George Gibbs died peacefully on April 3, 2011, at his home on Devil’s Gulch Road, at age 84. A memorial service will be held at the United Methodist Church of Estes Park on Saturday, April 16, at 1 p.m., with a light reception afterwards. There will also be a celebration of his life in the Park, on June 18 at the Scottage in Rocky Mountain National Park.
George Minnis Gibbs was born August 30, 1926, at Bellevue [Bedford County], Virginia, the son of Dr. Morris Winston Gibbs and Willie Neolia Abbott Gibbs. He graduated from E.C. Glass High School, Lynchburg, Virginia, where he and his future wife Dorothy Langellier Scott both graduated in the class of 1944. George went immediately into the Navy, where he served as a radioman in the Pacific, and later, after marrying Dorothy on April 16, 1949, he served in the Army with the First Cavalry Division during the Korean War, attaining the rank of captain.
He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1954 and in 1956 he and Dorothy returned to Japan as fraternal workers under the Presbyterian Church where he served for three years as assistant to the Vice-President for Finance of the International Christian University. On their way home from Japan he and Dorothy spent six months travelling, often overland, including Hong Kong, the Malay Peninsula, Burma, Assam, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and all through Europe.
George went to work for the Mead Corporation [papermakers] at the world headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, in the days when a computer took up a whole room. He started in Internal Audit but spent most of the next 31 years as a systems analyst, retiring in 1991 and moving to Estes Park in 1994. During these years he enjoyed wilderness canoe trips with his family in the Boundary Waters north of Minnesota, alternating with backpacking trips across the Mummy Range in Rocky Mountain National Park, and also took part in several volunteer trail-building jobs with the American Hiking Society in Wyoming, Montana, California and Alaska.
Their son Peter Carnine Gibbs was born in Dayton; he writes of his father, “George was devoted to family, with whom he shared his contagious love of wilderness and the outdoors …[In] Japan as a missionary, George made lifelong friendships with people from around the world. After retirement he volunteered in the Park from 1994 to 2009, and was awarded a 2,000-hour certificate. He is survived by his wife of sixty-two years Dorothy; his son Peter of Estes Park, granddaughter Hannah, and former foreign exchange students including Kwamena (Ato) Degraft-Johnson from Ghana and Maki Niwa from Japan, both of whom called him Dad.” He is also survived by his 95-year-old sister Elsie Gibbs Shannon of Forest, Virginia, and by a number of loving nieces and nephews.
Ato was with him the day of his death, and Maki will be in Estes Park for the memorial service at the United Methodist Church on Fish Hatchery Road on Saturday, April 16, at 1 p.m. Allnutt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements, including transportation to Denver where the Colorado Anatomical Board has accepted the gift of his body for medical research and education. After eventual cremation, his ashes will be returned to the family, and at a future time will be buried in the family plot at Mt. Carmel Church, Forest, Virginia, about a mile from where he was born.
Dorothy has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the United Methodist Church of Estes Park, to the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, to Hospice of the Estes Valley [all of these can be sent to Allnutt Funeral Service, 1302 Graves Ave., Estes Park CO 80517], or to the charity of your choice.