OBITUARY

Barbara Lynn Gibbons

22 September, 194910 June, 2021

Barbara Gibbons—wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, homemaker, nurturer, supporter, friend—was born Barbara York on September 22, 1949 in Glendale, California. The childhood home from which she spent the nights sneaking out the window for moonlit midnight strolls on the beach bore no resemblance to the warm, safe refuge she would later go on to build for her own family, which is why her path took her to a foster home at age 16. But, as she spent her life teaching others, blessings are often found hidden between trials and tribulation, and Barbara’s foster parents introduced her to the young son of close relatives from Arkansas: Bruce Gibbons. The best years of her life began soon after.

Barbara had many jobs and careers—baker, pet shop clerk, mail carrier, general manager of a Days Inn—but her role as Mom and as Nana comprised the core of her identity, from the birth of her first son on October 13, 1968, until she took her final breaths surrounded by three generations of her progeny on June 10, 2021. Bruce’s Navy career took their young, growing family from state to state, coast to coast, with four small children in tow by the end of 1974. Ten years later, Barbara and Bruce took children Bruce Jr., Tracy, Bo, and David to Middleburg, Florida, where she spent the next three decades remodeling and re-remodeling the humble house on Azalea Avenue which she built into a true, loving home for her family. Through it all, she never missed a football game or field trip, never failed to send homemade cookies to a school function or welcome half the neighborhood kids into her kitchen, all while working full-time and balancing the checkbook. Rumor has it she had a clone or two, but this was never conclusively proven.

Life on Azalea Avenue saw the dawn of the next chapter for Barbara, with the birth of first grandson Jake on September 21, 1990, minutes before her own birthday. The years that followed brought her three more grandchildren: Luke, Skyler, and finally Bruce the third, nicknamed Trey. As she transitioned into grandmotherhood, Barbara transitioned out of working life, leaving her last job at the US Postal Service in her late 50’s. If anything, she became busier then; the nine-to-five was replaced by Luke’s wrestling matches, baking cookies with Skyler, and helping Jake with college applications. As her grandchildren each graduated high school and forged their different paths out into the world, Nana (by now even her children called her that) basked in the fruits of her labor. In 2012, she and Bruce Sr. renewed their wedding vows, one of the high points of her 71 years.

In her final decade on this earth, Barbara spent as much time at the church as she did anywhere else. A ‘cradle Catholic’ who never abandoned her faith, she re-immersed herself in the church later in life, and the people at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Middleburg, Florida became her treasured community of faithful friends. Largely under her influence, Bruce Sr. and David joined the church, and she spent the next years baking cookies to send along to their RCIA classes and prayer groups. Over time, she became famous for the chocolate chip cookies she sent to the men’s prayer group—but most of her kind and godly gestures were purposely hidden from the spotlight. She served the Eucharist to those unable to attend mass, sewed quilts for needy children and dropped them off at the church in the middle of the night so as not to be seen. For all the ways we saw her visibly loving and caring and giving, she pulled many a string behind the scenes to keep us all warm and loved.

Barbara’s final years were marred by increasing hurdles in physical health, each of which she cleared with Olympian grace, but they were also witness to many of her most cherished moments. After renewing their wedding vows in 2012, she and Bruce Sr. took the vacation of a lifetime to Rome and the Vatican, a life-long dream of hers. Several years later, her only daughter’s wedding took her to Scotland and subsequently to visit her oldest grandson living in the Netherlands. But it wasn’t just the big moments that brought her joy: afternoons watching great-granddaughter Braelyn, Saturday morning coffee with Tracy, Sunday mass with Bruce Sr. and David, Sunday marathon Skype sessions with Jake—these were the moments she lived for, the moments in which her light shone brightest.

Barbara’s prolific family—husband Bruce Sr., brother David, son Bruce Jr., daughter Tracy, son David, grandson Jake, grandson Luke, granddaughter Skyler, grandson Bruce III, and great-granddaughter Braelyn—will gather to celebrate her life and her legacy at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Middleburg, Florida, at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 18th, 2021. The family will receive friends on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Hardage-Giddens Holly Hill, 3601 Old Jennings Road, Middleburg, Florida 32068.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.hollyhillfunerals.com for the Gibbons family.

  • FAMILY

  • Barbara’s prolific family—husband Bruce Sr., brother David, son Bruce Jr., daughter Tracy, son David, grandson Jake, grandson Luke, granddaughter Skyler, grandson Bruce III, and great-granddaughter Braelyn.

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, 17 June , 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Friday, 18 June , 2021

  • Committal Service

    Friday, 18 June , 2021

Memories

Barbara Lynn Gibbons

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Carolyn Bell

19 June 2021

She was the best friend, one could ever hope for. Her life's journey was to love others and in doing so, others loved her. My friend and sister, you will be missed. I look forward to the day that I join you and others singing in God's Heavenly choir.

From the Family
From the Family