James "Keith" Gibson Sr.

Gibson Sr., James "Keith" Was born to Orville and Ethel Gibson, who with brothers Ralph and Donald, was born and raised in the homestead farmhouse built by his grandfather, Taylor Waterhouse Gibson, along Dulton Creek off the Mississippi River near Huron Iowa. There were no roads to the Gibson farm. He rode a horse to a one room schoolhouse. Crops were harvested by mule, no tractor, never a day without hard labor through the depression years. He graduated in a class of 8. His passion was reading and baseball with dreams beyond the fields of Iowa. At 18 he became a well known semi-pro baseball player, playing for the Texaco Fire chiefs. He was so good that the legendary Babe Ruth came to Iowa to see him play along with best friend, Roy Swan. Both young men were then invited to the Chicago Cubs spring training camp the following spring for a shot at the "bigs". That dream was altered as it was for so many young men very quickly with the beginning of WWII. When his Nation called, he joined the Navy, becoming a decorated WWII pilot and the youngest Squadron Patrol Commander in the South Atlantic Fleet. It was a time he seldom talked about until later in life. On October 19, 1945 he married Sara "Sally" Wiens, attending the University of Missouri law school, becoming an attorney and land developer. They had 4 children, Linda (Dudley) of Aurora, Barbara (Neely) of Woodstock, Beverly (Aieta) of Riverside, James Jr. of Sugar Grove, as well as many grand and great-grandchildren. He built and developed more than 2000 homes including Aurora's Sans Souci, Beau Ridge, Heritage Green, as well as the Aurora Hilton Inn and 300 apartment units. One of his proudest moments was April 9th, 2011, on his 90th birthday, when Mayor Thomas Weinser declared it "Keith Gibson Day," recognizing his many professional and charitable accomplishments. Additional accomplishments include serving as President of The Way Side Cross Mission, President of the Aurora Rotary Club, Trustee / Elder of First Presbyterian Church, "Humanitarian of the Year" by the Kiwanis Club, Founding Board Member of Parkview Christian Academy of Yorkville and Founding Board Member of Aurora Christian Schools of Aurora. His greatest joy in life was his love and longstanding relationship with his Savior, Jesus Christ. He loved every day of life, but also longed for the day when he would be called home (or promoted as he liked to say) to be with wife Sally, who he lost in 1990. Upon his death, a note was left from another war veteran who said, "He's gone, but what more could he have experienced? He died like a hero. Don't worry, right now, he is on combat patrol somewhere over the pacific, and he'll be with Sally later tonight." Farewell dad. No greater example could we have asked for in life, than you. Memorial service will be held on Janurary 5, 2014, a 2:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 325 E. Downer Ave., Aurora.

Published in Beacon News on Dec. 15, 2013