OAK PARK, IL - Joined his Blessed Lord and beloved wife Rita after a long, service-filled life. He was 97. Born to the late Daniel and Willie Mae Gibbs, Holyoke, CO. Endeared brother of the late William, also Margaret and Virginia. An athletic youth, allowed to him rise up from rural America, be noticed, and receive a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, competing against the likes of Jessie Owens in Track and Field, considered for the 1936 Olympics, but chose to finish College, earned 6 Varsity Letters. Graduated with his class of 1938 in Chemistry. Upon graduation he became a licensed Pharmacist, and then embarked on a career in sales. With a weathered eye on the world, he entered military service prior to the war, enlisting in the Naval Air Corps as a pilot candidate. A highly decorated United States Naval Aviator, served in U.S. victories in the Pacific, being nominated for the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism. He continued in the Naval Reserve, training replacement pilots until his retirement in 1955 from Glenview Naval Air Station, IL. at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Following the war he married his college sweetheart Rita Marie Dunigan from St Marys College. They settled in Oak Park, IL in 1945.Together they fastened their safety belts for the ride of their lives and raised seven children. Dan established himself in business as a successful financial planner and benefits consultant for firms including American General Life Insurance. Many years the top performer, traveling nationwide on their behalf. He is preceded in death by wife Rita, son Daniel and grandson P.J. Survived by children Mary Ellen Gibbs, James (Leslie), Gregory (Jennifer), Mary Anne Schram (Richard), John (Maureen), Patrick, and Mike (Sally). The perpetually beaming grandfather for grandchildren; Amy (Brian) McPartlin, Dan(Jen) Gibbs, Katie , Molly Cashton, Maggie(Drew) Bixby, and Mathew(Emily) Gibbs, Erin(Christopher) Henry, Jim Gibbs and Joe Gibbs, Emily(Eli) Schultz, Greg (Sarah), Amanda (Steve) Wehrman, and Elizabeth (Matt) Ruddy, Megan (Mike) Kelly, Molly (Rob) Younquist and Owen Caulkins, William and Maddy Gibbs, Brian and Corinne Gibbs, Abby and Molly Gibbs and 32 Great grandchildren. His pride was always enhanced by how his children and grandchildren continue in the footsteps of their grandparents, service to their churches, their country, their schools and their communities. Visitation Thursday, April 18th from 3 to 9 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Prayers Friday, April 19th at 10:15 a.m. to St. Edmund Church for Mass at 11 a.m. Interment Mt. Carmel Cemetery with full military honors.
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Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home
203 S. Marion St. Oak Park, IL 60302
Published in Racine Journal Times from Apr. 17 to Apr. 21, 2013