Carolyn Sue Gibbs

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Oct. 31, 1939 – June 18, 2016

Carolyn Gibbs
Carolyn Gibbs

Adopted in Kansas in 1939, Carolyn Gibbs grew up amongst the hallmarks of middle -America quaintness: town squares, sunflower fields and Sunday family dinners. In the early 1950s, the family moved to Santa Ana, where she enjoyed an equally idyllic “Happy Days” lifestyle complete with malt shops, hot rods, sock-hops, and poodle skirts.

It was at Santa Ana High School where a 15-year-old Carolyn met the love of her life, Dave Gibbs. They were engaged in a ‘40 Ford Coupe at the Quick-Snack drive-in burger joint they frequented, and married upon her graduation from high school.

In 1966, the Gibbs family, now including 1-year-old Chad, moved to the then sleepy seaside village of Laguna Beach where Dave was an avid surfer and Carolyn sunbathed under the “palapa” at Thalia Street that Dave helped build in the early 1970s. She became well known for her skill as a seamstress during this time, sewing board shorts for all the local surfers who came to her Mystic Hills home for custom fittings.

During her 50 years in Laguna, Gibbs was a regular at the canyon tennis courts, and the family spent nearly every Thursday night at La Paz restaurant until it closed in 1983. An avid cook herself, Gibbs could replicate the La Paz salsa, frequently making large batches to share with friends and family. She will also be remembered for her elaborate, but home-style Thanksgiving dinners, amazing lemon cake and delicious waffles.

Primarily focused on her role as a wife and mother, Gibbs also worked as a dental and personal assistant. She loved to meet friends for lunch to shop and peruse flea markets, where she loved discovering new treasures to add to her vast collections of all things dog related, Old West or native American. Many will remember Gibbs for her impressive collection of Navajo jewelry, scouted from many trips through the desert southwest. The part of the trip she most enjoyed was staying at La Posada in Arizona, where she loved to relax and watch freight trains head down the tracks.

Her beloved Dave preceded Carolyn in death in 2013. Many close friends and family including her only son, Chad Gibbs, his wife Jennifer, and her grandchildren Wyatt and Emma, will miss her. Per her desire, her final resting place is at Pacific View Memorial Park, 50 yards from the “Duke,” John Wayne.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation of your time or resources in Gibbs’ name to or

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