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Mary Gibson

1919 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Mary Gibson Obituary
MARY GIBSON Mary (Arentz) Gibson was born in Pasadena, California to Sam Arentz and Harriet Keep Arentz. Mary was welcomed into a large family by her brother, Samuel Jr. and sisters Cornelia and Ann. She was an extrovert remembered by classmates for excellent grades and practical jokes. When she was two, Mary's father was elected as the sole Representative for the state of Nevada to the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. For the next 12 years, the Arentz children spent the better part of each year in schools in the capital, with many road trips back to their ranch in Smith Valley. Her younger sister, Alice, became a member of the family while they were in D.C. Mary had many memorable experiences there, a couple particularly fond ones of rolling Easter eggs across the White House lawn and shaking hands with Charles Lindbergh, following his historic flight. However, Smith Valley, Nevada has always held a special place in her heart, with wide open skies, her beloved blooming peach brush and memories of harvests and horse rides in the hills. Nevada will always be home in her heart. Mary and family returned to Smith Valley for her junior high years and she graduated from Smith Valley High School as valedictorian. She followed up with four years at the University of Nevada at Reno, where she pledged Kappa Alpha Theta, and was elected to Phi Kappa Phi honorary society. Mary met her future husband, Jay at UNR, where both were presidents of their sorority and fraternity respectively. She was extremely active in all aspects of college life, including debate and dance. With an English degree in hand, she taught English and History for one year in McGill and then left for the service. She joined the first class of U.S. Navy Waves and was the first from Nevada. While stationed in Corpus Christi, TX, in 1944, she married Jay Gibson, who at the time was also a Lieutenant in the Navy and a medical student. They were married in Reno, Nevada on September 26, 1944. Jay immediately returned to St. Louis to finish his medical school and Mary returned to Corpus Christie to conclude her service. Due to Navy familial mandate, Mary had to resign. Mary joined Jay in St. Louis, MO and became a truancy officer for a brief time. She went on to teach for three years when they moved back west, to Stockton, California. They began their family with two sons, Jay and Steve. In 1954, they moved again for a permanent stay in Chico, CA, where they would eventually establish their family, welcoming two daughters, Anne and Nell. A beloved ball of energy, Mary was actively involved in the lives of her four children and her community; volunteering as a Cub and Girl Scout's Troup Leader for nearly a decade, acting as Auxiliary President for Butte-Glenn Medical Society, joining the League of Women Voters, Rockaby Society, Sewing Club, two dance clubs and two bridge clubs, all while remaining a faithful member of the Chico Congregational Church. Mary and Jay escaped the heat together with fishing trips that included their annual 4th of July fresh salmon BBQ on the beach, in Trinidad, CA. Mary had the soul of an adventurer and a pioneer. Her door was always open to all comers who cared to share a meal and story. Her New Year's Eve parties were events that friends and family looked forward to all year. She kept her extended family as close as possible. Her nieces and nephews recall Mary and Jay as the aunt and uncle who were present for every wedding and every funeral, regardless. Mary made a life of sharing her time and her spirit with everyone around her and those in all circles have felt her impact in their lives. Rounding out nearly a century of life and love, Mary's open mind and care for other people made all of our worlds a better place. She is preceded in death by her husband, Jay Gibson and her grandson, David Barkowski. She is survived by her children, Jay Gibson, Steve Gibson, Anne GibsonCriss, Nell Quist and her grandchildren, Sagar Fowler, Briar Fowler, Paul Barkowski, Lauryl Boyum, Jay John Gibson, Emily and Matthew Quist. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.bidwellchapel.com
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Oct. 13, 2018
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