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Shores fixture throws party for friends

La Jollan Bill Gibbs decided to do something special for his 99th birthday: He threw a party for his friends in La Jolla Shores.

Well known as a devoted beach walker at the Shores, Gibbs served up a repast of doughnuts, coffee and juice for his pals on Friday morning.

“He’s such a generous person,” said longtime friend Betty Gavin, who’s walked with him for years along the Shores boardwalk. “It was a birthday present to the surfers.”

Earlier in the week Gibbs had a birthday bash at La Jolla Shores Hotel, formerly the Sea Lodge.

“He’s got a good soul,” Gavin added. “He’s still very active.”

Gibbs also remains popular. “Talk to anybody at the Shores,” Gavin said. “They’ll tell you they know about him.”

Birthday boy Bill Gibbs said 99 wasn’t such a big deal. “Wait till 100.” He was feted so much last week by Kiwanis, the Salvation Army and others that he wanted to give back.

“I decided I’d take a little party to them,” he said. “I was surprised at how many old friends I met.”

Gibbs, an aviator who taught flying where Montgomery Field is now in Kearny Mesa, is already gearing up for his centennial birthday celebration next year.

“We’ve already made a deposit at the San Diego Air & Space Museum,” he said. “That’s where I had my 90th birthday and 497 people signed the book.”

— Dave Schwab