Wellesley resident Gil Stubbs has loved magic since he attended his very first show as a boy.
After he had his own children, he began performing tricks he purchased and designed himself. After turning 80 two years ago, however, he opted for a "more relaxed lifestyle" and sold all of his equipment and instructional materials.
A retired electrical and space engineer, Stubbs turned to magic once again when his wife, Anne-Marie, was hospitalized last year. After cheering her with a few card tricks, he was further encouraged by the enthusiastic response of other patients. His magic career was reborn.
Since his beloved wife passed away last December, Stubbs has regularly performed magic shows for all ages at libraries, schools, parties, retirement homes, churches, and hospitals.
His most popular tricks include tearing up and restoring a newspaper (which can be viewed on Youtube.com) and pieces of rope; covering ingredients in a pan with a handkerchief and revealing freshly baked chocolate chip cookies; and making a ketchup bottle disappear.
He also enjoys teaching youngsters how to perform magic tricks themselves, though he emphasizes that he never reveals other magicians' secrets.
"Magic is a wonderful hobby. It stimulates the mind and it's a great way for children to overcome their shyness," said Stubbs, who was pleased and flattered when his wife's former physician recently asked Stubbs to sponsor his membership to the Society of American Magicians.
Stubbs is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
"For me, magic is a great way to meet and interact with people," Stubbs added. "I get a lot of pleasure out of making them laugh."