BY LOUIS C. WARD
LEESBURG – Family members, friends and loved ones showed up for their beloved Gwen Manning’s 80th birthday Wednesday evening, January 25, 2023 at Ski Beach in Leesburg, Florida.
“At first, I thought just Lynn and I were going out for dinner”, said Ms. Gwen Manning. As she saw more people that she knew come into the restaurant and sit at her large table, Ms. Manning knew something was going on.
“Many family and close friends were greeting me with ‘Happy Birthday,’ giving me a card or gift, and taking a seat next to me”, a surprised, but gleeful Ms. Manning revealed. “I figured it out; it was a surprised birthday party for me.”
Commenting how she kept the birthday event from her Mom, Lynn, Gwen’s daughter, said, “I just didn’t say anything, and everything went well.” However, Lynn “didn’t actually see her Mom’s face when she walked into the restaurant because she was behind her.” But Lynn could sense her Mom was mentally putting stuff together in her head.
“Gwen was surprised”, said Beverly Broomfield, who assisted Lynn with making the surprise birthday happen. “She only knew she was going out to dinner. I thought the whole affair was pretty decent.”
Ski Beach Bar and Grill, a relatively new restaurant situated off Lake Harris with its good service and tasty food, enhanced the celebratory event for Gwen Manning, a very much loved and respected Eustis resident and community activist.
It was nice, and I know Gwen enjoyed herself tonight, one of the participants stated.
“I wouldn’t have miss this birthday party for nothing in the world”, stated Georgette, a friend who knew Ms. Manning for more than 12 years. “Her daughter Lynn did a great job of keeping it a secret. You could tell Gwen didn’t have a clue of what was happening in the very beginning.”
“Lynn, thanks so much. I really had fun and enjoyed seeing family, friends, and loved ones,” concluded Gwen Manning.