La Jollans fondly remember the late Alfonso de Bourbon,


By Dave Schwab

Alfonso de Bourbon, 83, was someone nearly everyone in La Jolla recognized … but hardly anyone knew.

Since his tragic, accidental death on Jan. 11 when he was pinned between the loading dock and dumpster bin at Jonathan’s Market by a tractor/trailer driver who was unaware of his presence, the town has been buzzing with Bourbon stories.

A memorial service for Bourbon, a native of New York, is planned for 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20 at Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 7669 Girard Ave., where he was a parishioner. For more details, call the church at (858) 454-2631.

“He was a colorful part of La Jolla,” said Janet Becker, a Jonathan’s market employee who identified the body of the eccentric, flamboyant and well-mannered Bourbon. “All the business people knew him. He was a nice man.”

La Jolla Town Council President Rick Wildman said he knew Bourbon well.

“He owned the condo he lived in,” said Wildman, who’d been a guest at Bourbon’s home. “His home was immaculate, with lots of pictures of beautiful women he’d dated.”

Noting Bourbon always had an eye for the ladies, Wildman said Bourbon would ask of him, “Would you talk to some of the women that you know and tell them I would be happy to escort them if they would buy me dinner?”

Chris Stokes, former executive director of Promote La Jolla added, “He was definitely one of those characters in the Village that you never forgot once you met him. He’d been around so long — it’s like he’d always been there.”

Community planner Joe LaCava said Bourbon “was just one of those institutions that everyone seemed to know about … he added a little bit of color and history to La Jolla. He seemed to be everywhere and know everyone. He is going to be missed.”

Bourbon was known for his daily strolls through the Village and as a storyteller. One yarn Bourbon related, turned out likely to be true: He was of royal lineage.

“Our understanding is he was the illegitimate son of the prince of Spain who was third in line to the throne,” said Nancy Warwick, owner of Warwick’s Bookstore. “He had a book about it that he wrote. He came in almost every day for half an hour before closing and just found a chair and read. He liked books about World War II. As he got older, he would fall asleep.”

Warwick’s was part of Bourbon’s daily pilgrimage about town after having dinner nearby at Girard Gourmet.

Diana Goedhuys, restaurant co-owner, said Bourbon ordered the exact same item off the menu every day and paid for it with exact change, $5.93, enough for a cup of coffee.

She said most folks, politely ignored his advances.

“A woman came in here yesterday who did exactly that with him for years, and she saw him coming out of the post office at 4 p.m. the other day, and instead of ignoring him she said hello and wished him a happy new year. That was two hours before he died. It completely spooked her.”

In Memory

A memorial service for Alfonso de Bourbon, a native of New York, is tentatively planned for Friday, Jan. 20 at Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church where he was a parishioner. Details are forthcoming.