Local attorney and beloved husband and father John P. Gibbons, 85, of Edwardsville, Illinois, received the Last Rites and passed away suddenly on January 19, 2023 from complications of recently diagnosed pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by his wife and their seven living children.
Born in St. Louis in 1937, he moved with his family to Edwardsville in 1947 and attended St. Boniface grade school. He graduated from Chaminade High School in 1954 and went on to major in engineering at St. Louis University, graduating in 1958.
From 1958 to 1971, he worked for Westinghouse Electric Corporation in the Aerospace division. During his time there, he worked on the electrical systems of the Apollo program and many other projects. In 1962, he married his sweetheart, Sherry. In 1973, they brought the family home to Edwardsville and John joined the family business, following in his father’s footsteps as President of Guaranty Title Company. He graduated from St. Louis University School of Law in 1976 and practiced law in Illinois until his death.
John lived a life dedicated to service. He was actively involved in the early development of the Madison County trail system. He served as president of the Glen-Ed Chamber of Commerce. He was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Edwardsville and participated in numerous projects including play structures at Edwardsville Township Park (twice), the Corlew Splash Pad, the Criterium Festival, Edwardsville’s Halloween parade, International student exchange programs, Group Study Exchange for adult business professionals, and most recently, he was chairman of the District Global Grants Committee, supporting agricultural projects in Zambia and procuring a school bus for children with special needs in Macedonia. Closer to home, he helped build exhibits at the Edwardsville Children’s Museum and was a founding and current board member of Fr. McGivney Catholic High School.
An Eagle Scout and lifelong scouter, John served the Boy Scouts of America as a Scoutmaster for over 20 years, guiding and mentoring hundreds of young men. He was a Board Member of the Trails West Council and a member of the Executive Board of the Greater St. Louis Area Council (GSLAC). He was a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow. He hiked the trails of Philmont Scout Ranch at least four times, including meeting two of his grandsons on the trail as they completed their first trek. In 2011, he was honored with the Silver Beaver Award, which recognizes Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within a council.
He was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, singing in the choir and serving in multiple volunteer roles. He also served on the Diocese of Springfield Foundation Advisory Board. In 2013, the Diocese awarded him the Magnificat Award for extraordinary service.
He served for many years as counsel and on the Board of Directors of Challenge Unlimited in Alton, Illinois, an organization committed to serving individuals with disabilities.
John was preceded in death by his son Michael, parents F. Ritchie and Loraine (Vogt) Gibbons, and brother Tom. He is survived by his wife of sixty years, Sherry (Reardon) Gibbons and his children Judy (John) Riordon, Brian (Magdalena) Gibbons, Paul (Heather) Gibbons, Tom (Lori) Gibbons, Beth (Matthew) Capdevielle, Dan (Taryn) Gibbons, and Jim Gibbons; and his twenty-one grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
One of John’s greatest roles in life was the loving father of eight children. He is fondly remembered as our caring Dad, who always had sage advice, songs, stories, puns, Irish blarney, and dad jokes ready to warm any campfire or reunion. He was a master chef of BBQ, homemade ice cream, backcountry culinary delights, and the world’s best buckwheat pancakes. As their Papapa he delighted his grandchildren with adventures, and showered them with encouragement and affection. His example of loving commitment to family and community, his joyful respect for life and nature, inspires us to try to make the world a better place.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:30 pm Friday, January 27, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1802 Madison Avenue, Edwardsville, with eulogy and Rosary at 5:30 p.m. Funeral Mass at St. Mary’s 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 28, 2023. There will be visitation starting from 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Fr. McGivney Catholic High School or St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Edwardsville.
Arrangements by Saksa Mateer Funeral Home