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Busy ‘Fizzy’: La Jolla’s Phyllis Hobbs sparkles into her next century

Phyllis Hobbs celebrates her 100th birthday with three of her nieces.
Phyllis Hobbs gets the royal treatment as she celebrates her 100th birthday with three of her nieces (from left): Leslie Hopf from Hawaii, Nancy Hopf-Sintes from Arizona and Karen Hyde from Texas.
(Courtesy of Karen Hyde)

La Jolla Centenarians:

At 100, longtime La Jolla resident Phyllis Hobbs is still as bubbly as ever, maintaining the spirit that her family says embodies her nickname, “Fizzy.”

Hobbs celebrated her centennial birthday last month at a party that included family members from all over the country. It was the first time they had all been in the same room in years.

The party, which also included several friends from the past, drew such a crowd because “she’s always been Fizzy,” said Hobbs’ niece Karen Hyde. “She’s effervescent. She’s always been bubbly.”

Pointing to the tiara Hobbs wore to her party, Hyde added, “She is the queen.”

Hobbs said she “loved every morsel” of the party, including gifts of chocolate. “I adore chocolate.”

“She’s got drawers full of chocolates in her room,” Hyde said. “She loves to share.”

Hobbs was born Phyllis Hopf on June 11, 1922, in Blue Island, a city south of Chicago. She studied accounting at DePauw University in Indiana and worked at an insurance office after graduation.

She often visited her sister — Hyde’s mother — in Spring Valley and met John Hobbs, a co-worker of Hyde’s father, at a pool party during one such visit.

Phyllis and John, a native La Jollan, were married in 1954 and moved to a duplex on Nautilus Street a block from the beach.

In 1962, after a short stint in Nebraska for John’s work as an aircraft engineer, the Hobbses moved to a larger house on Mount Soledad, which Phyllis loves for the ocean views and visits often despite recently relocating to a senior care facility a short distance away.

John died in 2002. They never had children together (John had two children previously), but Phyllis remains close to the four nieces and two nephews who nicknamed her Fizzy when they were young children.

Phyllis "Fizzy" Hobbs says she loved her membership in several La Jolla clubs and organizations.
(Courtesy of Phyllis Hobbs)

“Fizzy” came from their inability to pronounce “Phyllis,” but Hyde said Fizzy is a perfect nickname: “She just is such an effervescent person.”

That energy kept Hobbs busy during her decades in La Jolla. She was active in several charitable organizations and social clubs, including the La Jolla Woman’s Club and the San Diego Humane Society.

“I loved clubs in La Jolla,” she said.

Hobbs loves animals and said she’s proud of her membership in the Humane Society’s Humane Heritage Circle.

“There wasn’t a dog in the neighborhood she didn’t know,” Hyde said.

Hobbs said she loves traveling and can’t wait to travel again. She’s been all over Europe and wants to check Russia off her list next.

But she’s “happiest when she has company,” Hyde said. “She used to always give cocktail parties at the house and have her friends over.”

“I don’t feel 100,” Hobbs said. “I don’t look 100! I feel 80 or 90.”

Asked what keeps her fizzy, she replied, “Being happy.”

La Jolla Centenarians is an occasional series in the La Jolla Light. If you know a La Jollan who is or is about to be at least 100 years old, email robert.vardon@lajollalight.com.