It has been nearly a year since we lost one of Coronado’s most celebrated citizens. As we approach what many feel is our best community holiday, it seems appropriate that we remember Jeff “Bones” Wilkens and raise a toast to him in the friendly manner for which he was famous.
Bones was best known in his later years as one of the founders and host of the Island Beer Club. He claimed he “peaked” at 14 years old when, in Coronado, he pitched a perfect Pony league game; but those who knew him know better. He was successful in all that he did, but he excelled at making strangers and newcomers to Coronado feel comfortable and accepted the moment they met him.
It takes a special person to invite a gaggle of people into your personal space for over 15 years to share conversations and fellowship… and yes, to drink beer. Bones, and his gracious wife Loie, did exactly that, weekly, greeting lifelong friends and strangers alike with open arms and an open heart. Whether you grew up on the “Rock,” lived here decades or were a part-time resident; you felt welcome because Jeff would introduce you to so many other members. Regardless of your political ilk or economic status, his genuine openness in encouraging relationships paid rich dividends for our community then and continues today. Not everyone came to the IBC Headquarters to drink beer, but we all came to socialize with other members and Bones made that happen. Even in these days of social distancing, it is rare an IBC member goes anywhere on this island without encountering a fellow beer club member.
Yes, we should all raise a toast to Bones Wilkens on the 4th and then emulate his community spirit.