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Retired magician makes reappearance at children’s center in Citrus Heights

Retired magician Glen Gibson hosts a magic show at the Sayonara Center in Citrus Heights on May 15, 2023. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
When local Meals on Wheels volunteers discovered one of their customers was a magician, they asked the 87-year-old if he would visit children at the Sayonara Center.

After eight decades practicing magic, Glen Gibson was happy to perform for children at the center on Monday, May 15. Although now retired, he spent 20 years performing at casinos in the South Lake Tahoe area, eventually becoming president of the Society of American Magicians, according to a profile published by Meals on Wheels.

On Monday, Gibson’s slight of hand left children at the center dumbfounded as objects disappeared and reappeared. In an interview afterward, he said he enjoyed interacting with children at the center.

Gibson moved to Citrus Heights with his wife and family in the early 1990s and operated a business repairing counter tops, while traveling to South Lake Tahoe for performances, he said.

Councilwoman Jayna Karpinski-Costa and Planning Commissioner Natalee Price, who both volunteer for Meals on Wheels, called Gibson one of the “hidden gems” in Citrus Heights.

“We have some wonderful people on our route that we get to see time after time, see how they’re doing,” Karpinski-Costa said.

Gibson’s hobbies include flying remote control aircraft, HAM radio operation and cooking. He also says he’s earned recognition from the Tahoe National Forest Service thanking him for his role as Smoky the Bear.

The Sayonara Center is located on Sayonara Drive in Citrus Heights, first opening in 2006 to serve kids with after-school programs, homework help, and meals. In 2012, the Center re-opened in a new 2,700-square-foot facility, with the help of a federal grant.

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