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Bill Harrah died in 1978 and the yacht was auctioned off.  The purchaser was Owen Owens, who unexpectedly died in November of 1979. Buzz and Joan Gibb purchased the yacht in 1981 from Owens’ widow and become the longest owners to date, owning it for 26 years.   The Gibbs used the boat by far the most, enjoying her both on Lake Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay.


The Gibbs and friends enjoying a sunny day out on the lake. TLPS Archives.


During her time as under the Gibb ownership, her transom read Piedmont. It has changed at least five times. TLPS Archives.


Joan and Buzz Gibb became friends with former Whittell butler Father Don Mason.  They invited Fr. Mason to Tahoe and took him for a ride out on the Thunderbird.  Fr. Mason had loved the boat as a young man and it meant the world to him to once again see her being the queen of the lake.

Joan and Gibb Season Greetings

The Thunderbird was intertwined with the Gibb family for many years. TLPS Archives.


Receiving some much needed work in Alameda in 1981. Note the very different transom art. TLPS Archives.


Thunderbird on the San Francisco Bay. TLPS Archives.


Under the Golden Gate Bridge. TLPS Archives.

cruising the bay

Cruising the bay. TLPS Archives.

TBird Pres Ford

President Ford being welcomed aboard the Thunderbird by Buzz Gibb. TLPS Archives.

Tony Bennett

Buzz and Joan Gibb with Tony Bennett. TLPS Archives.


Buzz Gibb with Thunderbird at Tahoe City Marina. Note the cabin structure roof had been moved for transport. TLPS Archives.


Snow on the Thunderbird as she is moored at Tahoe City Marina. TLPS Archives.