Barbara Nell Gwen

Jan 22, 1931 - May 22, 2021


Barbara Nell Gwen passed away while sleeping at home in Sacramento, California, on May 22nd, 2021.

Barbara is survived by her brothers Sidney Newman, Tobias “Toby” Mitchell, Donald Mitchell, Chauncey Mitchell and Paul Mitchell; her daughter, Bonita Darlene Gwen; her son, Barry Keith Gwen; her grandchildren, George Dunning, Jr., Brittany BarVannah Dunning and Barry “BJ” Leodis Gwen, Jr.; and her great-grandchildren, Hilon Elijah Dunning, Khalil Elias Dunning and Amour Gwen. She was pre-deceased by her parents; her brother, Wheeler Manning; her husband, Leodis Gwen; and her life-partner, Lafayette West.

Barbara was born on January 22, 1931, in Kountz, Texas, to Randall Howard Manning and Mary Manning. She was introduced to Leodis Gwen by her brother, Sidney Newman, and married him in San Francisco, California where they raised their two children. She was a devoted housewife and mother who shared, among many things, her love of cooking with her family. She attended junior college and became a certified medical assistant, but found great joy in bartending which she did for 25 years in San Francisco at Happy Daze.

Family was very important to Barbara. As a loving mother, she ensured that her children were involved in a variety of activities and was an active member in their schools’ parent-teacher associations. As a grandmother, she showered each of her grandchildren with her unconditional love, warmth and favorite meals that only Grandma B could prepare.

Cooking was an effortless art for Barbara and she loved sharing her creations with family and friends. You would never go hungry in her home and everything she made had soulful, southern flare. She loved being in the kitchen, even when she was no longer able to prepare meals herself, and was happy to share her recipes.

Barbara was an intelligent, beautiful, strong woman with flawless skin. Her fun, cheerful personality drew people to her, but her genuineness and compassion made her essential in the life of anyone fortunate enough to meet her. As a bartender, she knew all of her customers by name and drink preference. She loved a good drink and would start preparing her many returning customers’ drinks before they even sat down at the bar. For the lucky few, she would even have homemade meals to accompany their beverage.

Barbara will be dearly missed by those whose lives she graced, but the memories of her will be with us all for a lifetime.

Barbara Nell Gwen…rest in love, light and happiness.


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