Rialto business owners hold memorial for homeless man

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iecn photo/yazmin alvarez Carmen Palmer, owner of Eddy P’s Boutique in Rialto, held a memorial inside a back room of her downtown shop to honor George Gutierrez, a homeless man who frequented downtown businesses and kept busy doing odd jobs for shop owners.

George Gutierrez may have lacked a home and money in Rialto, but the 46-year-old did not lack a community of friends.

A memorial Saturday at Eddy P’s Boutique in downtown Rialto brought more than 50 people to remember Gutierrez, who was found dead Jan. 5.

“He was so unbelievably perfect,” said Carmen Palmer, owner of Eddy P’s. “He was beautifully and wonderfully made. And while most people didn’t see what we were able to see because they couldn’t look past the aesthetic of what they thought a man should be, he was an amazing man and was our brother.”

Palmer, along with several other area shop owners regarded Gutierrez as a big-hearted, music-loving and always smiling individual.

“He never asked for anything,” said Ramona Parks, owner of A Fresh Start Beauty Salon. “He worked for the things he needed to get by in life and never took advantage of those offering help.”

Parks met Gutierrez in 1999 and in those 18 years he was seen as more than a friend, “He became family,” she said.

“He came into my life by chance but became my brother by choice. George was something else and we all knew that,” Parks said.

Along with business owners, several frequent customers of local shops and Gutierrez’s sisters including Gloria Hall, attended the memorial.

The cause of his death had not yet been determined and family was still waiting for police and coroner’s reports as of Tuesday, Hall said.

Though family didn’t know where Gutierrez spent his nights, he was happy with the life he was living, Hall said.

“He was definitely taken care of here and we’re thankful for that. For them to take the time and have something for him, says a lot. It brings the community together and in this day and age we need that. This shows that a sense of community is still around.”

Gutierrez was the 11th of 12 children and a native to Rialto. He attended Dunn Elementary, Rialto Junior High School and Eisenhower High School.

Family will be holding services for Gutierrez including a viewing from 11 a.m. to noon Jan. 21 at Hermosa Gardens Cemetery in Colton, 900 Meridian Street. A memorial service will follow from noon to 1p.m.

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