Kenneth S. "Stew" Gibson

WOODSVILLE - Kenneth Stewart "Stew" Gibson, age 85, died peacefully at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, on Oct. 1, 2013. Stew lived most of his adult life in Waterbury, Vt., from 1960 until December 2012.

There he raised his family, milked cows and gave of himself through friendship, community service, Christian fellowship, and in the Cooperative Extension Service as county agent and State Extension dairyman.

Born in St. Johnsbury, Vt., on Aug. 8, 1928, he was the son of Charles E. Sr. and Elizabeth (Garvin) Gibson. With grade school in his home village of South Ryegate, Vt., he then boarded at St. Johnsbury Academy, graduating in the class of '46. Sports, academics, leadership activities and dear friendships were hallmarks of Stew's high school days. Stew's fondest memories of youth were from working for his Uncle John on the farm at "Gibson Acres" in South Ryegate.

Stew graduated from the University of Vermont College of Agriculture in 1951 with a B.S. in agronomy. In 1953 he received his M.S. in dairy cattle nutrition from the University of New Hampshire

After their simultaneous graduation from UNH in 1953, Stewart and Marion Webster joined in matrimony. Stew enrolled in the U.S. Army as an officer trainee, and the newlyweds were stationed at a base near Baltimore, Md.

In 1956, Stew began his career with the UVM Extension Service as the assistance county agricultural agent in Chittenden County, Vt. From 1960 to 1968, the couple farmed with a 30-cow dairy herd in Waterbury, Vt. In 1963, Stew became the Extension "Ag Agent" in Washington County, Vt. He then moved to State Extension dairyman in 1967, working from UVM campus in Burlington.

Stew's agricultural influence expanded well beyond Vermont and New England, in his 40-year career and lifetime of caring for people. He applied a practical and personal synthesis of information and advice, always held leadership roles, taught thousands of students in dairy management college courses, and attained many awards and recognitions for his dedication and achievements.

In 1976, Stew married his second wife, Joan Myers of Waterbury. They relocated with the two youngest children to Blush Hill in Waterbury, Vt. Stew retired at age 69, following Joan's gallant battle with cancer in 1997. Stew continued to make farm visits and attend farmer activities with his son, Willie, extending his affection and admiration to many farmers and professionals who otherwise would not have met him.

Stew lived through his gifts of personally relating to and communicating with anyone he met, anywhere. He was a man of deep sincerity, profound understanding and endearing humor.

Stew's highest form of legacy was his family and friendships. He was predeceased by many beloved: his parents, Charles E. Sr. and Elizabeth (Garvin) Gibson, Marion (Webster) Gibson, Lucia Jean Gibson, David Stewart Gibson, Joan (Myers) Gibson, beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

Stew leaves dear ones to carry on his memory and works, including: (children) Mary Truax and companion Jeff Holden of Waterbury Center, Vt., William Gibson and wife Martha of Ryegate, Vt.; Lucia Burke and husband Sam of Berlin, Vt.; (grandchildren) Byron Truax and wife Penny of Morrisville, Vt.; Ethan and Jesse Burke of Berlin, Vt.; Angela Dempsey of Norfolk, Va.; Philip, John, Isaac, Kateri, Celine, Anthony and Daniel Gibson of Ryegate, Vt.; (great-grandchildren) Hannah and Lydia Truax of Morrisville, Vt.; and Mya Dempsey of Norfolk, Va.; (brother) Charles E. Gibson Jr. and wife Joanne of Montpelier, Vt. Many dear friends include Stew's best friend from STJA, Dick Hovey and wife Dot of Peacham, Vt.; the rest of his beloved classmates of '46; and so many more.... all beloved by Stew.

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SERVICES: A Christian memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m. at the South Ryegate, Vt., Presbyterian Church. A luncheon in Stew's honor will immediately follow at the church.

The Ricker Funeral Home, Woodsville, offers an online guestbook for condolences to the family. Go to http://rickerfh.com/.

If you would like to contribute to a cause in honor of Stew, the family suggests: research for cancer, HIV, Alzheimer's; hospice care; the Cottage Hospital, Woodsville, NH; or the VT 4-H Youth Agriculture Project (http://www.uvm.edu/extension/youth/yap/).


Funeral Home

Ricker Funeral Home
1 Birch Woodsville, NH 03785
603-747-2717

Published in Union Leader on Oct. 13, 2013