San Diego Living Legend Gordy Shields dies at age 95

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Recently honored by the San Diego County Libraries and artist Mona Mills as one of San Diego’s Local Legends, Gordy Shields, teacher, counselor, cycling advocate and activist died on Sunday, June 30 at the age of 95 from complications of heart surgery.

Recently honored by the San Diego County Libraries and artist Mona Mills as one of San Diego’s Local Legends, Gordy Shields, teacher, counselor, cycling advocate and activist died on Sunday, June 30 at the age of 95 from complications of heart surgery.

Recognized for his years of civility and civic engagement, there is now the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge, named in his honor of his unrelenting commitment to cyclers’ rights, and his passion in making the 24 mile, five-city from San Diego to Coronado Bayshore Bikeway a dream come reality in his lifetime.

A bullhorn and founding member of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, Shields is credited with providing San Diego cyclist with designated bike paths, bridges, shared lane marking and safe passageways for bike enthusiasts, a sport he came to love personally and professionally at the age of 50.

A long-time resident of Fletcher Hills, Shields taught at Grossmont High School, and then became a counselor at the Grossmont College in 1965. 

Picking up competitive riding later in life, Shields holds the national time trial records for three age groups and earned multitude of Senior Olympic medals and national championships over his cycling career.

At the grand showing of the Living Legends travelling exhibit at the El Cajon Library Branch, Shields said that his doctor created the motto, “Keep Gordy alive until he is 95, and by golly I made it,” he said.

This was the typical humor of a kind-hearted man.

Director José Aponte, San Diego County Library said his relationship with Gordy was and is intimately personal.

“For me he symbolizes everyman’s (every woman’s) quest for the spirited adventure and our personal journey to reconnect with our inner child,” said Aponte. “With regard the responsibilities of citizenship he personified civility and positive engagement for cycling and sustainability…while we will miss him, his spirit lives on within all of us who had the good fortune to know him. God bless you Gordy and may you rest in peace.”

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