IN REMEMBRANCE OF PETE TOULIOS, OWNER OF LIL’ DEVILS CHILDRENS BOUTIQUE, WHO MADE 4TH STREET MORE THAN SHOPPINGBy Ellen Griley
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Pete Toulios, 33-year-old owner of Lil’ Devils Children’s Boutique on 4th Street’s Retro Row, passed away Monday. Cause of death is unknown, but Pete had been posting reports of feeling poorly on his Facebook account. His last update: "My primary care doctor is sending me back off to the ER. Wish me luck."]
In these run-ins, I was “Ellen” first—a friend-of-friends, a lifer,
part of Long Beach’s ever-expanding urban tribe of twenty-, thirty- and forty-something barflies, business owners and assorted creatives—and “editor of The District” second. That with Pete there was a difference between the two put me at ease in a way few others on the advertiser-friend continuum could manage. He was charming.
Over time, I became a loyal shopper at Lil’ Devils, dropping by to pick up gifts for babies (there’s currently a six-month-old in Portland who’s all the warmer because of him) and adults (the lucha libre thumb-wrestling masks are a guaranteed hit). Sometimes, I’d just pop in with a quick, “Hey-ya, Pete.” Just being in there felt good.
His passing is tragic, not just because of his young age, or the unexpectedness of it all, but for what was still left to be
accomplished. This was the “Year of Pete,” as he proclaimed to friends on Facebook. Not even halfway through it, he had a new love, a new kitten, and a new space (next door to his old one). Our grief is only weighed further by thoughts of everything else this Year of Pete could have held in store.
I knew Pete only casually, but like a lot of people, I’ll miss him terribly. He was, I always thought, one of the good guys: a guy I could see myself joining at AYSO games and PTA meetings sometime down the road; a guy who I would be happy to call my neighbor and friend here in Long Beach; a guy who could be counted upon to work to improve
our city. He was already making it better. May he rest in peace.