business trip to Southern California, he fell in love with the Golden State, and eventually made the permanent move out west. Not only has he accomplished his childhood goals by currently owning 1,000 acres of prime farmland in Iowa that includes the farm he grew up on, he became an owner of several successful businesses, as well as a pilot. He has logged thousands of hours in hundreds of aircraft and was still flying up until a few years ago. Before he needed knee-replacement surgery, the self-proclaimed “active guy” was an ardent jogger and gym goer. After Covid shut the gyms down, he set up a home gym where he often cycles over 6 miles every few days. I’ve always been busy, it’s just the way I was made,” he said.
Wife Donna, who passed away a few years ago, learned to keep up with her globetrotting and business-building husband, but the pair always enjoyed their adventures together, collecting art pieces from travels, which decorate the beautiful Signal Hill home. Part of Gene’s daily routine includes grabbing his mail and hanging out at the local Starbucks reading his stack of business magazines and newspapers. Swiping through iPhone pictures of his lush green Iowa farmland and horses tended by one of his daughters, Gene contemplates his next land purchase. “My life has been a wild ride,” he said. As long as his doctor keeps him “tuned- up,” Gene says he has no intention of “stopping for anything.”
Amid meeting up with friends or meals, hanging out at the yacht club, reading his magazines, working the stock market, and keeping tabs on his land and businesses, it’s hard to imagine Gene ever getting bored. But whenever he needs a little change of scenery, he has the solution. “I jump on a plane and fly to Las Vegas. A few hands of high stakes baccarat gets me un-bored real quick.”