Home > Long Beach 101, The Boulevardier > IN REMEMBRANCE OF PETE TOULIOS, OWNER OF LIL’ DEVILS CHILDRENS BOUTIQUE, WHO MADE 4TH STREET MORE THAN SHOPPING

IN REMEMBRANCE OF PETE TOULIOS, OWNER OF LIL’ DEVILS CHILDRENS BOUTIQUE, WHO MADE 4TH STREET MORE THAN SHOPPING

PETE TOULIOS (ON THE RIGHT), 1977-2010

[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.”]

BY ELLEN GRILEY
I knew Pete only casually—ours was an acquaintance made over credit card transactions and Facebook status updates—but he still made me feel like a friend. He was quick with a cute smile and a warm hug and, always, it seemed, an introduction to another friend. Whether he was inside his Fourth Street baby boutique, Lil’ Devils—or outside it, smoking—or at any of our many mutual haunts (Alex’s comes to mind), I never saw him standing alone.

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.

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  1. May 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Beautiful.

  2. May 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Well said, Ellen.

  3. May 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    thanks, ellen. you are exactly right … i am saddest for all the times we had yet to spend together. ❤ pete's warm smile will forever light up the hearts of those who were lucky enough to know him. he was a dear friend and will be greatly missed.

  4. Michelle or Estro Jen
    May 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Lil Devils will be having a memorial tomorrow at the shop, 2218 e. 4th street. Bring any words of remembrance. There will be many readings.

    Well put Ellen. He always got extra excited when you came around and appreciated every conversation. Thank you.

    Xo, estro jen

    • Diane Gershuny
      May 18, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      estro: what time is the memorial at the shop?

  5. cheryl
    May 20, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I want to express my sadness as is everyone who mourns pete’s untimely death. i feel like i was a “second mom” to he and john with pete calling me “old bag” with much affection. My daughter sarah tomlin berberich introduced me to pete and “little pete” ( john) way back in the beginning of high school and from then on those two brothers became part of our family. i keep thinking of all the little and big things that pete was a part of in our lives. Like when our beloved dog bubba passed away, pete was right there comforting sarah as he always loved our boy and said he wanted to clone our bubba by one of his whiskers. Christmas day will never be the same as john and pete always took the time to stop by for their holiday visit and we always had good laughs, good company. i can only imagine what pete’s family is going through, to lose a child is not the way things should go. i only hope people will think of good times with pete as we will and how sorely he will be missed. we love you pete and i only hope that there really is a place like heaven and that pete you are up there smoking too much………..love cheryl

  6. Elizabeth Brignoni
    May 21, 2010 at 10:16 am

    HELLO EVERYONE,

    I MET PETE AT UCR WE WORKED TOGETHER ON A PROJECT FOR THE “HEALTHY FAMILIES” STUDY WITH DR. TINSLEY. PETE WAS ONE OF THE STUDENTS WHO HELPED RUN THAT STUDY. WE GOT TO KNOW EACH OTHER WELL. HE WAS ALWAYS THERE WHEN I NEEDED HIM AND ALWAYS THERE WITH SOMETHING TO SAY THAT WOULD MAKE YOU LAUGH. WE GOT TO KNOW EACH OTHER PRETTY WELL THEN. MY DAUGHTER ASHLEY USED TO SAY HE LOOKED LIKE SUGAR RAY (THE SINGER). WHEN I DIDN’T HAVE A SITTER I’D TAKE MY KIDS ASHLEY AND RYAN WITH ME HE SPEND TIME WITH THEM.HE’D GO DOWN IN THE ELEVATOR AND SHAKE IT. ASHLEY GOT SCARED BUT SHE LOVED IT AND TALKED OF IT FOR YEARS TO COME. I TOLD HIM I LOVED BAKLAVA AND HE BROUGHT ME SOME TO EAT! HOW WONDERFUL THAT WAS OF HIM. HE CRACKED ME UP WITH HIS IMPRESSIONS OF HIS MOM HAVING HOT FLASHES. WHEN THE PROJECT WAS OVER I MOVED AWAY TO PR, BUT NEVER LOST TOUCH WITH PETE. WE EMAIL BACK AND FORTH. NOT TOO MANY TIMES AS HE WAS A BUSY PERSON ALWAYS DOING SOMETHING, BUT WHEN HE COULD HE’D DROP ME A LINE AND LET ME KNOW HOW HE WAS DOING. EVERYWHERE I MOVED TO WE’D KEEP IN TOUCH & BELIEVE ME I MOVED AROUND! WE FOUND EACH OTHER ON FB AGAIN. WE WERE SO HAPPY TO BE IN TOUCH WITH HIM ON A REGULAR BASIS AGAIN. READING HIS POSTS AND LOOKING AT HIS PIX. I FELT HE TOOK ME WITH HIM ON HIS LONG TRIP TO SEE FRIENDS AND FAMILY. I WAS SO HAPPY THAT HE WAS ABLE TO DO THIS AND THEY WERE ABLE TO SPEND THAT TIME TOGETHER BEFORE THE LORD CALLED HIM.

    I WON’T BE ABLE TO GO ONTO FB AGAIN AND NOT THINK OF HIM AND WISH HE WERE POSTING SOMETHING FUNNY, OR JUST TYPE TO HIM AND SAY HELLO. I PRAY HE IS AT PEACE AND PRAY FOR HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY GET THROUGH THIS VERY HARD TIME AHEAD. I KNOW LIFE FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SAW HIM ON A DAILY BASIS OR SAW HIM IN PERSON WHENEVER YOU DID WILL NOT BE THE SAME. I PRAY FOR ALL OF US TO GIVE US STRENGTH AND CON’T ON AS WE HAVE TO, BUT WILL NEVER FORGET HIM. HE WAS TRULY LOVED BY MANY. … LOVE LIZ

  7. Sara Cramer (Stukey)
    October 16, 2014 at 11:57 am

    You will be missed Pete

  1. June 15, 2010 at 10:43 pm

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