Hilliard L. Gibbs Sr. will celebrate his 90th birthday in a novel way that pays tribute to his contributions to the community.
A lifetime citizen and businessman of Haywood County, NC, Gibbs is the first African American in Waynesville, NC, to open his own auto body shop, Gibbs’ Paint & Body.
The family is planning a surprise party and car show for Gibbs on Saturday, Nov. 9, in Waynesville.
Gibbs started learning automobile repair through his work at Champion Paper and Skyland Olds in Asheville. He started working on automobile repairs on Main Street, Waynesville, at the Scruggs Service Station.
Then he began working on T-model and A model restorations at Hazelwood Trucking, completing repairs on fleet vehicles.
Having gained many years of experience in auto body repairs and working at various other shops, Gibbs opened his own shop on Wall Street in Waynesville. He retired at the age of 66, and in retirement, he specialized in restoring classic cars.
Gibbs served on the board of directors of Haywood Tech, the Kiwanis Club, the Waynesville Housing Authority board and the Sheriff’s Advisory Committee. He has worked in the automotive repair industry for nearly 70 years.
As a celebration of his birthday, the family is asking for his past and present customers to bring their automobiles (cars or trucks), from 1944 to the present, that he worked on during the 70 years of service.
The customer/car show event will take place at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center, 450 Pigeon St., Waynesville, Nov. 9. Vehicle parking will be available in the basketball/ playground area in the rear of the building.
Participants for the event are asked to arrive from noon to 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 9. All are invited to come and help celebrate Gibbs’ 90th birthday and get reacquainted.
The family will appreciate everyone’s company and said Hilliard will be glad to see all. Past customers who will attend the event, are asked to contact his son, Hilliard Gibbs Jr., at 334-559-1190, prior to Nov. 8.
“Please do not contact Hilliard Gibbs Sr. about this event,” said Hilliard Gibbs Jr. “It’s a surprise for him.”