Ed Gilbert

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Family, friends pay final respects to Hubby's founder

June 29, 2008

By Joe Chapman, Herald staff writer

Passengers on about 30 boats from the Clover Island Yacht Club paid their respects to a lost member and his family Saturday at the spot on the Columbia River where he died.

The family of Ed Gilbert, former owner of Hubby's Pizza in Kennewick, led the flotilla to a blue buoy marking the spot on the river where his boat was struck from behind by another boat two weeks earlier. The family's boat held eight people including Ed's widow, Patricia Gilbert, and two arrangements of flowers.

At the buoy, Gilbert's son-in-law Randy Barnes, a Richland police captain and an assistant church pastor, led the parties on the boats in a prayer over their two-way radios.

Gilbert's son, Monty Gilbert, rang a bell, and bagpipe and piano renditions of Amazing Grace played.

One at a time, each of the yacht club boats approached the family. As each boat passed, its party tossed either flower petals or stones with messages attached into the water.

Some of the people could be heard telling the family messages such as "I love you," and "He's a wonderful man."

Laughter also was heard. Some on the family's boat waved to people they knew.

When all but a few of the boats had passed, the family deposited their own stones, poured bags of petals into the water and hugged each other.

The flower petals could be seen drifting downstream, likely to pass the still unknown location of Gilbert's remains. Divers have made repeated searches for Gilbert's body.

A handful of media and two friends of the Gilberts watched the ceremony from the levy on the Finley side of the river.

"We just wanted to show our respect to the family. He was a great guy," said Lee Klatt, who came from The Dalles, Ore., with his wife, Kay.

"We heard that there was going to be a flotilla this morning, so we decided to come up. We told Pat we'd be on shore here."

Mike Cobb, a friend of the family, spoke on behalf of the Gilberts, saying they appreciated the community support.

"The yacht club and the (Tri-City) country club family especially stepped up," Cobb said. Current and former employees of Hubby's also have reached out to the family in recent days, he said.

"The show of support at the memorial was amazing," Cobb said.
Published in Tri-City Herald from June 30 to July 15, 2008