Katie Cortez Long Beach lifeguard Sean Guerin helps Mary Thoits during her morning swim in Downtown Long Beach last Summer.
Katie Cortez
Long Beach lifeguard Sean Guerin helps Mary Thoits during her morning swim in Downtown Long Beach last Summer.

Story By Ana Maria Ramirez and Jon Peacock/Staff Writers

A true legend will turn into a legacy on Sunday, June 7, as the LBCC Foundation honors senior center coordinator Mary Thoits on her 92nd birthday.
A brunch and fashion show is planned in the LAC Studio Theatre at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $50 and may be purchased by calling (562) 938-4846.
Thoits has shown a passion for living her life. According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, she received her pilot’s license in 1941 and then went on to become a commercial flight instructor.
World War II broke out and she joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots and she flew military aircrafts. After the war, Thoits spent 15 years helping plan events at U.S. and European bases.
According to the Press-Telegram, on Thoits’ 85th birthday, she went skydiving and on her 87th birthday, she spent the day flying a small plane around Catalina.
Thoits is currently managing the senior center program and has been doing so since she started the program in 1977. Thoits wanted to bring older adults into the college and allow them to have a college experience to keep their mind active.
Today, the Mary Thoits Senior Studies Center offers an array of activities for the seniors. The weekly tour is one of the most popular activities that is organized by the center.
“One of our most popular tours is the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena. It is so popular that we have a waiting list,” Thoits said. Two tours to the Rose Bowl are planned each semester.
Originally, the class began with the concept of a geography class. Soon, Thoits discovered that touring was a good way to engage seniors into coming to college. The class is self-supportive and a non-credit course.
Many other tours are planned with some being so popular that 500 people sign up when there is only 50 seats on the bus. Due to the limited space, some of the tours are repeated twice in one semester. Participants can be any age to take a tour.
In an interview with the Press-Telegram, Thoits said, “I think the concept of retirement is grossly overrated. … They can retire to something else, but not to pull back from society. The want to understand what is happening in the world and to be a part of it.”