Ed Gibson lived a great life filled with family, friends, travels, dogs, cars, lawn chairs, beers, movies, poetry and books. His subtle sense of humor and compassionate heart made it easy to talk with him about everything under the sun including the deeper meanings of life. He was outwardly quiet, inwardly kind and truly interested in the well-being of people around him.
Ed grew up in New Hartford, N.Y., with his parents and little sister Julie, who always called him, “My Eddy.” In 1957 he graduated from Ohio Wesleyan and then earned a Masters of Divinity at Boston University, where he met his future wife, Janet. Ed and Janet first lived in Knoxville, Tenn., where Ed’s campus ministry job at the University of Tennessee led to his involvement with the civil rights movement and lunch counter sit-ins to end segregation.
Between 1963 and 1966 Ed worked as a campus minister with international students in Stuttgart, Germany. He and Janet traveled in their red 544 Volvo to most every country in Europe. After leaving Germany, they spent four months driving to the Middle East, flying to Egypt, shipping the “544” to California and flying eastward around the world.
Ed taught political science and government in the community colleges and local high schools, fixed cars, wrote poetry and worked as a handyman where he began his business card with humor: “Ed Gibson, Burned-Out Teacher.”
He was an engaged, playful and loving father with his two daughters, Sylvia and Jennifer. He liked to work on cars with his adopted son, Ray. He played tennis with his best friend, Marvin, and could often be found reading a book or writing poetry on the front porch.
He loved to spend time with his brother and sister-in-law, Chuck and Stella Cordes; with his three grandchildren: Ben, Soul and Eden; and extended family and friends.
Ed’s gentle nature and kind spirit made it easy to care for him at home until the end of his life. He was so thankful for his loving and capable caregivers: Marilou, Kalo, and Aurele. He was 82 years old when he died and he enjoyed the ride of life even on this last day. He lives on in our hearts.
Family and friends are invited to a celebration of Ed’s life on Sunday, June 24, at the Alameda First Congregational Church, 1912 Central Ave. The service begins at 3 p.m., followed by a reception in the social hall 4 to 6 p.m.
In lieu of flowers Ed’s family prefers that memorial contributions be made in his name to Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Fund to purchase a memorial picnic table near the children’s playground. Send check to: 212 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda 94501 (write Ed Gibson memorial fund on the check.) Or to The Michael J. Fox Foundation (search for Ed Gibson’s Tribute Page).